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social, industrial, and professional men and women, and is more and more becoming a force for an intelligent understanding of social work.
The necessity of constant education of the schools, the churches, and all organized groups is obvious. Through annual reports and good house organs, through regular publicity in the press, through prepared programs for various groups, and always through the spoken word whenever possible, the public cannot help but recognize the aims and needs of the work.
Repeating again that the real purpose of the public agency is to strengthenthe laws already on the statute books, to enforce them wisely, and so to educate the constituents of the legislators that these "folks back home" will demand better legislation, it is my honest belief that where the manufacture of citizens from babes is our prime motive, that if the public can be made to see the facts and the needs for preventive work, that the day is not far distant when it will be unnecessary for us to depend on subtle lobbying to get our bills through the legislature. We are hoping that before the legislature of 1927 convenes we shall be able to practice what I am preaching today. We have done little as yet, except work toward the establishment of county boards of child welfare in connection with the state board in order to make the county the unit for an organized program of social work, guided by the public agency, that thus through the awakened intelligence of the people themselves more and more the band of thicket clearers will gather unto themselves the thinking men and women of the state so that we shall constantly be able to make Alabama a better place for a little child to live in.
THE CHARITIES BUDGET AND CHILDREN'S AGENCIES
Elwood Street, Director, Community Council and Fund of St. Louis
Two keys there are which will unlock the hearts and minds of community fund budget committees. Of them I shall speak, and of how, when properly used, they will help a children's agency to attain and maintain its proper place in the budget of a community fund or financial federation.
The use of these keys is a matter of concern, I believe, to every representative of a children's agency in this audience, whether at the present time the organization is a member of a community fund or not.
If your agency is a member of a community fund, some of the principles which I shall discuss may, I believe, be applied with profit, no matter how effective your relationship to the community fund budget committee now is. In some twelve or more years of observing children's institutions and other social agencies in their relationship to a community fund I have never observed one which attained what I believe would be maximum effectiveness in relation to that budget committee.
On the other hand, if your agency is not now having dealings with a community fund budget committee, it is likely to before long. Over two hundred
American cities now have community funds. I believe that the time is not far distant when every city of any appreciable size will have adopted the plan of federated financing of its social agencies. This means that practically every community large enough to have a children's agency will also have a community fund which will probably include that organization as well as the other social agencies in the community. The agency which considers these principles now and plans to apply them when it is a member of a community fund has a tremendous advantage over those agencies which wait to consider their relationship to the community fund until membership in it is actually upon them.
Moreover, principles which are here discussed are capable of application not merely to the relationship of a children's agency to a community fund budget committee, but also, to the relationship of the agency to its own board and to groups of citizens in the community at large at whose hands it desires favors and assistance. Is it too much to hope, therefore, that this discussion may prove of some value to each one here?
The factors in this effective relationship of a children's agency to a community fund budget committee may be broadly divided into two main requirements: first, the children's institution must have an adequate supply of facts about its work, graphically interpreted; second, it must present these facts effectively in a variety of ways to the community fund's budget committee. These are the twin keys which will unlock the hearts and the minds of the members of the budget committee.
In discussing the use of these two keys I shall assume, for the time being, the guise of a superintendent of a children's agency in a community chest city. I realize that this is a difficult rôle. I assume it with all humility, hoping that you will pardon my presumption on the grounds that even this make-believe is only temporary.
If, then, I were the superintendent of a children's agency which desired to get the appropriation it needed from a community fund budget committee, I should make sure, first of all, that I had all the facts regarding child welfare work in the community at large and regarding the work of my own agency, and should have those facts interpreted in such graphic shape that their meaning could not possibly be mistaken.
The facts regarding the community would include the extent and nature of the child welfare problem in the city; the number of neglected and dependent children; the amount of service to them; the nature of that service; its cost as handled by other agencies at work in the community, both public and private; and the unmet needs for both general and specialized service. The facts regarding my own agency would show for several years past the quantity of service rendered; the various types of children; the cost of such service, detailed as to its various elements, and compared with similar costs for other like agencies; the tendencies in such costs; and the demand for this service, compared to the
problem as a whole and to the development of other agencies. I should also wish to have facts which would show the quality of the service rendered, as well as the quantity. Surely I should have such facts available for planning the work of my agency, whether I dealt with a budget committee or not.
I should take the utmost pains to put these facts in graphic form. Charts would show the relationship between my own work and that of other agencies, and conditions in the community as a whole. Charts would show also the relationship between the cost of the various elements of my agency's service year by year, and in comparison with the costs of other agencies. These charts would be put in such shape that they could readily be seen by a committee of some size, either by having them made into lantern slides so that they could be shown with a stereopticon, or by having them photographically enlarged and mounted on pieces of linen two or three feet square which could be fastened to an easel. With these charts I could clearly illustrate any points which the facts indicated as to the necessity of increased appropriations on account of changing factors in my work, or on account of unmet needs or growing demands for service.
In addition to these charts, I would find great value in photographs of the salient features of the work of my agency; of the needs which ought to be met in the community that are not being met, and which it was proposed that my agency should meet, and of typical children as indicative of special problems to be handled. These photographs might either be made into lantern slides or enlarged and mounted, like the charts. When I had thus put in graphic form the facts about my agency and its problems, I should begin to plan the use of the second key to the hearts and minds of the budget committee. That key is the efficient presentation of these graphic facts to the committee.
A community fund budget committee usually includes nine or more members. Sometimes the agency representatives appear before a subcommittee of a budget committee, which in turn makes recommendations to the committee as a whole. The principles of presentation would, however, be little affected by the size of the committee. The point remains that a committee made up of individuals who know more or less about social work is charged with the responsibility of determining how much of the funds which it is thought may be available shall be given to each particular agency in the community fund membership. My discussion of relationship to the budget committee naturally divides itself into four main points: first, the mailing of suitable material to the budget committee; second, getting the budget committee to visit the agency; third, the presentation of the budget to the committee when the time for decision comes; and fourth, the attitude of the representatives of the children's agency toward the budget committee.
If I were superintendent of a children's agency wishing an appropriation from a budget committee, I should mail fact material about my agency at least once a month during the year to the members of the committee. Each month I would send a brief statement regarding some particular phase of my agency's
work to which I wished special attention given; such, for example, as the problem of rising food costs, the increasing number of children requiring attention because of desertion, or some other phase of the work which might require modification of the budget. I should make the suggestion, direct or implied, that I felt that the members of the committee who are charged with making appropriations to agencies might like to know how the money might have to be spent in the future. I believe the budget committee would rather have this material from time to time, when it could be readily assimilated, than concentrated into one mass at budget-making time. These bulletins could be mimeographed or copied with a ditto machine at very low expense. Charts showing the relationship which I desired to exhibit could easily be prepared in the same way along with the statements. This same material obviously could be sent to my board, so that it would be doubly useful.
I would also send to the members of the budget committee any printed matter which my institution prepared during the course of the month, and would include typical clippings of newspaper stories and editorials about my work. This should be done not merely because of the direct educational value of this material to the members of the budget committee, but also because they would get the impression that many people were reading about my agency and presumably thinking well of it. Such a program of direct mail advertising to members of the budget committee should aid tremendously in securing understanding of my agency's problems and would help to get the largest possible appropriation for it.
In addition to mailing material to the members of the budget committee, I should attempt at least once a year to get the members of the committee to visit my agency. They might, for example, be invited to take lunch or have tea at the institution. An invitation should be formally sent by the president. Members of the board should be detailed with their automobiles to bring members of the budget committee to the meeting. Some of the other board members should be present as hosts and hostesses. After the members of the budget committee had arrived at the institution, a competent member of the board, or myself, if I felt more competent to do so, should talk about the history of the institution and describe the special needs which required attention. Afterward, the members of the budget committee should be taken on a tour of inspection of the institution and be shown in detail those matters which required consideration in the next budget; such, for example, as needed repairs, additions to equipment, and needs for special workers. Each member of the budget committee should be accompanied by a board member or competent staff member who would answer all questions. At the luncheon or tea which preceded or followed the inspection, each budget committee member should be sandwiched between well-informed board members or staff members. When the affair was over, I should see that those members of the budget committee who did not
have their own automobiles were safely trundled to their own homes or places of business by board members.
If I ran a home finding agency with only an office, I should still get the budget committee out to see it in action. In addition to inviting the budget committee members to a special visit to the agency, I would see that they were invited during the year to such affairs as Christmas parties, annual meetings, and other events of unusual interest and importance. I believe that by this process of getting members of the budget committee personally familiar with the work, they would acquire a far more vivid sense of its needs and possibilities than otherwise would be the case.
The mailing of material to budget committee members and the inspection of the agency would be a double prelude to the presentation of the budget to the committee. I should take pains to have the budget very carefully planned and would make sure that it presented only actual and reasonable needs. My good intention would be shown by cutting former expenditures where cuts were possible and by proposing increases only where necessary. I should, of course, be careful to give full and precise explanation, in figures and charts, of the reason for every proposed increase in expenditure or decrease in income.
The budget would be prepared exactly as I thought it ought to be granted, rather than with leeway for a prospective cut. A budget committee soon learns which organizations expect to get cuts, and is likely to make an even greater cut than the organization thinks may be made. On the other hand, a well-prepared budget, adequately presented, will quite often go through the budget committee as presented, without change.
Arrangements should be made for the effective display, with a stereopticon or an easel, of the charts and photographs which had been prepared. In this way I could show the significant relationships in the budget proposals, both as to finances and as to service. I would have the main proposals typed and carbon copies available for distribution to members of the budget committee. Of final importance would be a good, businesslike speaker who would present briefly and vividly the various proposals on behalf of the organization. This speaker should be one who knows thoroughly the work of the agency and the details of the budget, and should be able to answer any questions which may be asked. I believe that with a budget thus prepared and presented I could more nearly secure from the budget committee the allowance my agency needed than by any other means.
Another matter of importance is the attitude of the organization toward the budget committee. I should let the facts speak for themselves in the presentation of the proposals for the budget. I should put the decision squarely on the budget committee, explaining what would be sacrificed, if cuts were made, in terms of human service. I should say in effect: "I leave this in your hands, believing that you will give the maximum amount which you have available. We