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March 2004Vol. 5, No. 2Strategies for Financing Child Welfare Activities in Tough Times

An article in the January/February 2004 issue of Children's Voice suggests ways child welfare agencies might cut expenses and increase revenues during difficult financial times. Along with helpful background information on how child welfare activities are funded through various Federal programs, the author provides the following suggestions:

  • Stick to your budget. Put off unnecessary expenses, and hold staff, administrators, and the board accountable.
  • Review strategic plans. Is what you proposed 3 years ago still possible? If not, change your plans to better reflect current economic conditions.
  • Consider cutting programs. Across-the-board cuts can weaken an entire agency, so consider cutting programs that run a deficit. Focus on your core programs and strengthen those.
  • Explore entrepreneurial options. Sell your services to other organizations. If you currently sell your services to a county government, consider additional options such as other counties, local governments, or local businesses. Also, consider developing a for-profit arm to fund your nonprofit activities.
  • Focus on advocacy. Be a strong advocate on public policy issues that impact your organization. Let legislators know why it's important to fund the services you provide.
  • Hold fundraising events in your community. Hold an event and get a local business to sponsor it.
  • Get the board involved. This includes fundraising, donating, and offering financial advice.
  • Tap into your alumni network. Former clients may be willing and able to contribute.
  • Involve staff. Keep them informed of budget issues and help them see their role in meeting the bottom line.

A complete copy of the article can be found on the Child Welfare League of America website at