Written by: Tammy Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer, National Safe Place Network
If you applied for RHY funding this year, the staff of NSPN hope you have received good news. The work you do in your community is important and youth depend on your services. If you were successful, congratulations!
Unfortunately, due to increased competition and static funding levels, there isn’t enough money to go around and some of you will be dealing with significant loss. If you did not receive RHY funding, here are a few things you can do to increase awareness and support for your program(s):
- If your application was not approved, it’s important to note that applications are often very well written and still may not be funded. NSPN members with the Organizational Development package are encouraged to connect with April Carthorn (firstname.lastname@example.org) to share your reviewer comments. The NSPN team will work to help you understand what may be improved in your response to future funding opportunity announcements.
- Although you should have well established city, county, and state congressional relationships before you get the notice of the status of your application, it is never too late to reach out to community leaders. Visit your local representatives and share a packet of information to include statistics of service, outcomes of services, and projections of impact on the community if services are discontinued. Gap funding from city and county governments is not unheard of – especially for programs deeply grounded in the community landscape.
- Reach out to all referral sources to explain what services will or won’t be continuing and ask for assistance from trusted partners in creating responses for youth to meet basic needs.
- Craft a media release focusing on the impact of the loss of funding and the importance of additional resources for all RHY youth.
- Create a social media support campaign (consider Go Fund Me) if the loss of funding will mean the discontinuation of all services.
Some of you have built sustainable programs capable of withstanding a loss, especially in the cases where reapplication is possible the next year. Others of you may be faced with closing facilities and laying off staff. There are no words of comfort or encouragement during these times that do not sound trite. All social service organizations face this loss at one time or another. Our best wishes are with you and your team as you make your decisions for what is next for your organization.