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What do we mean by becoming a line item in an existing budget?

___You understand what a line item is.

___You're aware of the different ways of becoming a line item in a local public or organizational budget.

When would you want to become a line item in an existing budget?

___You're trying to become a line item because your financial back is against the wall, and there are simply no other funding sources available to you.

___You're trying to become a line item to stabilize your funding, and to avoid spending so much time searching for and applying to small funding sources.

___You're attempting to become a line item as part of your basic local funding.

___You're attempting to become a line item to change policy on your issue, to increase your credibility, or to take advantage of a one-time opportunity.

Why would you want to become a line item in an existing budget?

___You know the advantages of becoming a line item:

  • Your organization will stay alive and continue to operate.
  • You'll get a large chunk of stable funding that you don't have to compete for every year.
  • You'll gain the attention and protection of whoever put you in the budget.
  • Having stable funding may allow you to be more creative in what you do.
  • It can free you from administrative drudgery.
  • It can expand the range of services of your organization by giving you access to those of another organization as well.
  • It can leave you with a mutually beneficial collaborative relationship with another organization.
  • It can establish you as a partner of a larger organization, and may thus work to improve your standing in the community.

___You're aware of the potential disadvantages of becoming a line item:

  • You may anger colleagues by bypassing a funding process they still have to contend with.
  • You may be taking money away from other, equally-needed services.
  • Rather than freeing you to be creative, it may make your organization complacent :
  • It may not be ethically consistent with your organization's view of the world.
  • You may be dependent on another organization's funders.
  • You may be dependent on another organization's continued interest in sponsoring your work.
  • You may have to give over control of your organization and your work to another organization in return for the budget line item.
  • The other organization could use its position to push you in directions different from those you'd prefer to go in, or even to take over your work.
  • You may find that you have serious philosophical differences with the other organization, or that your methods of operation are incompatible.

How do you become a line item in an existing local government budget?

___You are totally familiar with the budget process and timelines.

___You have personal contacts with most or all of the people who might have some influence on whether you become a line item or not.

___You make sure that all the appropriate people understand all the possible arguments for making you a line item, and have all the information they need to make those arguments to others.

___You maintain contact with those involved in the budget, and continue to push your point.

___You continue to follow up once you have become a line item, so that you can maintain your status.

How do you become a line item in an organizational budget?

___You consider carefully the mission, philosophy, methods, target population, etc. of the organization you're considering.

___You make personal contacts at more than one level of the organizations.

___You think about what each organization can offer the other.

___You establish mutual trust before you enter into any agreement.

___You work out any agreement carefully beforehand.

___You put it in writing.

___You continue to maintain and build your relationship, even if you reach a point where you no longer need the line item.