26 min

Episode 180 | How to Create a Personal or Organizational Budget That Actually Works for 2021 Fundraising Freedom Podcast with Mary Valloni

    • Non-Profit

Today we're talking about how to create a personal or an organizational budget that actually works for you coming into 2021. I know that budgeting is something that some people love, and other people hate - there's a love-hate relationship with the budget. And for many of you, you've probably already gone through the budgeting process. Usually, that happens in the fall time as you're preparing for the next year. But you may be in a season where things are changing every single day. We never know what tomorrow is going to bring. Today's conversation is probably not going to be this brand new information that you've never heard of before. But I think that what we can do today is we can actually talk through making your budget work for you.
As I work with organizations, what I find is that so many of them do not have a fundraising number that they're actually working towards. Many times, they get into this cycle where they just want more. However, it’s important that you actually have a clear number, an actual fundraising goal that you're working towards. I don't want you to randomly pick a number, that is not a great way to budget, it's not a great way to fundraise or to invite other people to be a part of your work. Here are some tips I want to share.
If you look back and reflect on 2019 and consider how much you raised as well as the work you did, you’re probably going to pick up about 50% of that normal behavior, and 50% of 2020, after March, where we had to modify everything. So 2021, you're probably still going to have online events, you're probably still going to have the social distancing, and possibly doing a lot of things on Zoom, and working through major gifts, shifting that fundraising around so that you can modify your behavior to fit the season that we're in. As we move into 2021, I want you to look at where your money went.
I work on my budget every single week. I know that some people don't look at their budget very often, but I am a stickler for the budget because the budget tells you where your money is going, and it tells you where it went. As you put numbers on a sheet of paper when you budget, you're just randomly putting numbers down on a sheet of paper, right? Because you're just trying to get a good 10,000-foot view of what your budget looks like. So, as you're putting those numbers down on paper, the best way to budget is to look at where did we spend the money last year. Now you may be a first-year raising these funds or bringing in these dollars and so you may not have past years to look at so the best you can do is really just take a good guess at what it's going to take. When you start assessing and you look at where the dollars went, where did we end up spending money? Maybe we didn't spend in certain categories like travel conferences or training because, in 2020, some of those things just didn't happen. So for 2021, we're going to modify that and start to add a little bit of that back probably for the second half of 2021. Hopefully, after we do get some sort of vaccine in the process, that'll allow us then to start looking at, well, maybe we can do some events in the fall of next year, but maybe not huge ones, just small things that you can start to engage people back into face-to-face communication with your organization and with your cause.
Number two, look at what your priorities are, what is most important, and in the previous posts, I've talked a lot about going back to your vision of what is it that we're trying to do as an organization, what's the ultimate end result. Now if you are a fundraiser, you're not responsible for the mission side of the organization, you obviously are just given a number from the mission side, and they're telling you “Hey, this is how much it's gonna cost for us to do the work we're doing on the mission side, here's your number.” Now, that is actually an easier position to be in. That's the position I was in for many, many years, where I just was to

Today we're talking about how to create a personal or an organizational budget that actually works for you coming into 2021. I know that budgeting is something that some people love, and other people hate - there's a love-hate relationship with the budget. And for many of you, you've probably already gone through the budgeting process. Usually, that happens in the fall time as you're preparing for the next year. But you may be in a season where things are changing every single day. We never know what tomorrow is going to bring. Today's conversation is probably not going to be this brand new information that you've never heard of before. But I think that what we can do today is we can actually talk through making your budget work for you.
As I work with organizations, what I find is that so many of them do not have a fundraising number that they're actually working towards. Many times, they get into this cycle where they just want more. However, it’s important that you actually have a clear number, an actual fundraising goal that you're working towards. I don't want you to randomly pick a number, that is not a great way to budget, it's not a great way to fundraise or to invite other people to be a part of your work. Here are some tips I want to share.
If you look back and reflect on 2019 and consider how much you raised as well as the work you did, you’re probably going to pick up about 50% of that normal behavior, and 50% of 2020, after March, where we had to modify everything. So 2021, you're probably still going to have online events, you're probably still going to have the social distancing, and possibly doing a lot of things on Zoom, and working through major gifts, shifting that fundraising around so that you can modify your behavior to fit the season that we're in. As we move into 2021, I want you to look at where your money went.
I work on my budget every single week. I know that some people don't look at their budget very often, but I am a stickler for the budget because the budget tells you where your money is going, and it tells you where it went. As you put numbers on a sheet of paper when you budget, you're just randomly putting numbers down on a sheet of paper, right? Because you're just trying to get a good 10,000-foot view of what your budget looks like. So, as you're putting those numbers down on paper, the best way to budget is to look at where did we spend the money last year. Now you may be a first-year raising these funds or bringing in these dollars and so you may not have past years to look at so the best you can do is really just take a good guess at what it's going to take. When you start assessing and you look at where the dollars went, where did we end up spending money? Maybe we didn't spend in certain categories like travel conferences or training because, in 2020, some of those things just didn't happen. So for 2021, we're going to modify that and start to add a little bit of that back probably for the second half of 2021. Hopefully, after we do get some sort of vaccine in the process, that'll allow us then to start looking at, well, maybe we can do some events in the fall of next year, but maybe not huge ones, just small things that you can start to engage people back into face-to-face communication with your organization and with your cause.
Number two, look at what your priorities are, what is most important, and in the previous posts, I've talked a lot about going back to your vision of what is it that we're trying to do as an organization, what's the ultimate end result. Now if you are a fundraiser, you're not responsible for the mission side of the organization, you obviously are just given a number from the mission side, and they're telling you “Hey, this is how much it's gonna cost for us to do the work we're doing on the mission side, here's your number.” Now, that is actually an easier position to be in. That's the position I was in for many, many years, where I just was to

26 min