As Warren Buffet says “All times are uncertain. Sometimes we just didn’t know it.” It’s safe to say, we know current times are fraught with uncertainty.
Currently, Congress has approved a plan to provide a federal budget through September 2017. This summer our legislators should be working on passing a budget for fiscal year 18, which begins Oct. 1. It’s hard to predict how that process will unfold, and government priorities remain unclear, especially where funding for domestic programs is concerned. If your organization relies on government funding, it’s more important now than ever to consider diversification. Here are three actions to consider:
- Look for Partners to Increase Funding Opportunities
Develop a chart of your programs using keywords to describe the services offered. For each service, identify organizations that care about or can benefit from them. For example, if you provide educational programming for pre-school children, then the educational community, parents, and companies whose products are directed toward children all care about your services.
Next, research ways in which those organizations might provide partnerships and/or funding. Educational colleges have a range of services they might offer including internships, participation in research grants, etc. Dentists and physicians might offer free services. Marketing departments at child-centric companies might offer funding.
Develop a compelling request that includes ways in which your potential partners will benefit from collaborating on the program. Once you’ve arranged a partnership, be sure to regularly and publicly thank those involved.
- Consider Private Foundations in Addition to Federal Funding Opportunities
Family foundations and foundations associated with companies in your geographic area often make excellent funding partners. Using the keywords for your services, research foundations to find possible matches. You are likely to find portions of your services that match the priorities of various foundations. Diversifying your founding sources by obtaining grants from several foundations will help you weather uncertain times. These past blogs can help with this step: Finding Grants that Match Your Needs: Different Funding Sources and A Team Approach to Grant Funding.
- Supplement Government Funding with Fundraising Events
The most successful fundraising events are ones in which people come together to interact. While email or mail campaigns can be effective, social gatherings often out-pace them. Look around your community and see what’s already being done. Consider meeting the organizers of some successful fundraisers to gather tips. Then, develop something unique that doesn’t replicate existing efforts.
Consider partnering with a local business or organization to co-host your event. For example, local fire departments can hold dog washes to benefit the local Humane Society. Restaurants can offer customers a coupon to their restaurant good on the customer’s next visit in exchange for a donation to your organization. Put together an idea you believe will benefit the local organization and approach them with a well-considered plan. It’s easier to say yes to something that is fully thought out.
The Grant Helpers can assist you in developing a funding strategy, researching opportunities and writing requests. Contact us to discuss your particular situation.