3 Sources of Found-Funding for Parks and Recreation

Devin Meister

March 31, 2022

Funding. It’s a perennial, universal issue facing parks and recreation departments everywhere – and there will never be enough. That’s why we are all so conscious of costs and resources. It’s been said that you can’t continuously cut your way to growth.

However, you can re-examine parts of your operations to see if improvements or changes could lead to more savings or even revenue for your organization. Just like loose change in the sofa cushions or a twenty-dollar bill found next fall in a winter coat, these “found” sources are just sitting there. Unlike those examples, they can add up to real, repeatable, and sustainable additions to your organization’s budget.

1. Pass on Digital Payment Service Fees

Throughout our everyday lives, we’ve been accustomed to paying for access and usage. From streaming services to park passes to parking, we, the public, understand that there are costs. So why are parks and recreation departments picking up the costs of their patrons’ digital payments? You might think that what you’re giving away is negligible, or that there isn’t any other way. The truth is that there is more than one way to address the service fees of digital payments and when you break down the actual costs, it adds up much quicker than you think. One department was able to save more than $3,000 per month in service fees – $36,000 a year. Watch a quick video to see how.

Check out these frequently asked questions to see if it’s right for you:

2. Detailed Scheduling and Maintenance

Do you know – really know – what it takes to complete your day-to-day operations? Do you have an accurate forecast of your maintenance and machinery replacement needs? What about general inventories? If you don’t, then it’s likely that you’re leaking resources. Today’s technology provides critical insight and data to help you best understand your actual operations and needs. From costs for work, projects completed, day-to-day operations, actual time vs estimated time, materials, vendors, stocked items and more, with reminders to ensure it gets done. For example, how much time and resources did you spend on leaf pickup last fall? Are there alternatives like mulching in place in some instances and what would that save? With a clearer picture, you’ll know, accurately predict, and be able to do more for your community.

Learn more about maintenance best practices:

3. Improve Your Contracts

One size does not fit all – ever – but especially when it comes to contracts. What happens when it doesn’t fit almost always means that your organization is not assigning the appropriate value to your property and services. While the mission is to serve the community, your patrons also understand there are costs associated and expect to pay. What they don’t want is to feel like prices are just made up on the spot and that they’re not getting value for what they pay. For example, creating the ability to bundle facility reservations and rental items commonly used in that facility results in an easy-to-manage contract and makes patrons aware of services that they might not know you offered. These detailed contract solutions are more accessible and flexible than you might think and help to build consumer confidence while ensuring that your organization is compensated accurately.

Learn more about contract best practices:

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

While a dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to, never mind a penny, the statement holds. You’ve always been great stewards of your organization, without sacrificing services. Taking a deeper look at your operations for unseen or new opportunities to save can enable you to continue providing those services and meeting member expectations.