Key Financial Strategies for Difficult Economic Times

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Trim the Budget Organizations of all sizes can usually find areas in the budget where costs can be cut without undermining the program. This is the first priority for budget cutting. Areas usually include supplies, phone, gas and gas mileage, utilities, equipment, contracts and vendors, and other related costs. Many organizations can cut 10%-20% out of these budget areas by reducing usage and updating contracts. A plan can help. If income budget cuts are greater than 25% of the budget, and there are limited supplies, then agencies might need to cut further, and this is always difficult. The ED, board and staff should prioritize programs based on mission centrality, services, outcomes, and continuity of funding sources. And cuts in programs should be made based on a transparent analysis, with adequate notice to funders, staff, clients and community. Cutting programs is always difficult, often necessary of these times. Anne and her team can give you a preliminary outline of finance strategies, and methods of working with a coach to improve finances.

Target Grantseeking Make grantseeking an increasingly targeted effort. The tendency when under stress is often to make blanketed attracts many cosmetic foundations, which takes time and often assure few results. Research your current funders and Lambert Philipp Heinrich Kindt determine what they have needed to do during the crisis. The average foundation nationwide has cut approximately 28% of grantmaking (Chronicle of Philanthropy). Figure out how these cuts could affect your funding. Strengthen relationships with core funders. Make strategies to new funders if the fit is a good one. Research funding changes in your areas of funding, and make contact with grantmakers to find out their plans for the coming year/s. Make sure to provide timely reports to grantmakers that show your program activities and outcomes. Research other government and foundation opportunities.

Build New Fund Raising Strategies Donor database analysis can provide important trends which can guide fund raising. Many, if not most, agencies have thousands of dollars in uncollected donor gifts. These uncollected amounts not restored by contributor that have given for a number years, or missed opportunities to upgrade contributor. A preliminary analysis of your donor database can indicate a range of funding that needs to be available with proper follow-up with contributor (all personal identification data is taken off database). And, more descriptive analysis can provide giving ranges, strategies and a plan for building the beds base of funding. In this period, strategies need to be very carefully and considerately developed, as a number of contributor are themselves affected by the monetary crisis, and unable to give at normal levels. The amount of money that you should be able to develop from the donor base depends upon the size of the donor base, number of years of data, and the data detail. All size organizations can experience some benefit. Contact Anne for a discussion about this resource recovery process that returns many times the investment.

Implement a Fund Raising Plan A fund raising plan gives a roadmap for all fund raising. It offers goals for grants, donor income, special events or other areas of funding. It helps board and staff agree and focus upon specific goals and strategies. The first step is to outline current fund raising, analyzing grants and donor income. Then, board and staff can work together to develop the actual plan with goals and strategies. In these tight financial times, many agencies are even more careful about expenditures. If you have in mind information about a fund raising plan, contact Anne. She can send which you course outline that provides the steps for developing a fund raising plan. And, she can help with analysis, planning and plan development to the extent needed because of your agency. She can also serve as a coach to you as you do the work.

Involve the Board in Fund Raising Any executive dreams of a board that is involved in fund raising. It’s not easy to engage board members as fund raisers. They need training and materials, so they really are well equipped to share with you the message of the agency, the programs and the difference you make. Many boards move into fund raising one step at a time, with a lot of involvement by the ED and at least one or two strong board members who are passionate about fund raising. Do what you may can to create activities or events where board members have a specific role, and are primed for success. Board members and other volunteers will find that the work is extremely rewarding once they feel the joy of sharing the message and the positive reactions by others. Ensure that every board member is a donor themselves. And consult with other community ED and board leader fellow workers to discuss what works and what doesn’t.

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