Developing and maintaining healthy financial habits for community-based orgs
Healthy Financial Habits for Small and Scrappy Organizations
Mayday Space is a collectively-run grassroots org in Bushwick Brooklyn that is an activism and organizing hub.
What folks here have experience with
- Working at big big non-profits and tiny ones
- Systems administration, supporting accountants
- Collective budgeting
- Public access TV
What is it like in your org?
Design Action: 12 person collective, 6 committees
- plus a book-keeper and rotating financial committee
- committees can make budgetary requests - how much money do you need, how much money have you brought in for this area of work, how much money do you anticipate bringing in for your area
- recently raised our hourly rage simultaneously with raising top level of sliding scale fee, ongoing struggle to push back against austerity and fear
- collective budgeting: committees put forth their own budgets, then smaller group goes back and synthesizes, refines
What questions are Mayday tackling right now?
- the person who held the most financial literacy just left the collective, staff taking webinars with book-keeping co-op
- need to build up this muscle in other folks
- what practices have worked for you in buiilding shared financial literacy in your org?
- ultimately, wanting to build habits of communication about a topic people don't like!
- talking about budgets is not just about spreadsheets, it's a narrative
- Critical Resistance: people are making decisions about finances that they are not actively involved in, doesn't feel great
- what worked better: 4 general meetings: preparing folks with financial literacy education
1) financial values 2) spreadsheets 3) what are you options for engaging with the budget process 4) consenting on the budget and a fundraising plan
- thinking about budgets as quarters is a good cadence
- Critical Resistance and Design Action both do year long processes and review it after 6 months
- Bookkeeper sending a spreadsheet with our earnings numbers every week, so that we consistently practice thinking about our financial goals
- "a budget is a moral document"
- telling a story about how the money is being spent is useful
- Design action had class conversations to develop shared understanding about how we make and propose money decisions
- knowing the "why" behind why we have to do certain things
- having an organizational wiki - what the org uses and doesn't use, if we don't want people to use a thing (i.e. paypal) it says why in the wiki, feedback from people was: this works!
- how do you establish the norm that people go to that document?
- no quick fix! establish some hierarchy -- if you need to know about X go to Y person
- use humor! get thru the emotional barriers to financial literacy. use bitmojis lolz
- take the fear factor out of it if it feels more fun
- helping ppl understand that the work is a thru line - programs and budgets woven together, like a sewing machine where two threads are being woven together from the top and the bottom