A lot of activism can be done without money. You can accomplish a lot with little or no money: writing letters to the editor and opinion pieces, holding demonstrations and teach ins, networking, emailing editors and journalists, interviewing, boycotting etc. Of course money helps and is needed for such things as photocopying, postage, paying for speakers, paying for permits, room and equipment rental, signs, advertisements, and countless other things that are used in the many activities people engage in. But do not let lack of funding deter you. I am always amazed at what can be accomplished with volunteer work. It is actually many times a big advantage to have spontaneous homemade signs at demonstrations than big fancy printed signs. So do both: seek monetary support but do not be dependent on it. Also when seeking support, money is not the only way and in fact much "in-kind" support can be received: donations of material, equipment, services, and so on.
Having said that there are two basic sources of money: directly from individuals (donations to your cause, membership fees etc) or from foundations. In Connecticut for example, we applied and received a grant from the Haymarket Peoples Fund (42 Severn Avenue, Boston, MA 02130, http://www.haymarket.org) for activism workshops and teach-ins. There are countless foundations that can be searched on the Internet. Resist (259 Elm Street, Suite 201 Somerville, MA 02144 http://resistinc.org) for example gives funding especially for grassroots empowerment and anti-war campaigns.
In writing grant applications for getting funding, make sure you are cover two areas in good detail: your record of success (well documented) and details on how the money will be used and the significance of this project. Be factual and meticulous.
A foundation does set limits on number of pages you can use so adhere to those. But they do have to read them so make sure to include all the points you want them to know. In writing to individuals for money, you need to be brief since they do not have to read your appeal. It should be no more than one page and should be very clear and captivating in the first two lines. Most importantly it has to be specific to a project (not a generic appeal to help your organization). In the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, we issued a number of successful appeals for donations for specific projects ranging from bringing computers to refugee camps in Lebanon to collecting money for the Palestinians whose homes were demolished in Rafah by Israeli forces.
There are many other ways to fundraise from individuals. Holding a fundraising banquet (we did this in Connecticut to help with the Right to Return March in Washington DC and New York City). During the banquet, we also auctioned donated items (silent auction) and we sold T-shirts and sweatshirts made as both a fundraising tool and an educational tool. We also sold raffle tickets. At these events, a program book containing advertisements or simple announcements were paid for (sold as quarter page, half page and full page). Things from this and many other similar events we held again emphasize proper need for planning.
Donations are solicited from community businesses and other outlets for meeting hall, food, drinks, supplies, and other donations. In return, provide them with acknowledgment in your program. Unless we are willing to turn people away, we assume that a large number of attendees will show up at the last minute without advance purchase of tickets. Be prepared with adequate amounts of food and supplies. Many provisions maybe usable for another event. We try to delegate responsibility for specific tasks to specific individuals outlining expectations of duties prior to the day of the event. We usually designate individuals for each region of the state for ticket sales and car pooling to the event.
Prior to the event, the organizing committee reviews and finalizes the program. We prepare a written program of the event and publish it and distribute it to attendees upon entry. Many individuals are unable to attend the fund raising event but wish to contribute, nonetheless. Therefore, flyers announcing the upcoming event should state the address for people to mail their contributions and state specifically to whom the checks should be made.
At any events, even fundraisers, we have a sign-up sheet to collect names, addresses, phone number, and email addresses. Availability of babysitting on the grounds of the event is always advisable at least during the official fundraising and presentation parts of the event.
There are many other ways to do these things and generate funding. Ask your members and ask those most interested to form a fund-raising committee.
Garage sales can also generate funds. Tired of the old clothes, books, and furniture etc.? Why not hold a garage sale and donate the proceeds.
Below is a rather haphazard collection of links that help in fndraising or are funders for activism for human rights
Degrees Fighting for Social Justice: http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/degrees-for-social-justice/
Making a Difference Through Volunteering & Non-Profit Careers: http://www.learnhowtobecome.org/volunteer-and-nonprofit-careers/
Volunteering and Non-Profit Degree Guidebook: http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/volunteering-nonprofit-degrees/
Tides Foundation http://www.tidesfoundation.org/
CarEth Foundation http://www.funder.org/grantmaking/careth/
Haymarket.org foundation (Jonathan Leaning, Media 617-522-7676 x 111 firstname.lastname@example.org)
Qattan Foundation (UK and Ramallah, Palestine) http://www.qattanfoundation.org Omar Al-Qattan email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Apply for refugee award Nansen Award/prize http://www.unhcr.ch/nansen/Nansen_Award.html
To fund salary of third person (after salaried two employees) http://newvoices.aed.org/home.html
Fund for Investigative Journalism http://www.fij.org/
GENERAL GRASSROOT SUPPORT http://www.grassroots.org
The International Human Rights Funders Group http://www.hrfunders.org/
Fund for Global Human Rights http://www.hrfunders.org/fghr/
Global Fund for Women http://www.globalfundforwomen.org
Funders Network on Trade and Globalization http://www.fntg.org
The Foundation Center (comprehensiv for US-based foundations http://fdncenter.org/
International Grants and Funders http://www.fundsnetservices.com/internat.htm
The Synergos Institute (primarily Latin America) http://www.synergos.org/globalphilanthropy/
The Grantsmanship Center http://www.tgci.com/intl/
The National Endowment for Democracy http://www.ned.org/research/funding/democracyfunding.html
The Virtual Foundation http://www.virtualfoundation.org
Funders Online http://www.fundersonline.org
Peace and Security Funders Group http://www.peaceandsecurity.org/index.htm
Michigan State University, Grants and Related Resources http://www.lib.msu.edu/harris23/grants/privint.htm