Harkmore Lee talks to students at the A.S.C.E.N.D. Academy about developing a program budget.

Today at the A.S.C.E.N.D. Academy, we’re talking financial! Harkmore Lee, CALCASA’s Conference Manager, is presenting about developing a program budget. He prefaced his presentation by making it clear that his presentation is only one way to develop a program budget.
Trainees were placed in small groups, and they worked on developing a hypothetical program at a sexual assault agency to which they could apply a budget timeline. For example, one group thought to develop a program that would provide services to Punjabi and Hindi populations. They outlined objectives, outcomes and strategies to develop the program.
Initially, the groups did not apply dollar figures to their program vision, as the point of the exercise was to think about the ideal program without being clouded by financial politics. Then they were asked to think about how dollar discussions could change their programs.
“How is that money influencing the decisions that you’re making and who are you impacting?” Harkmore said. “Yesterday’s discussion dealt a lot with anti-oppression work. The places in the movement where we see oppression occurs in the dollar. The reality is that people don’t get some of this anti-oppression stuff. That’s why yesterday’s discussion was important because, in the end, people get excluded because the money factor kicks in.”
The trainees walked through eight steps to create a program budget. Again, the following steps are one way of doing so:

  1. Determine timeline to complete the program budget.
  2. Identify program’s key objectives or target goals.
  3. Determine the program’s outcomes and the strategies/tasks needed to achieve the outcomes.
  4. Identify the budget format your agency utilizes for its fiscal year.
  5. Identify the expenses associated with these tasks and estimate the values over the course of the fiscal year.
  6. Identify potential funds to cover these program costs and estimate the amounts available.
  7. Seek preliminary approval by Executive Director and await final decision by Board of Directors.
  8. YEA! Board approves. Be ready to execute and monitor program budget.

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