Organize a Youth Summit: Finances & Budget

C. Financial Management and Fundraising

1. Budget Development and Considerations
In budgeting for the Youth Summits, start with the premise that participants will receive full scholarships to attend and will not pay for any expenses. Other youth program models require tuition or partial payments, but the model described for Youth Summits offers fully-subsidized experiences to accepted applicants on a “need-blind” basis. The need-blind approach does not discriminate an applicant’s ability to pay for any part of program. Also plan to provide lodging that includes bedding, to accommodate those applicants who may not own or be able to afford suitable sleeping bags. This also will help to limit the packing list for participants.

Youth Summits require a great deal of time and thought to prepare schedules and ensure that the curriculum and program have an impact on participants. Providing meals, lodging, transportation and educational materials adds additional costs. Generally, Youth Summit Field Schools cost in the range of $1,000 per participant. This general number also can aid in fundraising.

The first qualifier in developing budgets is determining how much of the staffing can come from in-house staff or volunteers and how much requires hiring consultants. The Colorado Youth Summit model primarily uses consultants, while other models -- such as Crow Canyon Archeological Center, Young Preservationists Association in Pittsburgh, and Journey through Hallowed Ground -- enjoy year-round staff support.

Another fundamental consideration is what services a host organization can provide and what services need to be contracted. These services may include website hosting, design, printing, photography, and other related programming costs. Some organizations have expectations or requirements for indirect costs when managing programs and projects, as well as indirect versus direct cost considerations.

Budget surprises are inevitable. Add a contingency of five to fifteen percent into the budget to ensure adequate funds. Other variations in budget preparations might result from program changes due to weather or outside factors that may require last minute decisions.

Also consider such factors as whether or not state or federal dollars make up part of the funding sources, which could trigger per diem, meal, or lodging limitations.

See attached budget worksheet.

2. Fiscal Agent and Cash Flow Management

The financial manager or fiscal agent manages the budget and oversees cash flow. The fiscal agent should be a 501(c) 3 for charitable donations and have the capacity to provide adequate cash flow support. Youth Summits are expensive and require majority outlay of cash for lodging, meals, and transportation - often with 50 percent deposit in advance, with payment in full due during the event. This can burden a small nonprofit organization that is relying on reimbursable grants or government funding. Develop cash flow projections in tandem with the budget to ensure proper planning.

3. Liability Coverage

The host organization must provide liability coverage for the Youth Summit to minimize its liability in the event of an accident or incident that impacts any participant or location visiting during the Youth Summit. Identification and evaluation of adequate coverage may require review from a legal professional to confirm that all safeguards are in place. Liability coverage may be added as a rider to an existing policy - certifying that the rider covers all locations, activities, lodging, and youth involvement - or can be separately purchased for more limited coverage. The agency or entity offering coverage can assist the developing consent forms for applicants. No participant - including staff, volunteers, students, educators, chaperones, or others - should be registered or permitted to participate in any way without a liability form signed by parent or legal guardian over the age of 18.

Often the liability coverage mandates caveats, such as use of personal vehicles, or limits activities, including use of power tools. Consider these possible limitations when developing the Youth Summit program. Special program activities -- such as service learning work on specific sites, or physical activity or admission to areas of restricted access -- may require additional individual liability forms. In developing program activities, make inquiries regarding the need for additional forms or other requirements.

4. Fundraising

Funding for Youth Summit can appeal to a variety of government and non-government entities. For example, government agencies may offer resources from funding programs for heritage as well as other areas, including service programs, training, interpretation, or youth initiatives. Corporate, individual, and family foundation support can be direct and efficient; some may not require long lead times for applications. Other granting possibilities may be available from organizations, agencies, or foundations that may not typically fund historic preservation, but may fund educational efforts or conservation, service, or experiential learning. Many of these may lead to new funding sources.

The basic rules of successful fundraising can be remembered with a P-A-P-A approach:

  • Plan
  • Ask!
  • Perform
  • Acknowledge
Plan: Fundraising requires planning. Developing a budget and theme can trigger many fundraising ideas. Develop a fundraising strategy to identify sources and possible ideas and then plan how to best execute that strategy. Grants and government assistance can help – but, in all fundraising, people give to people. Consider who on the Summit Team or any outside help from board members, educators, or students may help facilitate sources and contacts for fundraising. Fundraising should also consider a balance of sources to strengthen and boost constituency. Moreover, government funding can leverage private donations and vice versa.

ASK! Most fundraising has a 4-1 to 8-1 ask versus award yield. It takes multiple requests to ensure funding success. Many donations or grants require multiple contacts and communications or reports.

Perform: Donors and funders like to give to proven performers. Success breeds success! Communicate your success to the donating entities and ensure they are aware of the positive impacts of the Summits.

Acknowledge: Remember to thank and acknowledge funders. Many require certain levels of recognition, so specifically ask, clarify, and confirm a funder’s expectations or requirements for recognition.

5. Funding Sources

In developing a plan for fundraising consider the following for ideas or funding sources:

  • Local and state preservation organizations
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • State Historic Preservation Office
  • National Park Service, United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management
  • Other Federal agencies
  • National level special initiatives related to youth or service
  • Regional office initiatives
  • Specific parks or units of the National Park Service
  • National level special initiatives related to youth or service
  • Regional office initiatives
  • State or local parks or historic sites
  • Educational entities:
  • Those chosen by donors
  • Local education foundations
  • Local businesses that fund educational entities
  • Parent-teacher organizations
  • Senators, city councils, and mayors with an educational focus or agenda
  • Service organizations
  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Rotary, Kiwanis, Elks, or other community clubs
  • Corporations
  • Cash
  • In-kind
  • Foundations
  • Family foundations
  • Individuals
Sources of funding for preservation:

Click here to download the complete Youth Summits Guide and Planning Tools as a .pdf

Last updated: January 19, 2017

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