Budgeting and Fundraising
A fatherhood program’s budget can depend on whether the program is independent or part of a larger organization and if there is start-up funding. Experienced practitioners recommend:
- Reserving part of a new program’s budget for development and fundraising, including outreach to government agencies and businesses through research, presentations, and follow-up.
- Hiring a grant writer to help identify revenue sources and develop applications for local foundations and government grants.
- Fostering a strong commitment to data collection and evaluation to demonstrate quality performance and document program effectiveness. Consider the experience of a program manager: “The corporate world wants a return on investment. You’ve got to develop a track record before you start going to the general public.”
- Make strategic additions to the program’s board of directors. Says a fatherhood practitioner, “As a staff person I’ve asked a group for money and the answer is no. But if the ‘ask’ comes from a prominent person in the community, it’s a different answer.”
Fatherhood programs that cannot rely on a stable in-house source of funds should begin fundraising immediately. Fundraising activities typically include:
- Cultivating local opportunities through in-person meetings with potential funders.
- Writing grants for federal, state, and local government funds.
- Reaching out to local foundations, a process that may include a combination of in-person meetings and grant proposals.
- Building collaborations with existing organizations that may be able to provide funding and/or expertise to a new fatherhood program.
Program support is not always financial. Some fatherhood programs receive support from non-traditional or in-kind sources such as local corporations or civic groups. Even if these organizations do not make a direct contribution, they might provide free equipment or volunteer staff. Local businesses or partner agencies sometimes donate food, materials, clothes, supplies, services, staff time, or space for group meetings. By recruiting community members or college students as interns or volunteers, some programs have been able to get additional help with administrative tasks, community mapping, participant recruitment, and general planning.
Targeted fundraising can be an effective way to generate additional resources, but can be time consuming. Involve your board of directors and staff whenever possible. A strong board should be able to help identify local, regional, and national funding opportunities and make fundraising presentations.