Key Financial Strategies for Difficult Economic Times

Key Financial Strategies for Difficult Economic Times

1. 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 mileage, utilities, equipment, contracts and vendors, and other related costs. Many organizations can cut 10%-20% out of these budget areas by reducing utilization and updating contracts. An outline can help. If income budget cuts are greater than 25% of the budget, and there are limited reserves, 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 during these times. Anne and her team can give you a preliminary outline of finance strategies, and options for working with a coach to improve finances.

2. Target Grantseeking Make grantseeking an increasingly targeted effort. The tendency when under stress is often to make blanketed appeals to many foundations, which takes time and often yields few results. Research your current funders and determine what they have needed to do during the crisis. The average foundation nationwide has cut approximately 28% of grantmaking (Chronicle of Philanthropy). Determine how these cuts could affect your funding. Strengthen relationships with core funders. Make approaches 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.

3. 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 renewed by donors that have given for a number years, or missed opportunities to upgrade donors. A preliminary analysis of your donor database can indicate a range of funding that should be available with proper follow-up with donors (all personal identification data is removed from database). And, more detailed analysis can provide giving ranges, strategies and a plan for building the base of funding. In these times, strategies need to be very carefully and considerately developed, as a number of donors are themselves affected by the fiscal 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 reap some benefit. Contact Anne for a discussion about this resource recovery process that returns many times the investment.

4. Implement a Fund Raising Plan A fund raising plan provides a roadmap for all fund raising. It includes 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’re interested in information about a fund raising plan, contact Anne. She can send you a course outline that provides the steps for building a fund raising plan. And, she can help with analysis, planning and plan development to the extent needed by your agency. She can also serve as a coach to you as you do the work.



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