Cause Effective Perspective
A Plan in Numbers
A budget is a plan in numbers. So true and so ripe with possibilities for contention.
Especially when the plan itself hasn't been clearly laid out, overtly stated, reached through consensus.
In cases like those, the fighting is only marginally about the dollars. It's about control, direction, priorities, and vision.
And sometimes, competing visions.
How much should we be increasing the line for social workers? Housing advocates? Marketing materials? Clerical support?
Those may seem like apples and oranges, but each carries within it a core sense of what's most important.
And in an era of shrunken resources, push will come to shove, without a master plan.
We often see nonprofits pie-charting their income streams. In fact, in fundraising planning, that’s often the first instruction. Where are your dollars coming from – so much from private foundations, so much from government contracts, etc.
But what about pie-charting expense categories? Not just line items like rent or IT maintenance, but functional distinctions like afterschool programming or college readiness prep?
Or outreach, staff development, upkeep of the physical plant... where you spend your dollars is about so much more than simply the dollars themselves.
Who are you? What are your institutional priorities? What are your financial shackles, your historical inheritance, your core values?
And are they reflected, truly reflected, in how you allocate your resources?
We talk a lot in this space about how to raise the money you need. But how to spend it is just as vital a set of decisions for your organizational soul.