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Investing in Effective Approaches to Civic Engagement: An Evaluation Research Project with the Civic Participation Action Fund

Resource type: Research Report

Margaret Post and Marti Frank |

Commissioned by the Civic Participation Action Fund (CPAF), this research investigated how 501(c)(4) organizations build and sustain capacity through issue and candidate campaigns. Case studies of three grassroots organizations explain how capacities were built, the extent to which campaigns supported their development, and the conditions under which such capacities can be maintained over time. Findings are intended to inform how funders and nonprofit social-change organizations can invest in strategies that enhance capacity in 501(c)(4) organizations and build independent political power.


Capacity Building in 501(c)(4) Organizations: Research Summary  

The research summary compiles the main findings of the case studies, pointing to fundraising strategies that  can bolster organizations’ ability to win campaigns, contribute to the overall strength of the organization and generate political power.

>Download the Research Summary (PDF)



Building 501(c)(4) Capacity through Statewide Campaigns: The Case of LUCHA and Arizona’s Proposition 206 Campaign Victory

This report documents Arizona’s Proposition 206 campaign to increase the minimum wage and establish provisions for paid sick time. It analyzes how the lead organization, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), built capacity through the campaign and how it is growing into a more effective 501(c)(4) organization. It offers one picture of how grassroots 501(c)(4) organizations can develop into stronger organizations through campaigns.

> Download report (PDF)


 Civic Participation Action Fund (CPAF)  is an Atlantic grantee.