Don’t let the words “money management” scare you! It’s actually quite simple. In the next few paragraphs, you’ll have everything you need to know to run a financially effective campaign, movement or organization.
Why money management matters
Money management is a crucial aspect of any organization, and youth activism movements are no exception. These movements often rely on the support of their members, donors, and supporters to achieve their goals. However, managing funds can be challenging, particularly when dealing with limited resources. Let’s explore some key strategies that can help your organization or movement’s money go the farthest.
Set clear financial goals
The first step in effective money management is setting clear financial goals. What do you anticipate needing to spend money on? What are the costs of organizing events, printing materials, and paying for transportation? If it’s a small organization, you might not have to factor in housing and utilities, but what about subscriptions such as Canva, Adobe, Zoom or Hootsuite? Are there ways that you can collaborate with other organizations to eliminate or reduce these costs? Some ways to cut your spending in the short term could be using student discounts, free trials or promos, but when the trial period is over you’ll need to adjust your budget to compensate for increased costs.
Having a clear understanding of your organization’s financial needs is essential. Once the financial goals have been set, it becomes easier to plan and budget for the resources needed to achieve these goals.
Create a budget
Budgeting is also crucial for effectively managing your money. A budget helps to ensure that expenses do not exceed income, and it helps to identify areas where costs can be reduced. It’s helpful to develop a budget that outlines your income and expenses for a specific period, such as a month or a year.
Explore funding opportunities
Another important part of money management is exploring different funding opportunities to support your cause. This may include grants, crowdfunding, school or university funding and donations from individuals and organizations. It is essential to research the requirements and guidelines for each funding opportunity and develop a strong proposal that highlights your movement's goals and objectives. Financial donations might not be possible for all organizations, but what are some ways that other people or companies can support your cause? Reach out and see if they can help by donating food, time, venues or even assisting with supplies. The worst thing that they can say is no, so it doesn’t hurt to ask!
If someone or some organization does help, be sure to thank them with a kind note or email. Building and maintaining connections is an important part of running a successful organization or movement, and gratitude goes a long way. Who knows, it may just make them want to support you again in the future!
Keep accurate financial records
Keeping accurate financial records is crucial for effective money management. This includes tracking income and expenses, documenting receipts and invoices, and maintaining bank statements. There are many great money management apps to help with this such as Mint, Wave or Square with different features, so search around and see what works best for you. If you went over your budget this month, how can you reduce your spending next month? Accurate financial records help to monitor your movement's financial health, identify areas where costs can be reduced, and demonstrate transparency and accountability to donors and supporters.
You can’t do it all. As awesome as it would be to have a bouncy house or dj at your next campaign event, it might not be the smartest financial decision. That’s where prioritizing comes in. Prioritize spending on activities that align with your goals and objectives. What spending is necessary? What can you go without? Prioritize spending on activities that have the most significant impact on your movement's success. This may include organizing rallies, printing materials, and investing in technology and communication tools. Sadly, the bouncy house will have to wait.
Embrace transparency and accountability
Transparency and accountability are critical for maintaining the trust of donors and supporters. Be open and transparent about your organization’s financial practices, including how funds are being used and the impact of these funds on their cause. It is also essential to maintain regular communication with donors and supporters and provide updates on your movement's financial health.
In conclusion, effective money management is essential for the success of your movement or organization. By setting clear financial goals, creating a budget, exploring funding opportunities, keeping accurate financial records, prioritizing spending, and embracing transparency and accountability, you can effectively manage your movement’s funds to help achieve your goals. By adopting these strategies, you can build a strong financial foundation that will enable your movement or organization to make a significant impact on the world. Now that you’ve got these skills in your toolbox, get out there and start changing the world!