My questions is how to generate revenue from Strong Town-based citizen advocacy efforts.
I have noticed that all the really good Strong Towns community leaders - Chuck, Mike Lydon, etc - all have a strong far-reaching business model. It seems that the evolution of their biz model is: at one point their citizen advocacy efforts served as a marketing platform to generate interest in their consulting firms. After reaching a critical inflection point they had an international audience that allowed fundraising and selling books/products to generate revenues without the consulting business as their earnings means.
But if we are a local based organization we don't have that reach to fundraise. And it's not cheap or easy to run local advocacy efforts: there is the time and skillset to lead and manage volunteers, the opportunity cost from using the same hours in the private sector instead, the cost of administrative & bookkeeping help, marketing dollars, and the cost of materials for tactical urbanism projects among many other line-items. In order to run a successful Strong Towns based citizen advocacy there MUST be a revenue/profit incentive (even as a nonprofit) in order to survive as an on-going concern.
My question is what you have seen successful advocacy methods use to generate revenue?
Obviously there's fundraising...but individual donations are small and entirely dependent on engagement and population size. Are you seeing community advocacy leaders also act as consultants to local businesses to leverage their relationships with city council? Are you seeing many of the citizen leaders are in fact a supplemental moonlight to their local real estate development activities?
This is one issue I haven't seen addressed in any Strong Towns articles or podcasts and I believe extremely important to insure the survivorship of any local advocacy efforts.
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