What Now for After School Programs

class size budget cuts
Proposed cuts will impact both in school and after school programs.

“It’s heart-wrenching,” said Bridget Laird, chief executive of Wings for Kids, which serves 1,600 children in Atlanta; Charlotte; Charleston, S.C.; and rural Lake City, S.C. She said Thursday that without federal aid, those programs would be eliminated or gutted. “I can’t imagine if that were turned off — all of those kids running around the streets.”

Deep budget cuts, both for 2018 and for this year, threaten key grants and community programs that fund educational and health initiatives.  If you live, work, or go to school in an area served by After School and Mentoring programs, you can expect your community to feel the impact of these cuts.  

As reported in US News and World Report “The administration indicated when it produced its “skinny budget” for 2018 earlier this month that it would make an emergency request for 2017 amounting to a $30 billion increase in defense spending and another $3 billion for border security, including $1.5 billion for construction of the proposed border wall. The increases would be partially offset by cuts to discretionary spending on domestic programs that would affect research grants, Pell grants, Americorps and Senior Corps volunteer programs, and the Community Development Block Grant, including the Meals on Wheels program.”

The cuts proposed over the next two years have the potential to result in the closing of various programs that directly help at risk youth by providing mentor-ship, a safe place, and hope.  The reason so many of these programs are at risk is because their funding is heavily derived from

funding source
Earned income is typically derived by fees to offset cost of services provided.

Government Grants, instead of sustainable source funding programs.  When you look at a general breakdown of how non-profit organizations get funding, grants are the largest source after earned income based revenue.  It is important to note that for most Nonprofits, earned income is generated by fees charged to offset the cost of programs offered.  For example, a shelter might charge a minimal fee for rent.  By and large, without government based funding, many programs face closure.

In order to survive and thrive in a world of unsure funding, these organizations need options for sustainable funding programs that can generate earned income with low cost of implementation.  Many programs may have one annual event or activity that they use to drive this income, like a Walk or Run Event, Charity Ball or Raffle.  Typically, these programs provide a portion of funding, but at a much higher cost, and take time to plan, promote, and execute, pulling important resources away from the primary goal of the organization.

Other sources of direct revenue or trading, may come with a prohibitive overhead cost.  For example, if your organization decides to sell T-Shirts, they must first be designed and purchased, and then sold.  Once you factor in the cost of goods, the overall funds gained may be a small as 10%. For true sustainability, Nonprofits must incorporate a number of programs, and keep a close eye on ROI.

New Funding Options

There are options available for non profits to generate source funding with a minimal investment.  Mobile Cause provides a list of unique fundraising activities on their site.  Fractured Atlas and other organizations like them have a variety of programs to help, as well as fiscal sponsorship’s.

Even more exciting, there are more and more companies offering synergistic options that combine source funding vehicles with programs that serve the needs of their Nonprofit customers.  One great example is a program called Writing for the Soul Workshop™ , a unique program that serves participants through a writing as therapy program, but also serves the Nonprofit, since stories generated through the program are sold, with a portion going back to the organization, as well as offering the authors a way to make money themselves.

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