As an organisation that is partly dependent on outside funding, Corporate Watch often faces the dilemma of balancing its financial survival with a critique of funding bodies and grassroots activism funded by them. While maintaining a critical view of corporate and non-corporate funders, we also recognise their role in political organising and social movements and the difficulties of being totally independent. Thus, while trying our best to avoid dodgy money and money with strings attached, some difficult questions seem unavoidable: Is there good funding and bad funding? Can activists avoid compromising their politics as they go down the funding route? Can they justify being paid for what others do for free? And in the bigger scheme of things, are foundations and funding trusts part of a ‘big conspiracy’ to prevent, or channel, social change? We try to tackle some of these thorny questions in this issue.