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For decades, the United States has struggled with the issue of racial equality and civil rights. Today, the United States is still coming to terms with the impact of systemic injustice, institutional racial bias, and historic discrimination, and how it has affected Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities. For our nonprofit partners, many of their missions focus on civil rights and advancing equity for marginalized communities.
Civil rights organizations on Catchafire address and advocate for a variety of causes, such as access to education, healthcare, housing, and legal aid. Catchafire ensures that these civil rights organizations have access to critical capacity support by connecting them with skills-based volunteers who can lend their expertise. Our equitable model ensures that heavily resource-constrained, BIPOC-led organizations have access to the tools and talent they need to serve their communities.
A History of Civil Rights Organizations
The history of civil rights organizations is a long and complicated one. It is full of people who have dedicated their lives to fighting for the rights of others. One of the earliest civil rights organizations was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). It was founded in 1909 by a group of white and Black activists who wanted to end racial discrimination. The NAACP fought for civil rights in a number of ways, such as litigation, public education, and voter mobilization. They were instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Other important civil rights organizations include the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
All of these organizations have played a vital role in the fight for civil and constitutional rights in the United States.
What Do Civil Rights Organizations Do?
Civil rights organizations work to protect and advance the rights of all people. They work to end discrimination and ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in society. Some of the work that civil rights organizations do includes:
- Fighting for laws and policies that protect civil rights
- Providing legal assistance and representation to people who have been discriminated against
- Educating the public about civil rights issues
- Organizing protests and rallies to call attention to civil rights concerns
- Working with lawmakers and government officials to develop policies that protect civil rights and end discrimination
Catchafire has an extensive network of civil rights organizations; sign up today to volunteer and support their critical work.
List of 10 Civil Rights Organizations
Better Civics is a non-partisan nonprofit organization dedicated to revolutionizing civic engagement and voter turnout. They create educational resources to better explain how the U.S. government works and to encourage individuals to be more civically engaged. They collaborate with community organizations to deliver these resources to their constituents in a trusted and effective manner. Their goal is to tackle voter apathy by addressing the institutions that have failed to provide proper education on how the electoral process works and how citizens could serve their community. Their work emphasizes why voting matters and how it has a direct impact on their neighborhoods.
Ellen helped Better Civics on an individual donor letter project that saved the organization over $2,000, allowing them to educate more people in Philadelphia about how their government works and how to hold their elected officials accountable.
“Ellen was fantastic to work with. They were a straight shooter when it came to feedback and really upped my game for seeking funding from individual donors. I will carry their advice with me in future projects.”
President & Co-Founder
Apply now to volunteer and review Better Civics’ accounting systems.
2. Bet Tzedek
Bet Tzedek envisions a world where there is equitable access to justice for all. Hundreds of thousands of people in Los Angeles cannot afford access to legal defense and basic necessities. As a non-profit law firm, Bet Tzedek provides free legal assistance and representation, self-help services, and legal education to over 90,000 low-income residents of Los Angeles County each year. Bet Tzedek’s services provide comprehensive legal support to traditionally underserved communities, such as families, children, people with disabilities, seniors, and local business owners and their workers.
Allen volunteered to work on a data analysis project and helped Bet Tzedek discover powerful insights and trends in their data to make the most out of their information. His volunteer work saved the organization over $11,000, allowing them to put more resources toward assisting their clients.
“Bet Tzedek is an organization focused on helping their community and pointing out injustices. It felt good to contribute to their mission.”
Apply now to provide support on a copywriting project.
With headquarters in El Segundo, California, Black in Mayberry strives to combat racism through the arts. The organization uses art and education to address the systemic and institutional racism that has harmed Black people in America for decades. At the intersection of activism and art, Black in Mayberry amplifies the voices of Black creatives, and demands equity and justice for Black lives.
Apply now to support Black in Mayberry with graphic design or their social media content calendar.
The California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) upholds immigrant communities in California by transforming systems to achieve racial, social, and economic justice. It is the leading immigrant rights institution in the state that promotes and protects safety, health, and public benefits and integration programs for immigrants, and one of the few organizations that effectively combines legislative and policy advocacy, strategic communications, organizing, and capacity building to pursue its mission. CIPC's staff, member organizations, and coalition partners advocate for policies that uphold the humanity and legal defense of immigrants and refugees while advancing racial, social and economic justice. Their approach includes a combination of policy advocacy, strategic communications, statewide organizing, and regional coalition capacity building to advance their mission.
CIPC used the expertise of Tou, a Catchafire volunteer, to set up Google Ads and drive more traffic to their website. The project helped raise more online awareness of the organization's work, and saved $10,000 that they allocated to support their community advocates instead.
"Tou was great to work with! His expertise, thoughtful advice, and tailored technical support for our organization was incredibly invaluable in setting up our AdWords from scratch. Tou also helped us create brilliantly written ad campaigns, issue-specific ad groups, a comprehensive lists of keywords and negative keywords, all Ad Extensions (site links, callout, etc), and multiple ads for A/B tests."
Senior Development Associate
"This is a great and wonderful nonprofit to work with. A VERY needed organization to support in today's current political environment. If you have time to volunteer, please assist and help this amazing nonprofit!"
Apply now to volunteer for a tech systems project to help California Immigrant Policy Center with optimizing their technical infrastructure to improve efficiency and lower their overall IT costs.
Focus provides underserved, underprivileged, and other marginalized communities opportunities for self-improvement and personal growth through life-coaching, mentorship, and educational programming. Their mission is to help families of color thrive and end the cycles of poverty and violence. Jennifer provided strategic advice on a management call, supporting Johanna, the Executive Director/CEO, with expertise on how to lead her team, delegate responsibilities, and evaluate her board members’ roles and responsibilities.
“I'm stepping into a role that's completely new to me. Although I'm extremely passionate about my mission and very eager to get started, I also know I need some clarity and guidance/advice in specific areas. Jennifer asked the right questions and truly listened to my responses.
Her feedback helped me get clarity not only on the questions I asked, but she also helped me see things that I wasn't even aware of. She gave me some great ideas and suggestions that I'll be able to use as I embark on this new venture. I'll definitely be implementing her suggestions and certainly working with her in the near future. This call surpassed my expectations.”
Apply now to volunteer for the following projects:
The Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice is dedicated to convening organizations to collectively advocate and work to improve the lives of immigrant communities, while working toward a more just immigration and legal defense system. The Coalition is representing over 35 organizations serving the immigrant community in the Inland Empire region of California. The Coalition focuses on changing the narrative through advocacy, community organizing, education, and rapid response to ICE and border patrol operations. They boost organizational capacity through support networks, leadership development, technical training, and grants, helping immigration organizations to focus on their missions.
You can support the Coalition by applying to speak with a staff member for 1 hour about their communications needs and navigating the EveryAction CRM.
The mission of the Robert H. Jackson Center is to advance public awareness and appreciation of the principles of justice and the rule of law as embodied in the achievements and legacy of Robert H. Jackson, U.S. Supreme Court Justice and Chief U.S. Prosecutor at Nuremberg. The Robert H. Jackson Center invites and initiates scholarly work on Jackson’s legal, social and political contributions. Programs focus on exploring and challenging the universal principles of equality, fairness and justice through interactive exhibits and facilitated discussions. As such, the Center invites national and international officials and dignitaries to analyze contemporary issues of peace and justice and their relevance to Justice Jackson’s body of work; provides local educational opportunities for school children and college students; and hosts continuing education for attorneys, judges and public officials.
Social Justice For Us is uplifting the voices of marginalized people in Marquette, Michigan. In rural, predominantly white communities, it's hard to organize any one group for underrepresented peoples, including but not limited to BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and impoverished communities. Social Justice For Us has created a united front to fight against injustice and to promote education. The organization wants to uplift BIPOC voices and advocate for policy changes that better represent their communities. One of their initiatives is the Safe Space Pledge, a community movement to unite residents and businesses to acknowledge the systemic injustice and negative impact on BIPOC communities, and to pledge to engage in safe, non-discriminatory, inclusive practices. This initiative creates productive community conversation and accountability while working to advance racial justice and equity.
The Activists' Guide was created by Charlottesville community member and long-time activist Richard Lord as a community-based online resource meant to connect and unite local activists. Their mission is to facilitate collaboration and intersectionality between local activists by providing a forum where activists can easily access the information they need. Their website includes expert advice on activists' techniques, a directory of vendors and activist organizations to collaborate with, and a real-time interactive event calendar. When The Activists' Guide needed capacity support and the help of volunteers to carry out their mission, they turned to Catchafire. Since November 2020, they have saved over $73,000 on 17 projects by working with volunteers.
In March, The Activists' Guide needed significant help to improve their website's functionality. The website needed significant technical updates, and the staff needed the capacity and education for website development to make the changes. They matched with Donald, a Catchafire volunteer skilled in engineering and web development. Donald helped save The Activists' Guide over $24,000!
"Donald is the best volunteer with whom I have ever worked. His technical knowledge is astoundingly wide and deep... which is evidence of his decades of experience and patient maturity. He hears my problems and translates them into clear, technical specifications. Don comes back, every time, with solutions that work.
“Don uses language that I, as a computer illiterate, fully understand. Don has moved our domain, website, email and digital marketing to a level that I never thought would be possible. In the process, he has simplified my service contracts and cut my out-of-pocket costs to be 1/4th of what they were."
The Organizing Center provides the training, coaching, and support organizers need to build strong movements for social justice. Their work encompasses a variety of civil rights and social justice issues, such as education, healthcare, housing, and immigration. The nonprofit helps individuals build the necessary skills to run a successful campaign, redistribute power, and create sustainable change through workshops, coaching, consultations, and peer learning labs. Through their work, they build the organizing and advocacy skills for future community leaders.
"Renee was really wonderful to work with. She did an immense amount of work on a pricing strategy that will set my organization up for success. Her work exceeded my expectations and I felt supported to learn from her work."
The pricing strategy project saved The Organizing Center over $6,000.
Discover More Civil Rights Organizations on Catchafire
Sign up today to volunteer and use your skills to support the critical work of civil rights organizations. Your support will help nonprofits maintain their programming and operations, and allow them to focus on their missions and communities. The 10 civil rights organizations above are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our partners to advance equity. You can contribute your time and talent to their mission by providing support on projects related to:
- Data Analysis
- Event Planning
- Human Resources
- Marketing and Design
- Strategy Consulting
- Web Development
If you’re a grantmaker and would like to learn more about equipping nonprofits in your community with responsive, high-quality operational support, let’s connect. Email us here.
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