Children Now II

Oakland, CA
Round
Fall-Winter 2005
Project Type
Full team
Project Focus
Earned Income
Organization Type
Children, Youth & Families,
Education

Organization

Children Now is a nonpartisan policy and advocacy organization that focuses on issues such as childhood poverty, early education, children’s health care, and the impact of the media on children. Children Now is engaged in several ambitious campaigns, including those involving current legislation on universal health coverage and preschool. Children Now also is focused on securing a ban on interactive advertising targeted at children and raising the awareness of the link between advertising and childhood obesity.

Project Objectives

ACT was engaged to help Children Now assess the potential of building a membership program in an effort to provide the organization with an ongoing funding stream and additional political influence. ACT was engaged to help Children Now assess the potential of building a membership program in an effort to provide the organization with an ongoing funding stream and additional political influence.

Key Recommendations

Children Now (CN) needs to consider the following factors before relying on membership for revenue:

  • people who are able to give are sympathetic to children but don’t feel that CN’s issues are urgent or personal;
  • audience awareness on issues is low;
  • CN has limited financial resources, so the organization should choose models that can be tested inexpensively;
  • and it takes a lot of time to make significant impact.

ACT provided the following perspectives on possible membership models:

  • consider Online Advocacy Model, where loyalty is built by asking people to support specific initiatives without necessarily making donations (e.g., by signing petitions);
  • consider Angel Model - friends personally asking friends to join a “club” of large donors which is given special access to policy makers - but only if Board is willing to lead recruitment effort;
  • don’t consider direct mail fundraising (called “Basic Model” in this project), at least as a standalone, because cost of testing direct mail is high;
  • make initial performance targets in numbers of members, not dollars, and only expect financial results after a minimum of five years.

Final Report Outline

  • Project Objectives
  • Membership Concerns
  • Project Steps: First Phase - Interviewed Board and staff, reviewed competitors, selected target audience segments and membership models
  • Project Steps: Second Phase - Sampled target audience response to membership models and interviewed three model organizations (Sierra Club, E2 and MoveOn.org)
  • Target Audience Testing; Survey Methodology; Why Do People Give?; Other Factors That Influence Giving
  • Models Tested and Researched: Audience Response - Basic Model; Factors for Success - Basic Model; Audience Response - Angel Model; Factors for Success - Angel Model; Audience Response - Advocacy Model; Factors for Success - Advocacy Model
  • Key Revisions Based on Surveys
  • Implications for Children Now
  • Model Organizations’ Implications: Factors for Success: Sierra Club; Factors for Success: Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2); Factors for Success: MoveOn
  • Implications for Children Now
  • Findings and Implications
  • Recommendations