Developing a budget for Non-Profit Initiatives
The act of giving back has taught me my biggest lesson this year: the incredible power we hold to transform communities, shape our worldview, and create a lasting impact in society. One impactful driven initiative: Adopting a School in Uganda is just one example of how at the grassroot level you can change the lives of many. But, creating this level impact often requires an input of resources, whether it is your time, money, efforts, or a compilation of all these resources.
In planning these projects and trying to understand what resource is best for the specific need, the most recent project through the Young Eye Foundation illustrated that an input of finances was required for the donation and infrastructural development. I thought it would help to share details of how we budgeted for the donation and the painting of a school. By carefully planning and allocating resources, we did our best to make a significant difference in the lives of students and the community.
Define Your Objectives
Before starting any project, it is key to clearly define the goals and objectives you aim to achieve. Ours was specific to a school donation and painting program, we had to consider the specific needs of the school in terms of scholastic approach and the key areas on the interior and exterior we could paint. We determined whether our focus was on improving educational resources, enhancing the learning environment, or both. We found that clearly outlining your objectives of the project helped us shape your budgeting decisions and understand the requirements with the capacity we had.
Assess the Requirements
Understanding what is required by conducting an assessment of the needs always helps to determine the scope of the project. Our objective being both an infrastructural and scholastic donation, our evaluation covered areas such as the painting requirements for selected areas, classroom supplies, library books, play area developments and much more. However, I remember even before we started, we spoke to the school administrators, teachers, and students to understand what their requirements and priorities are considering they were the major stakeholders of the project.
Develop a Detailed Budget
Once you have a clear understanding of the project scope, now is when we started developing a budget. Considering the following key elements was key to how we put it together:
School Donation: We identified the specific items that were required by the school. Our research of the cost estimates for items such as books, furniture, learning charts, pens, pencils and much more was done through inquires and visiting different stores and organizations that deal with these items.
Painting the School: This was a challenge, because we needed to assess the size of the school building, the number of classrooms we could facilitate, and other areas that required painting. The cost attached to this was an estimate of the cost of paint, brushes, rollers, primer, labour and other necessary supplies for the painting. I learnt from this experience that when you are budgeting for labour, the cost should not be more than 20% of the entire supplies budget.
Additional Costs: In any budget adding miscellaneous expenses, such as transportation of materials, is key. These are usually for contingencies or any unexpected expenses that may arise during the project.
Seek Partnerships and Sponsorships
Finding people interested in supporting or sponsoring is a stage you get into once you have done the dirty work of figuring it all out. To optimize our budget, we sought out partnerships or sponsorships from local businesses, suppliers, or other organizations. Collaborating with external entities, we secured discounted rates, in-kind donations, and volunteer support. Considering this was a community event we engaged with community members and to enhance the impact of our program.
I wrote a blog sharing unique ways on how to raise funds for CSR programs.
Implementation and Execution
Once our budget was in place and funding secured, we developed a detailed implementation plan. Assign project roles and responsibilities to ensure smooth execution. Communicate with the school administration, teachers, and students to schedule the painting project and coordinate the donation event. We regularly tracked and monitored the project progress to ensure its completion.
Evaluation and Follow-Up
After the school donation and painting project is completed, as a team we evaluated its impact. Collecting feedback from school stakeholders to understand the benefits and areas for improvement for future reference. This assessment always help you refine future projects and measure the overall success of your initiative.
Learn to develop a project budget. Budgeting for a school donation and painting program as part of your program requires careful planning and consideration. By defining your objectives, assessing the school’s needs, creating a detailed budget, seeking partnerships, and executing the plan effectively, you can make a positive impact on the school and the community.