The Fundraising Bright Spots Program: Making Fundraising Work for You

The Fundraising Bright Spots Program: Making Fundraising Work for You

“I encourage other organizations and leaders to feel a confidence and a comfort in focusing on what you do and how you do it and to trust that that will connect you with other likeminded people.” 

—Karuna Jaggar, Executive Director, Breast Cancer Action

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What if fundraising was inspiring and energizing instead of frustrating and depleting? What could happen if you reset your expectations around raising money, building relationships, and engaging communities to move your mission forward?

Through the Fundraising Bright Spots Program, leaders from social change organizations will learn, adapt, and apply practices from successful grassroots fundraising models and individual donor programs highlighted in our Fundraising Bright Spots report to inspire and elevate their own efforts. 


Learn more about our other leadership
 development programs here.

“We don’t have a singular development plan. We have a system.” 

—Ari Wohlfeiler, Development Director, Jewish Voice for Peace


CompassPoint’s 8-month-long intensive, will support your organization's exploration, development, and implementation of a shared leadership approach to fundraising that aligns to and builds on your organizational values, strengths, and identity. 

Research from our latest report, Fundraising Bright Spots, shines a light on how organizations that run successful individual donor programs thrive by taking on fundraising in a way that is:

  • Core to the organization’s identity
  • Distributed broadly across staff, board and volunteers
  • Based on authentic relationships with donors
  • Characterized by persistence, discipline, and intentionality

But how can these values play out for your organization when it comes to developing your own fundraising strategy? The Fundraising Bright Spots Program will help leaders from social change organizations activate practices from successful grassroots fundraising models and individual donor programs highlighted in the Fundraising Bright Spots report. Get the content, expert guidance, and support you need to spark deep shifts in how you think about fundraising, and ignite a new plan of action that can sustain your organization’s social justice agenda now and for years to come. 


Bright Spots

Fundraising Bright Spots

This new report co-authored with Klein & Roth Consulting for the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund's Resetting Development Work Group delves into the experiences and approaches of 16 social change organizations that have established successful and sustainable individual fundraising efforts. 

What can we learn from these organizations? Learn more about the report here

Petitioning at the Capitol


Twelve organizations (with 2 participating staff each) will meet over a period of 8 months to learn together through in-person gatherings, hands-on practice that puts fundraising strategies to work, and peer coaching sessions.

Through the program, you will achieve the following learning outcomes:


  • Clarify your organizational business model, identifying and creating shared understanding of your “primary and secondary” income strategies.
  • Achieve greater clarity around which fundraising strategies you are pursuing and why?
  • Make meaning of donor data to guide your fundraising


  • Improve or implement fundraising systems by working to:
    • Clarify data collection strategies
    • Institute practices and habits that will contribute to better understanding of organizational fundraising data
    • Integrate development principles grounded in current field knowledge.
  • Create a documented plan to distribute fundraising activities throughout the organization 
    • Clarify each person's role


  • Identify how fundraising lives both inside and outside the organization
  • Understand how fundraising can build power in your community, movement, and in the organization
  • Be able to name organizational culture shifts required to support your plan

Program Dates:

Participants must be able to attend all sessions. All sessions will take place at CompassPoint in Oakland. Get directions here

April 13, 2017 - (9am to 11am)
2-hour pre-program webinar for participants (via computer/phone)

May 4, 2017 (9:30am – 5pm)
Session 1: Getting Grounded
& Bright Spots Principles

Location: CompassPoint

May 25, 2016 (9:30am – 5pm)
Session 2: Distributed Fundraising:
Leadership Roles & Skills

Location: CompassPoint

August 10, 2017 (9:30am- 5pm)
Session 3: Fundraising Systems:
Working with Intention & Rigor

Location: CompassPoint

September 7, 2017 (9:30am- 5pm)
Session 4: Culture Shifts:
The Wheel of Change

Location: CompassPoint

October 5, 2017 (9:30am – 5pm)
Session 5: Your Plan of the Future
Location: CompassPoint


Organizations will pay a fee for participation determined by the following sliding scale based on organizational budget size. (Fee is per organization, not per individual.)

Fee A - $900
Organizations with budgets under $999,999/year

Fee B - $1,500
Organizations with budgets between $1 million and $4 million per year

Fee C - $2,200
Organizations with budgets over $4 million per year


Participants should meet the following organizational and individual profiles.

Organizational Profile:

  • You must be a social change organization (e.g., work in, but not limited to, one of these areas: racial justice, economic justice, environment, education, youth, arts and culture, violence prevention)
  • You must commit to sending the same two participants to the entire 8-month program
  • You have identified staff leading fundraising efforts (organization may or may not have a development director)
  • You have a desire to distribute fundraising across roles within the organization and build a culture that embraces fundraising across staff, board, and volunteers
  • You have the capacity and energy to start making changes
  • You are not new to individual giving
  • You can identify your current revenue streams and fund development activities

Individual Participant's Profile:

  • Both individuals can commit to all in-person trainings and webinars over the 8-month program
  • You can commit to an additional 4 to 8 hours of time per month to implement ideas, skills, and structures related to organizational change
  • You are not brand new to fundraising
  • One or both of the two organizational representatives participating must have the power and/or authority (including “social power/influence”) to implement and lead changes at the staff and board level
  • You are open to ideas of shared leadership across the organization/community


Project Lead

Nelson Layag
Training Director at CompassPoint


Core Faculty

Marla Cornelius
Senior Project Director at CompassPoint

Byron Johnson
Senior Project Director at CompassPoint

Steve Lew
Senior Project Director at CompassPoint


Project Support

Berty Arreguin
Project Assistant

TelephoneLet's Talk!

Want to learn more about The Fundraising Bright Spots Program? Call Project Director Nelson Layag at 510.318.3733 or email him here