Active budget analysis must be done so that the risk is calculated and financial expectations can be set. You’ll have to critically examine cost per staff, revenue needed to break even, costs associated with the services provided, and any hidden costs. Notice how and where your funding is not aligned with your mission, and decide where your resources can be restructured or realigned. To fully commit to the transformation, you’ll need to take some financial risk. So it’s important to put a plan in place to prepare for some level of anticipated financial loss.
It’s time to realign funds that no longer fit with your new vision. For example, do you have financial capital tied up in your buildings–maybe in money-losing workshops, or in maintenance and utilities? Could you use these resources to create job developer positions or invest in staff training? As funds gradually free up, your new hires will bring your ratios back down gradually. These new hires may not come from sheltered work or human services backgrounds, which means they’ll bring new attitudes and strategies with them.
Providers often transition away from contracts gradually to ensure sustainability. You may be able to renegotiate contracts to create opportunities such as going to people’s place of employment, instead of bringing the work to the workshop. As supports become increasingly community-based, new financial needs will emerge. Things that were relatively easy to manage, such as attendance and transportation, may become more complicated, and thus more expensive to sustain.
You can uncover new ways to generate income to assist and/or fund the transitional phase. You might explore fundraising initiatives, or apply for grants through private foundations. Or you might tap into state and local revenue sources, such as community development funds. One provider we know even purchased a for-profit company to generate discretionary income!
To learn more, see these suggested resources and provider promising practices