Why Have a Budget for Grassroots Organization?

by Alexis Lawrence

Grassroots organizations are those groups formed for the purpose of activism, usually in one particular area or for one particular cause. Considered political organizations, these groups frequently work to influence the political system in an effort to create change in the social climate of a region. Though grassroots organizations do not require a budget in order to operate, it can help track costs and garner donations.

Budget for Operating

Even in a grassroots organization just getting off the ground, some expenses are bound to occur. Early expenses for grassroots organizations may include the printing of fliers or posters to inform citizens of the organization, the cost of a domain name and website hosting to start an online information source for the organization and mailing costs for sending out organizational materials to members. If the grassroots organization starts out with a small amount of money, that money may go fast if it is not already earmarked for specific purposes.

Budget for Fundraising

Possibly the most important reason for a grassroots organization to have a budget is to secure further capital for the organization. Grassroots organizations commonly earn additional working capital by soliciting charitable donations. Even if donors' political interests alight with the interests, concerns and goals of the grassroots organization, they may hesitate to donate to an organization if they can't see where the money goes. A budget can help put the monetary distribution in a grassroots organization into perspective for potential donors.

Budget for Grants

Depending upon the cause or purpose of the group, a grassroots organization may be eligible for grants, which can help fund the organization. Grants, which might be distributed by the government or private organizations, may be available at a local, state, regional or federal level. When submitting an application for a grant, you must generally submit supplemental materials as well. This usually includes an operating budget, which shows the issuers of the grant how the organization intends to use the awarded money.

What Goes Into the Budget

When creating the budget for a grassroots organization, include all of the categories in which the organization has spent, or plans to spend, money. This may include salaries of full-time employees, activities, such as fundraisers or informational sessions, mailings, printings and even food costs for meetings. You do not have to anticipate all future costs with your initial budget. Include only items on which you expect to spend money in the near future and update the organization's budget as necessary.

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