Strategic Planning for Funding of Operations and Program for Community-Based Coalitions
An estimated 1,000 coalitions in cities and counties across America have sprung up over the past several years. Their planning and implementation phases were funded through federal and foundation grants. But these coalitions have failed to plan for the day when that funding stream dried up. Their number one priority now must be to secure funding from constant and stable sources for continued operations. The first step in this search is for a coalition representative to work with the Board to identify potential funders, identify other Board members who should participate in the fund-raising effort, ensure Board 'buy-in' of the efforts, create a Financial Committee within the Board itself, and review how previous funds have been used. In phase one, the staff puts together a list of past funding sources, present funding sources, frequency of contributions for each funding source, the length of each funding cycle, and any in-kind contributions. It is vital that the Board make an objective assessment of funding sources on the list. Through honest discussion about real chances for sustained funding, the Board can focus on the strongest possibilities. In the second phase, the Financial Committee works to identify ongoing funding that can maintain operations without repeated fund-raising campaigns. Rank possible funders by likelihood of support so that the committee can prioritize their time and resources. In the third phase, the organization staff should prepare a projected budget for a three-year cycle. This information is necessary in order to create a Funding Committee who will plan fund-raising strategy. The committee should include the Board chair, or a major corporate leader who will serve as committee chair. The committee should work to incorporate the coalition into city budgets, county budgets, school board budgets, and United Way campaign budgets. These collaborations can generate funds to cover the needs of the coalition and help strengthen the organization itself through the relationships.