This week brought devastating news for my field: The Massachusetts HIV/AIDS budget is being cut by 25%. We have been weathering smaller cuts for the past several years but we’ve always been aware that whenever we get level-funded or receive a restoration in funding that it is at the expense of other important causes. The last state budget revision was good for HIV/AIDS but bad for domestic violence – Not a win.
Since the recession hit, more and more non-profits are merging with other organizations instead of closing completely, allowing them to continue the work of their cause. Umbrella organizations are popping up that help organize nonprofits with similar missions and pool their resources. With fundraising monies and government funding drying up, competition for what’s left increases, but we can choose to use this moment as a chance for creativity. Instead of each HIV/AIDS organization in Boston holding its own fundraising event with its own expenses, what if we all pulled together for one fundraiser and split the earnings? What if we created a volunteer-based resource-sharing organization to help our clients learn about support groups, informational brochures, hotlines, etc. from all local organizations? What if every employee in the field donated one hour per week to advocacy for restoring our funding?
We have an opportunity to choose to make the most of the remaining funds together. Across every issue and every state we are all dealing with similar challenges. Leave a comment with your idea on what financially challenged community organizations can do to collaborate.