The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Importance of Annual Membership Dues for Delta Grassroots Caucus' Budget

Posted on November 28, 2011 at 01:54 PM

Thanks very much for your vital support for the Delta Caucus. We are now in our 9th consecutive year of regional advocacy for the Delta’s community and economic development as a regional organization, and we could not have accomplished this without your support. We would like to explain the importance of annual membership dues below–these only need to be $25 once a year, although some individuals or organizations may contribute $50 or $100 if they wish.

Up until now many people have not paid annual dues and we have not placed much emphasis on the dues. However, we now need to make it a requirement for those who wish to be partners of our organization to contribute at least $25 in dues once a year.

If you do not wish to be a partner of the Delta Caucus that is perfectly okay and that is your call, and we do not wish to send out group emails or other communications to people who are not interested. Please advise at if you are not interested and we will remove your email address from the list.

Because we have such a large number of supporters across the eight states as well as our contacts in the Washington, DC area, if everybody sends in annual membership dues, it will be a major plus for our budget.

For those larger groups who would like to contribute $50 or $100, the $50 level would be suggested for medium-sized nonprofits, chambers of commerce, smaller colleges, banks, or businesses; for those who would like to contribute $100, that would be the level for corporations, foundations, universities and other larger organizations.

However, we cannot stress too strongly that all we require is $25 membership dues once a year from any organization for membership dues.

Please make out the $25 check (or larger amounts of $50 or $100 if you so choose) to “Delta Caucus,” with a note, “Dues,” and mail to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

NOTE: The above information summarizes this message in a nutshell. For those interested in learning more, we provide the more detailed information below:


DISTINCTION BETWEEN A NONPROFIT 501(C)(4) AND A 501(C)(3); The Delta Caucus is a 501(c)(4) public interest advocacy organization. Our status as a 501(c)(4) enables us to engage in a much broader range of activities in tackling controversial issues and lobbying than a typical 501(c)(3), but we are not eligible for large grants like a 501(c)(3), so therefore these voluntary contributions in the three separate categories of annual membership dues, registration fees, and sponsorships are our only three sources of income. In many cases a typical 501(c)(3) would engage in direct service activities in a local or in a smaller number of cases a large area, whereas the 501(c)(4) focuses on broader federal and state advocacy to make the total financial pie bigger for everybody. Both types of nonprofit groups are essential.

There is a trade-off here: we have much greater freedom of action on our activities than does a 501c3, but not as many financial advantages, such as eligibility for grants and having deductions be tax-deductible (donations to the MDGC are not deductible).

Again, the only three and separate categories for our budget are: Annual membership dues for the year-round, constant advocacy activities, with a minimal requirement of $25; Registration fees for the two major conferences; Sponsorships in the three categories of regular sponsorships at $200; “Major Co-Sponsorships at $1,000 for an entire annual cycle of activities OR $500 for one of the major conferences; and “Lead Sponsorships” at a higher level of which we get very few from a very small number of corporations and foundations.

THANKS FOR YOUR STEADFAST SUPPORT FOR OUR ADVOCACY! We deeply appreciate those who understand that if the powers that be in Washington, DC are functioning very poorly (and most people think they are), then the logical conclusion is to get on their case and be vocal about urging them to improve, combined with specific, well thought-out recommendations on what policies they should pursue. The state governments are also key players, and most of our governors and legislatures are working hard under the difficult conditions created by the bad economy. Please keep up the good work!

We also plan to develop a project for “best practices and role models for regional development” that will give private sector actors and other organizations opportunities to highlight development models that can be replicated across the region.

DAILY ACTIVITIES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THE MAJOR CONFERENCES: We have to have the major conferences on Capitol Hill and at the Clinton Presidential Center to demonstrate the commitment from so many grassroots leaders from across the region, generate media coverage, and place constructive pressure as well as feedback on the “powers that be” to do more for the development of the region. But we engage in a steadily expanding program of work every day on regional advocacy and the year-round activity is at least if not more important than the two weeks of the year when we have the big conferences–and the year-round work cannot be done without funds, of course.

The continuous advocacy of sharing information among the grassroots leaders, advocacy by e-mail, group regional emails, phone or small-scale meetings with Congressional, federal executive branch, and state leaders goes on every week and every day. The budget has always been very small, but now the steady growth in the range of our activities has to be matched by steady growth in the budget.

IMPORTANCE OF MANY SMALL CONTRIBUTIONS: If everyone who is a strong supporter would contribute annual membership dues at least once over the course of each year, it would be a major plus for our budget. If it is only $25 this should be within the range that is not a problem for other groups’ or individuals’ budgets, while such contributions help the Delta Grassroots Caucus budget considerably.

Like most other nonprofit organizations, the recession has made fundraising more challenging, although we are pleased to note that we are still gradually expanding our budget, have thus far weathered the storm well and have steadily remained in the black. However, we do have a long-term goal of a major expansion of the budget. We have always operated on a tiny budget and pench every penny and will continue to be frugal, but a larger budget would enable us to continue expanding our advocacy activities for the region.

IMPORTANCE OF A DIVERSIFIED DONORS’ BASE: As a grassroots nonprofit coalition, we always want to receive a major component of our budget from large numbers of small contributions in the form of registration fees for the major conferences and annual membership dues. This both prevents us from being overly dependent on a small number of “deep pockets” corporations and foundations as well as giving a sense of participant to the many contributors.

We certainly appreciate sponsorship contributions from foundations or corporations, and also plan to expand those requests, but we always need to have a substantial base of contributions that come from our hundreds of supporters across the region.

SOME PARTNERS PAY ANNUAL DUES BUT MANY OTHERS DO NOT: Thus far, we have not emphasized the annual membership dues and many people do not pay them, but now we need to do so and make it a requirement for those who wish to support our activities to contribute $25 a year for our ongoing activities. The basic list of people who have clearly expressed strong support for our activities is over 500 email addresses, while the numbers who have expressed some interest reaches into the thousands.

For one point, it is a little awkward to have some people who pay the dues and many others who do not. We know that many people think, “What difference could a $25 or $50 contribution make?” The answer that it can make a big difference if all our partners would pay them.

For example, if only those on the list of the over 500 grassroots leaders who have demonstrated strong support for the Delta Caucus gives $25 each, this would be an annual contribution for the budget of over $12,000. The costs we have are just the bare minimum of business expenses, maintaining an office, a director, and an occasional part-time employee. The registration fees and sponsorships mostly cover the costs of the major conferences.

If the wider range of people who have expressed agreement were to join in significant numbers, this would increase the budget exponentially. This process of growth will take time and we emphasize steady, incremental expansion each year.

Thanks very much for making our regional advocacy for the Greater Delta Region possible! Delta Caucus Board of Directors (202) 360-6347