Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Leadnow?
How did Leadnow start?
Leadnow was founded in 2010 by a group of young people who cared about a wide range of issues and wanted to create a new, non-partisan way for people to participate effectively in our democracy.
Is Leadnow affiliated with any political parties?
No. Leadnow is an independent, registered non-profit organization and we aren’t affiliated with any political party. Our members support various political parties and we work on issues we care about across party lines. At one time or another, we’ve been accused of being a front for every centrist and leftist political party. We recognize that partisanship can sometimes be a barrier to democratic engagement for some, and we believe that as progressives, we are more powerful when we focus on raising the bar for all parties by growing a movement united by shared values and a desire for people-powered change.
How is Leadnow different than other advocacy organizations?
Leadnow is unique in our mandate to fight for multiple issues in contrast to single-issue organizations, and through our full spectrum approach, from digital tactics to in real life actions. We focus on building a broad base of political power that can mobilize across issue sectors, and we engage our community of over 600,000 people at critical moments to effect change (or prevent regressive legislation), sometimes aiming to bring marginalized issues to the general public. We leverage technology and community organizing to unite and mobilize our supporters’ voices, time, and money into a powerful, democratic force.
How is Leadnow funded?
We’re incredibly proud and grateful to rely on the Leadnow community for small donations that provide the overwhelming majority of our funding. Our launch in 2011 was funded by family and friends, and a handful of founding donors, most of whom donated around $100. Our model always aimed to be member-funded, and by 2016, 74% of our funding came from our community chipping in the few dollars they could afford. In 2020, more than 88% of donations were generously provided by over 22,000 members contributing an average of $3.59 at a time, together with over 3,200 members that sustain our work through monthly donations. Remaining funds sometimes come through vetted like-minded organizations and donors for specific campaigns that are aligned with our community’s top-ranked priorities.
To learn more about our financials, check out our most recent financial reports here.
Please consider chipping in today by visiting our donation page.
Where do the funds go?
Your donations help fund our campaigns, our operations and our cutting-edge technology to unite, strengthen and amplify the voices and actions of our community. Donors fund campaign tactics like radio ads and rallies, and cover the modest salaries of our small team. We know the Leadnow community has ambitious plans and we’ve worked hard to manage donations efficiently to ensure the greatest impact possible.
I got a call about my Leadnow donation. Why was I called?
Since 2014, Leadnow has partnered with Public Outreach, a Canadian company that finds monthly donors for charitable and non-profit organizations via telephone conversations. Public Outreach's campaigners are dedicated and knowledgeable Leadnow supporters and have signed up thousands of monthly donors. This has made our funding more sustainable and reliable, critically allowing us to focus on campaigning on longer term impacts on the issues that matter to our community. Public Outreach’s highly-trained and professional team share our passion for achieving progress through democracy.
If you have any questions about Public Outreach, you can reach them toll-free at 1-888-326-5535 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For other donor-related inquiries, you can reach us at email@example.com.
Do you issue tax receipts?
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide a tax receipt. While Leadnow is a registered non-profit society, we are by nature a political organization and therefore do not qualify as a "charitable organization." The majority of what we do is political advocacy and political organizing, which isn't allowed under the CRA rules for charities. Meanwhile, engaging in politics is inherently necesary in order to achieve the impact our community expects.
How does Leadnow set campaign priorities?
Leadnow’s priorities and campaigns are led by our shared values and driven by our community. Through face-to-face events and online surveys, our supporters help us decide where to focus within out four priority areas: an open democracy, a fair economy, a healthy environment and a just society.
We also run campaigns as important issues come up. Our small staff team writes emails to our supporters in the same way an aide briefs the Prime Minister – summarizing an important issue and asking for our community’s support to take action by, for example, emailing their MP or donating to fund an ad in the paper. Our supporters then decide if they want to take action on the issue.
Finally, you can start you own campaigns! Our distributed petition platform allows anybody to start and run campaigns on the issues they care about. If a petition gains momentum, we’ll share it with other Leadnow supporters who care about similar issues.
How does Leadnow get involved in elections?
Like many national and provincial moments, we see elections as opportunities to help shape the direction of the country and improve people's lives, while building campaigning and organizing capacity in the Leadnow community.
During the 2015 election, Leadnow’s Vote Together campaign connected millions of people who wanted change with the information and tools they needed to defeat the Harper Conservatives. We built a volunteer network of 45 local teams and 5,500+ volunteers who had 51,500+ voter-to-voter conversations at the door and on the phones. This network continues to canvass and organize around our priority campaigns.
Vote Together was an ambitious strategy and for a first time effort, it paid off well. We’ve published a report that documents how we went about building this campaign, how we executed the strategy in Conservative swing ridings, our first reflections on its success – as well as what we could have done better. Watch the video and read the full report here
We've also had an impact in provincial elections, such as in BC, where in 2017 we helped defeat Christy Clark's Liberal government and encouraged the NDP and Greens to form a governing alliance founded on core issues that the Leadnow community cares about.
You campaign on a variety of seemingly unrelated issues. How can you have the knowledge on policy and the political process to fight campaigns on such a wide range of issues?
Most of the Leadnow team are not issue experts, so we build and maintain relationships with many individuals nad organizations who are. We see our work as being facilitators and experts in engaging, uniting and mobilizing large numbers of people around campaigns and elections to make real change happen.
What connects the campaigns we work on and brings the Leadnow community together is our shared values, and our shared priorities. Working across issue areas is a new way of campaigning, and allows us to inform and mobilize many more people in Canada, effecting much bigger impact in key moments than traditional single-issue advocacy organizations, and that makes a real difference.
We often partner with other organizations on campaigns to have even greater impact, and regularly seek feedback from advisors and issue experts to inform our approach, ensure our help is welcome, and to provide us with insight on issues of the day.
It may be easy to get quite a lot of people to click on a website – but do decision-makers actually take any notice of web petitions?
Online petitions are just one of the tactics we use, often as a starting point to then enable those supporters to take greater offline actions, like meeting with their MPs or showing up to a march. We have great examples of case studies where decision makers have taken notice from our sister organizations like MoveOn.org in the USA, GetUp.org.au in Australia, 38Degrees.org.uk in the UK. Some of the reasons that online petitions make a big difference:
- They shift the conversation – A solid online petition and social media attention directly tell politicians and the media what significant numbers of the public are thinking and feeling, raising the profile of an issue in support of or opposition to government policy. They are one of the most effective ways for people to strengthen their voices together, speak "loudly" to government and shift the national conversation. As people forward and share the petitions, they are also educating others in Canada about the issues. We have seen these effects countless times with Leadnow petitions.
- They organize support – Online petitions are a low-barrier way for people to become part of a campaigning community. Afterwards, people can be invited to take bigger actions – letters to the editor, funding an ad, talking to their neighbours, hosting a rally, etc. – all of which help to raise the profile of the issue, lobby decision makers, all while building the strength of the campaigning community over time as we train more volunteer leaders.
- They win – Online petitions have been central to campaigns that have won real victories, such as recent COVID campaigns to stop evictions, to demands to stop coal mines, to OpenMedia campaigns to stop usage-based billing and online spying. In other cases, poor legislation may still pass but only at serious political cost to the government. These unexpected and serious costs then make the government more cautious about continuing in that direction.
Can I suggest a campaign?
Of course, please fill out our surveys when you receive them, or start your own campaign at www.you.leadnow.ca