It’s budget time again…
It seems to come round very quickly, but July marks the beginning of our new financial year. So as well as tying up all the loose ends from the last 12 months, we have to plan, draft, approve and implement a new budget for the next 12.
It’s always quite a challenge.
This time round it comes against a backdrop of rapidly-increasing demand for our services in a context of rising inflation and huge economic uncertainty. So it’s even more challenging than usual.
We tend to start with the staffing we need to deliver our work programmes, as this forms the vast majority of our costs. We’ve worked particularly hard to reduce our other overheads such as building costs, so now staffing costs make up nearly 85% of our expenditure. We’d love to be able to add some new service delivery staff posts, but we’ve just had to hold back on them. When we’ve put together all the costs, we look at where the income is going to come from.
How much are we likely to raise through donations and fundraising? Is it likely to be a good year in the charity shop? What contract opportunities are coming up, and what is the likelihood that we’ll get them?
When all this is added up, there’s always a significant gap that needs to be filled by the rather hit-and-miss process of applying for grants from charitable trusts and public sector sources. We look at this as a kind of ‘faith target’, and this year that gap is bigger than ever. And whilst we’ve been pretty successful in securing a number of smaller grants, we’ve now got to the point where we really need to land one of the big ones. So, with the backing of the trustees to whom we’re grateful for approving our new budget last month, we’re currently putting great efforts into a number of larger grant applications, checking carefully to ensure that all the ‘t’s are crossed and that the overall story we tell is compelling.
So after over 30 years of setting ‘faith targets’, we’re still here – our faith has never let us down. And if you could join us in prayer that we meet our target again, that would be a huge encouragement. Thank you.