MEETING SHORT TERM FUNDING NEEDS
For SUDL, the thrust of all sustainability efforts will be finding resources quickly. While securing a sustainable funding base takes time—time that SUDL just does not have—SUDL will take several approaches to find short-term resources while a longer-term plan is put into place.
Finding Bridge Funding
SUDL is approaching Board members, wealthy individual supporters, local foundations, and local businesses about the possibility of funding for a limited time. SUDL is emphasizing that our request is for short-term bridge funding to keep SUDL in operation while time is spent looking for more sustainable support.
Seeking Funds for Individual Program Components
Rather than trying to convince funders to support SUDL overall, SUDL will find ongoing support for particular program components. For example, SUDL will reach out to area business and firms to ask them to sponsor a tournament. SUDL will also approach school principals about reallocating literacy funds to cover afterschool practices by arguing that debate teaches critical literacy skills. Funders might be willing to support public debates, curricular debates, or the coaches’ seminars. Similarly, portraying SUDL as leadership skill development or college bridge programming may give access to specialty funds. Unfortunately, the core general operating costs SUDL has (such as the Executive Director’s salary) can be unattractive to funders. SUDL will be able to roll a portion of these costs into each request. For example, if the Director will spend two weeks planning a public debate, we may wish to include two weeks of salary in the full cost of operating these public debates.
Planning Fundraising Activities
Fundraising activities, from lunches at downtown law firms to receptions at tournaments to house parties, can be planned relatively quickly and can be successful if supports are motivated by a specific cause, such as funding for a specific tournament.
Communicating with Our Supporters
SUDL will let parents, Board members, community leaders, and others know about SUDL’s funding needs. Supporters have a stake in seeing SUDL thrive, and have the ability to jumpstart the community to support of SUDL, which merits investment. Although these short-term strategies can help generate needed resources quickly, SUDL is taking some time to think about how these short-term strategies will affect the longer-term prospects. For instance, a fundraiser can be designed to become an annual event that the community will look forward to. If SUDL goes to the school district for emergency relief, that will affect SUDL’s relationship and credibility with the district over the years to come. SUDL is thinking strategically even in the short term.