We’ve spent the last few blog posts discussing new, creative events your county Farm Bureau can put into its 2016 Program of Work (POW). Now, let’s talk about how to pay for all of your new events and ideas.

For some counties, funding their POW is less of an issue. But for counties with a smaller membership base, tight budgets often limit the amount of work you’re able to accomplish each year.

Farm Bureau members are creative, ambitious, and energetic people and we don’t want your events stifled by a small budget. So, here are a few strategies to pad the budget and keep the creative juices flowing!

Four Farm Bureau funding sources:

  1. [caption id="attachment_7850" align="alignright" width="300"] County Farm Bureaus earn Farm Bureau Bucks for excellence awards at our Annual Convention in November.[/caption]

    County Program Grant: This fund has $15,000 of grant monies available to those who apply. A county Farm Bureau can apply for any amount (up to $15,000) they need to help pay for their event. The MFBF Board of Directors reviews the grant applications and determines whether to fund the entire request, a portion, or none at all. A hint: the more innovative, creative, and different the idea is the better your odds are. Contact your Regional Manager to get a copy of the application.

  2. Mini-Grants: $500 dollar grants available through the Montana Farm Bureau Foundation. County Farm Bureaus and youth organizations like 4-H Clubs and FFA Chapters are encouraged to apply also. The grant and criteria are available here.

  3. Farm Bureau Bucks: Each year, county Farm Bureaus are encouraged to complete the Awards for Excellence application. The winning county in each category receives $200 in Farm Bureau Bucks. This money can be used at the county’s discretion and is most often used to help with cost of mailings and advertisement for events. Get a jump on this year’s application, and use it to help plan your POW.

  4. Fundraising: It’s OK for a county Farm Bureau to raise funds for your projects! Many already do. If you have a local scholarship fund, try holding a raffle or silent auction at your annual meeting to raise money. Not only do you support local students, but this frees up more of your budget to use on other events and programs. If you host a concert during your county fair, sell tickets. Utilize our member benefit providers and ask them to donate or sponsor the event. Or, cohost the event with another local organization and share the costs.

Putting the Pieces Together

Creating a Program of Work is the first step in taking your county Farm Bureau to the next level. An organized plan allows county leaders to make the most of the available resources and volunteers.

Incorporating new, innovative ideas creates interest among your members and communities and creates demand for more programs and events — the perfect snowball effect! The funding sources outlined here are the icing on the cake and the last piece of the puzzle needed to light a fire under your county Farm Bureau.

For more information or to begin planning your POW now, contact your Regional Manager.