Powerful Communities

Winning campaigns and changing the world isn't easy. Neither is creating sustainable organizations that deliver consistent victories and grow stronger over time. Doing both at the same time... now that's really hard. Social change entrepreneurs need support building compelling strategies into a foundation for sustained success. That's why CEL's Powerful Communities program exists. We help social change leaders make the organizations they construct just as strong as the communities they organize.

How Does It Work?

The Powerful Communities program works with organizations at various stages. Some leaders apply with an idea – as in the UltraViolet or OccupyOurHomes. Others, like Demand Progress, come with established organizations that can greatly benefit from what CEL offers.

Wherever they start, CEL helps them move forward with a unique combination of resources, training and doing. For early stage efforts incubation and leadership development are key. For nearly all organizations we work with, technology and fundraising support are critical.  We don’t just offer opinions – we roll up our sleeves and help leaders build confidence, constituencies, and victories.

The program provides mentorship and service that helps early stage efforts move from vision (I have and idea!) to launch (Hello, world!) and for more evolved groups from growth (We keep winning!), to healthy, sustainable organization (We’re here to stay!), all the while being grounded in an authentic and powerful community through the following services: 

Strategic Support: We work with Project leaders on an ongoing basis to provide strategic support for program development, campaign strategy support, and organizational development.  This coordinated approach is led by the Director of Powerful Communities who acts as a touchstone to ensure projects are meeting their milestones and can help programs reprioritize activities, as needed, utilizing the most appropriate experts at CEL.

Development: A solid, sustainable fundraising plan is key to the success of any program.  Our Development department works in tandem with Strategic Support to help PCs develop a cohesive and compelling story.  Our relationships with funders and the proven success of our PCs give our programs a leg up in this highly competitive landscape.

Technology Services: CEL’s partnerships with high quality technology vendors and in house development team allows Powerful Communities programs to leverage and develop a robust online organizing platform, website content management system, and email platform.  Our expert staff provide tools, use cases, and trainings so that programs can assess and report on their work in a meaningful way.

Fiscal Sponsorship, Finance & Operations: Infrastructure is the critical component that many organizations fail to develop.  In order to allow leaders in the Powerful Communities program to maintain sharp focus on their vision and programs, CEL provides the core infrastructure for 501c3 and 501c4 organizations.  These services encompass all finance, human resources, and operations.

The Powerful Communities program is the centerpiece of CEL's work because we take seriously the idea that social change in the 21st century will be driven by a new generation of kick-ass, tech-savvy, people-powered organizations, movements, and leaders. If that sounds like you, give us a ring. Or better yet, a ping.

Want to learn more? Contact our Powerful Communities Manager Jennifer Cheyne.