Project Rock Expansion

In order to improve Movement sustainability, we recognize the critical need to support more Affiliates in their efforts to increase and diversify their funding base and focus on pursuing philanthropic dollars form private resources – individuals, corporations and foundations.

To meet this growing need, the National Urban League is dramatically expanding its Project Rock program.
Since the initial Pilot phase of the Project Rock Advantage consulting model in 2009, we have worked intimately with sixteen Affiliates, enabling us to identify common areas of concern and accumulate a deep cadre of lessons learned to inform replicable models that strengthen fundraising at Affiliates. This engagement enables us to refine education, training and support to best suit emerging needs in fundraising in the Movement.

The goals of the Project Rock expansion program are:
A.   Spread benefits of fundraising best practices, materials and implementation to more Affiliates through added resources and touch points; and
B.   Increase the pace at which Project Rock reaches each Affiliate with personalized consulting; and
C.   Affiliates raise more philanthropic revenue.
Beginning September 2015, Project Rock will refine current offerings and add new resources accessible to all 95 Affiliates across the Movement.
Key Components of Project Rock Expansion will include 6 enhanced offerings and 4 brand new trainings and resources:


  1. Project Rock Executive Fundraising Academy (EFA) a weekly virtual fundraising training curriculum offered to Affiliate staff, leadership, and volunteers covering topics such as: Fundamentals of Fundraising; Structuring a Fundraising Plan; Writing an Effective Proposal; Soliciting and Closing Major Gift Requests; Donor Recognition and more. There have been over 800 training participants since the program began. Project Rock will feature 10 new courses, including: Working with Foundations and Grant Writing; Writing for Fundraising Professionals; Social Media; and Moves Management. To increase collaboration, CCS will co-present at four EFA courses per year with a recognized Urban League leader.
  1. Project Rock Workshops and customized training sessions are featured at each of NUL’s national conferences: Mid-Winter Conference (January), National Conference (July) and Whitney M. Young Conference (October). These important annual gatherings present special opportunities to reach Affiliate leadership, Board members, Young Professionals, Emerging Leaders, and staff at all levels.
  1. Project Rock Fundraising Fundamentals Package is a new tailored consulting resource offered every 4 years to each of the 95 Affiliates across the Movement, pending Affiliate compliance status. Each Affiliate will have the opportunity to receive a Project Rock Survey conducted in conjunction with a CCS consultant that assesses fundraising operations and needs at the Affiliate. These rapid assessments will contribute to the strengthening of the Affiliate’s Fundraising Plan in addition to a bespoke bundle of sample materials targeted to that Affiliate. Affiliates will finalize Fundraising Plans independently, calling upon CCS assistance via the Project Rock hotline at any time.  CCS will consult with 4 affiliates, every 8 weeks, reaching a total of 24 Affiliates every year.  This provides the opportunity for Affiliates to receive regular support from National’s office and CCS to continuously refresh development strategies and plans.
  1. Project Rock Fundraising Leaders Certificate is a new virtual resource offered for Affiliate CEOs every year in order to instill a common foundation of fundraising best-practices at the highest level of leadership.  Throughout the course of one year, CEOs can register to complete a specially designed four-part course via webinar. The Project Rock Fundraising Leaders Certificate will contribute toward the Certified Fundraising Executives (CFRE) credential.
  1. Project Rock Board Leadership in Fundraising is a new virtual resource offering semi-annual orientation to new Affiliate Board members at any of the 95 Affiliates. Designed to develop a culture of fundraising activity, alongside governance responsibilities, among all Affiliate Boards across the Movement, these webinars will be attended once and describe national/NUL philanthropic trends and how new Board members can effectively contribute to successful Affiliate sustainability through fundraising.
  1. Project Rock Emerging Leaders is a successful annual training program specially designed for select Affiliate staff members with promise to succeed and grow within the Movement. Project Rock provides ongoing fundraising training to this group via monthly webinars and in-person training at the National Annual Conference in July.
  1. Project Rock Regional Workshops are a new resource offered regionally for Urban League CEOs, Board members, and Development staff every two years. This will connect Affiliates to funders in the region, offer networking opportunities, share fundraising best-practices among Affiliates, and create opportunities for funders to share priorities in plenary talks.



  1. a comprehensive hub for Affiliates to access resources related to fundraising, accessed by over 2,000 online visitors since 2011. Affiliates can sign up for training, access shared documents, download dozens of templates and samples. CCS works with Affiliates to help them use these tools to their fullest potential. The website will be enhanced with new fundraising tools and templates, and a page that houses the new newsletter.
  1. Project Rock Hotline available to Affiliates to call Monday through Friday to receive fundraising advice, discuss strategy and develop actionable fundraising plans. Nearly 100 callers from many Affiliates have used this service, and in the future this hotline will be the single point of contact through which Affiliates will receive custom consulting services as a continuation from training sessions, conferences, website tools and templates and the newsletter. Traffic will be bolstered by targeted internal marketing through Affiliate Services.
  1. Project Rock Newsletter shares and showcases fundraising resources, Board member and donor testimonials, Affiliate field stories, and best practices in order to build a culture of philanthropy throughout the Affiliate network. This resource will be transformed from a PDF email distribution to a modern online platform with enhanced content that is integrated into the webpage.