Updated: Aug 17
This post zooms out from RDG’s bread and butter of fundraising campaign management and focuses on our consulting skillset, specifically suggesting solutions that are easily adoptable, timely, and impactive.
Four months into the, US recognized, pandemic and recession (July) RDG embarked on an exciting and timely project with Bloomberg Associates, a part of Michael Bloomberg’s Bloomberg Philanthropies. The goal of the project was to create a Toolkit for City/Municipal Economic Development Funding to help cities offset costs in the face of projected general budget shortfalls.
Bloomberg Associates runs the What Works Cities project aimed at helping local governments improve residents' lives by using data and evidence effectively to tackle pressing challenges: COVID-19 budget impacts were/are a pressing challenge. In fact, according to a New York Times post, published a month after RDG’s research commenced, current means of funding city-level economic development would no longer be enough to satisfy required needs in the current and post Covid-19 induced economic environment. And the economic impact on local governments is already manifesting with significant financial shortfalls, “with many communities likely to lose 10 percent or more of the revenue they would have seen without the pandemic, according to a new analysis”.
So why does this “matter” to RDG and to the economic development industry? Less tax revenue dollars for cities translates to potentially less monies for economic development. If you are a stand-alone EDO or Chamber, your public sector funding allocation may be impacted, and if you are a city, then maybe you now need to explore strategies to attract private dollars to assist you in running your economic development department. Either way, RDG is positioned to advise on solutions to these challenges.
Bloomberg Associates (BA) and Resource Development Group (RDG) believed new and innovative methods, currently available but under-utilized by cities, could be identified, and leveraged to provide additional resourcing solutions beyond normal sources. Further, responsible city leaders need to be investigating these remedies for filling funding gaps.
The toolkit prioritized opportunities that required limited or no organizational adjustment and are efficient to pursue with limited or no restrictions on utilization.
This blog won’t go into the details of specific suggestions made in the report. For the report click HERE. However, what this blog intends to do is to spur your thinking about intended impact to your community and organization and about the strategic moves needed to be made to offset potential budget impact.
Close your eyes (after reading this) and think about your primary, secondary, and tertiary functions. Are there potential cost savings to your budget by outsourcing programming, can you monetize these functions or any of your assets, or is there a possibility to integrate programs to achieve better delivery and cost savings?
What about generation opportunities? What sources of private revenue are you not tapping into – why? Is what you’re doing creating an ROI that could spur an enduring investment partnership?
If you have tapped out the private revenue options, what about philanthropic foundations? As a community development organization, do you have current, or are you willing to create programming around minority supplier development, education, housing, DE&I initiatives, or COVID recovery? There is funding out there for this work.
Consider the financial impact and implementation time – in other words, don’t spin your wheels to only move a few inches. However, if at the end of this exercise you are drawing blanks, give us a call and we would be happy to brainstorm with you.
Authored by Beth Pulliam.