1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Total Operating Budget

    How is this question properly answered:
    "Over the last three years, what was your organization's average TOTAL operating budget?"

    Our suburban fire department is comprised of two fire companies. The Department operating budget is provided exclusively by what the town provides to us to buy and maintain our apparatus and equipment. In addition to this, each company does it's own fundraising for use to pay the utilitiies, maintain their respective firehouses, refreshments, etc.

    1. Is the TOTAL operating budget the sum of money spent from the DEPARTMENT operating budget alone OR

    2. Is the TOTAL operating budget the sum of money spent from the DEPARTMENT operating budget PLUS the amount spent by each fire company?

    The answer seems obvious to me, but there are a few guys splitting hairs and resisting the idea of revealing any information on the amount of donations and how much is spent on maintenance of the firehouse, refreshments.

    Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I'd like one of the grant experts to weigh in so I have something to go back with to show the naysayers. Thanks.

  2. #2
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Cypress, TX


    If the department is applying then it is the total of all monies inbound to both companies from all sources including donations. That's why there is a section to distinguish the source of the money. If you ignore the donations, which could be done and IMHO you're not lying unless you claim you're paying for things with the town money that you're really spending the donation money on. But then you report 100% tax based, which in a volunteer organization will make Big Blue say "huh?" Unless you're independently wealthy or have to high of a call volume to spend time fundraising all volunteer departments are 'expected' to fundraise. So if you don't report any money fundraised in your statistics, guess what couldn't mention in your narrative without being in a gray area? Fundraising. So you couldn't answer the unasked question of why aren't you fundraising, because you said we don't in one spot, can't say you do in the other. You'd create and fall into your own trap.

    All fundraising needs to be mentioned, it creates a ? mark as to the guarantee of that income. You're depending on the generosity of others, which can change in an instant and then you're SOL if your fixed costs are higher than your fixed tax income. Better to mention it, Peer Reviewers can smell people dodging stuff before they even open the folder.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Thanks, Brian. Just as I thought. This application has opened quite a few cans of worms for our department.

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