More often than perhaps most realize we’re seeing organizations cutting back in one way or another.
Staff hours are being cut, service delivery is being looked at with the view to reducing hours or services being offered; not only are the staff directly affected but those in need of what organizations offer are also affected – it’s anyone’s guess how far the impact of cut backs flows; it’s likely the cuts could cut deep.
There’s an assumption that the need for cutbacks could have been foreseen, perhaps in some situations that is true, but at a guess not all would have been.
Organizations that have been relient, and almost gauranteed funding from Grants Boards, Trusts appear to have had a rude awakening when they discover that the ‘usual’ funding they had been getting has either been trimmed back or cut completely; often with no forwarning.
Planning should cover most situations, but when an organization has been receiving the same funding from the same source for a long period, the expectation is that it is “money in the bank” – sadly that’s not always the case, and organizations should be prepared with a contingency plan.
Where possible when planning and budgeting contingencies should be a consideration, a “what if” scenario should be in the minds of those responsible for managing an organization. Why some organizations forget this is a mystery.
When funding applications have been submitted and the reject letters arrive it’s in all probablity too late to be thinking “what can we do now” – that should have been in the minds of all concerned before applications were submitted.
A sob story to local media, local business and the community could result in some funding coming through – but it’s a gamble, and one that perhaps shouldn’t be taken.
Why might it be a risk to go to media? Funders may take it ‘personally’ and feel that you are perhaps unappreciative of the support that they may have given previously. Some say, talking to media could ruin any future chances of applications being received in a favourable manner, that they could easily end up in the decline pile without much, if any attention being given to the information contained in it. Perhaps, but in reality funders are aware that applicants struggle for funding and will from time to time talk to media about the difficulties they face, many wouldn’t take it personally, but some may.
In talking about funding issues organizations could likely find that other supporters could come out of the woodwork. People who may not have known the organization even existed, or the extent of the work it does would gain awareness the result of this being that support could come from places not otherwise thought of.
It could be a gamble, but one worth taking – would your organization take the gamble and try to raise awareness of your organization’s plight, or would you feel safer sitting, waiting in the hope that your traditional funders will support you in the next funding round.
Do you have time to wait, or do you have to bite the bullet and tell your story in the hope it will gain you the support you need to continue delivering the services you provide?
Telling your story could open a door (wallet) you may not have been able to open before; sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do it, but be careful you don’t put down support or supporters – remember you may need them again. Diplomacy and tact is needed.