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Approaching the federal budget cycle: Ending the year with a clear vision for your NFP


23 November 2021 at 7:00 am
Jo Scard
If this is your first time preparing a pre-budget submission or you're looking to sharpen your entry, Jo Scard, CEO and founder of Fifty Acres, has collated some handy tips to give organisations the best chance at achieving advocacy goals. 


Jo Scard | 23 November 2021 at 7:00 am


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Approaching the federal budget cycle: Ending the year with a clear vision for your NFP
23 November 2021 at 7:00 am

If this is your first time preparing a pre-budget submission or you’re looking to sharpen your entry, Jo Scard, CEO and founder of Fifty Acres, has collated some handy tips to give organisations the best chance at achieving advocacy goals. 

Federal budget time is a key opportunity for not for profits to lobby for funding or build support for a broader advocacy campaign. With the federal election having to be called by May next year and with a budget expected in March (with the possibility of it being even earlier), now is the time to jump on your federal pre-budget submission to ensure a strong entry into 2022. 

Government considerations

With the country emerging out of COVID-19, your ideas need to be shovel ready, easy to support and evidence based. 

Key players

It’s worth familiarising yourself with the key players that are instrumental in the budget process as these are the people you’ll want in mind whilst preparing your submissions. Do your research and really tap into those things you know they care about, or change their mind on things they don’t. 

The people you’ll want in mind whilst preparing your submission are: treasurer, finance minister, the treasury ministry team and their advisers, federal departments of Treasury and Finance, opposition and crossbench and finally the interpreters, that is, media and the social and corporate sectors.  

Framing your asks

Frame your asks in the context of success, it needs to contain a win-win, including outlining ways that acting saves the government money. Allow input from others to help – from speaking to relevant advisers/ministers and meeting with the right people in the department to discuss your proposal, this will help you develop pitch specific funding requests that have the best chance of being supported. It is also vital to have options to deploy for different situations and stakeholders. 

It can be promoted as announceables, and by sharing your pre-budget submission with your political and departmental contacts.

Follow the guidelines

Check out the government’s provided guidelines on what to include – don’t fall into the trap of making it War and Peace. It’s also useful to create an executive summary and an infographic. Budget submissions are highly competitive so making yours accessible and easy to digest will help it cut through the noise. 

Organisational funding and issue-based advocacy

For not for profits, there is a balancing act between asking for organisational funding, programmatic funding or asking government to support issue-based advocacy, where you’re campaigning for a budget direction. 

Before you make your submission it would be best to do some intelligence gathering – speak to a key ministerial adviser or a senior department contact.

Public and third-party supporters

Depending on the size and scale of your asks, you need to factor in broader support. Consistent messaging in public and through submissions with other players in the sector is essential – the bigger the request/idea the more support will be needed. 

A big focus needs to be on the public side of the campaign, building pressure through media, advertising and the collective mailing list of aligned organisations. The bigger the support the harder to dismiss your funding request. It’s never too early to start building this pressure, in fact, you can start lobbying for the next budget the day after the previous one has been announced. 

 

If you need help with your pre-budget submission, government engagement, assistance with a strategic communications strategy or PR outreach, get in touch with Jo Scard at Fifty Acres on 02 6281 7350 or visit fiftyacres.com.au/


Jo Scard  |  @ProBonoNews

Jo Scard is the founder and managing director of Fifty Acres.

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