When council income drops

  1. Assess the state of the council’s finances and how they got there. Yes, you may lose some sleep. Yes, your stress level will probably go up. No, you can’t solve this problem alone. Don’t be surprised if you experience stages of grief — including denial, bargaining and anger. These responses are predictable early in the problem-solving process. You may experience fight-or-flight responses, too.
     
  2. Assemble a team to address the problem. Enlist the help of the county council members, county commission, regional director and headquartered faculty and staff. You might also want to include the media, community leaders, faculty and staff from other counties, and campus-based colleagues in the process.
  1. Do strategic planning as you determine, as first steps, how to survive financially in the short-term and how to reestablish the lost income.
     
  2. Inspect the finances. What needs to happen to ensure the council can persist until a sustainable income base can be established?
  • How can expenses be reduced?
  • What funds are available in savings?
  1. Work together to address the future, both short-term and long-term.

The bottom line is to have realistic expectations

  • This situation won’t be remedied overnight.
     
  • You are an important part of the solution, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to — and should understand that you can’t — solve this problem alone.
     
  • Ask for support, and talk about what you are thinking and feeling.
     
  • Replace worry with action solutions.

Director of Donor Education Cynthia Crawford in cooperation with County Council Coordinator Tony DeLong, 2013.