In light of current economic standing, nonprofits find new ways to boost budget

May 10, 2011

Jacqueline Delaney


With the current state of the economy, everyone is tightening their belts. From large corporations to privately owned small business to the average Joe next door, the gripping effect of the downturn in our economy can be felt far and wide. It’s no secret that businesses have cut back as Americans are spending less and the loss of jobs and a sense of security set the population at unease. In times like these it is easy for our attention to shift solely on ourselves and forget about those around us that are in need of help. On the contrary, during these tough economic times we must continue to help community members while also helping ourselves.

Large budget cuts for the state of California mean that funding for valuable organizations is in danger. In San Luis Obispo county alone there are almost 2,000 nonprofit organizations listed. For many of these organizations a reduced budget allocation can threaten its entire existence.

In light of this, many nonprofits are coming up with creative new ways to create revenue and enhance what may be slim budgets. One such organization is OPTIONS Family of Services, a local nonprofit based out of Morro Bay. For six years OPTIONS has held the OPTIONS Music Festival in Avila Beach. Headliners include greats like ZZ Top, Jackson Browne, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash; this year will be no exception as Sheryl Crow is set to take the stage.

Yet with all the excitement surrounding such an event it can be easy to forget the purpose and deeper meaning behind it. The goal of the concert is two-fold, it serves as a major fundraiser for OPTIONS while also getting the community involved and giving them a chance to see firsthand the wonderful services that OPTIONS provides to those in need.

OPTIONS was founded in 1984 by Mike Mamot, whose previous experience as a Special Education teacher gave him a deeper knowledge and understanding of those with special needs. It became a dream of his to start a place where those with special needs could grow and flourish in a caring, supportive environment. That dream became a realization when OPTIONS was founded in 1984, and its core principle has remained unchanged through all the years – with respect and support, people with disabilities can achieve their goals of living and working independently as full citizens of their communities.

What once began as a group home for special needs adolescents twenty-five years ago, has since grown into a larger family of services offering residential living, transitional living, and supported living services as well vocational services and community integration services. It can be argued that the good that OPTIONS does for our local community cannot be accurately measured – OPTIONS has touched the lives of hundreds of special needs adults as well as their families.

Without OPTIONS there would be numerous families in our local community without the resources to care for their own. An organization like this doesn’t just do good for one individual, it changes the lives of many whether it’s the special needs adults themselves, or their family, or the professionals that care for them on a daily basis. OPTIONS itself is a special organization, one that must not be ignored by the community.

It is important that organizations like this continue to receive the funding they not only need but deserve. OPTIONS provides a beacon of light for those in our community who might not have the resources available otherwise. Now more than ever is the need for community support and involvement, and what better way to do so than through the OPTIONS Music Festival in Avila Beach. Not only is it guaranteed to be a great time, but it will help out a truly great cause.
It will be the support of the community that really sets this year apart from the previous festivals. OPTIONS is an amazing organization that does more than just provide services to those in need, it truly changes lives.

For more information: OPTIONS Family of Services and   Options Music Festival

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Organizations such as OPTIONS save the state money by helping people move out of the high price facilities to their own home.

This guy knows what’s up.

Unlike some of those other people responding.

Organizations such as OPTIONS saves the state money by moving individuals out of high price facilities and putting them into their own homes so they can live independently.

No one ever questioned the mission of Options Family of Services and while it’s nice to hear from the employees of the charity, quick, 1-line criticisms that completely miss the point do not look good.

I’m sure your work with the traumatic brain injuries is noble and rewarding, but this discussion was on funding (misleading, the title leads the reader to think ALL nonprofits, but your PR person really only is here pushing Options’ 6th annual music festival).

What would have been better, and more acceptable for all involved, would have been a nice Op-Ed on Options, their annual music festival, and the people you guys help. This would not be misleading at all, and perhaps even garner some support directly! (Not sure if CalCoast allows this, as a policy or not).

Still, I hope the concert on May 22nd is successful. I just think netbus’ (Justin McIntire’s alter ego?) posts did not add much. Justin’s did (under justinm), however, add something.

I understand the shortfalls that nonprofits are dealing with as a board member of a local PTA; but I am confused as to how a music festival on it’s 6th year is a “new way” to boost the budget? In my opinion the article is indeed well written, but seems more like a plug for OPTIONS than an account of what new fundraising options they are utilizing.

We’ll know which non-profits deserve to survive when the amount of private giving provides them enough money to survive. If they need government assistance to keep the doors open, they need to close. It’s our responsibility to provide “charity,” (that’s private giving) not our responsibility to vote to force others to provide charity (government funding).

Pithy and concise! I love it!

I am glad that alternatives to government largess are being sought. This is how charity should work. Unfortunately, many “non profits” exist to profit a few people on government grants. I’ve been involved with local and international charities (only ones that give 100% of every donation, and no one is paid for their time and efforts), and it is tough, I know.

When you said:

Large budget cuts for the state of California mean that funding for valuable organizations is in danger. In San Luis Obispo county alone there are almost 2,000 nonprofit organizations listed. For many of these organizations a reduced budget allocation can threaten its entire existence.

That about sums it all up. Two thousand NPO’s in just SLO county? Seriously? That is a lot. I suppose Sunny Acres is not one of them, though, huh? Any nonprofit that is so dependent on on the state should seriously reconsider its mission, if not its very existence.

Also, it is quite common for the folks to hear the “we’re too important to cut funding” bit – I’ve heard nothing but that from non-profits and state agencies for the last couple of years when we all realized just how BROKE the state and federal governments are (not to mention the locals). The federal government just prints or digitizes their debts away, the states and localities cannot.

I do not mean to sound crass, but belt-tightening must be across the board, with NO sacred cows. I do hope more people (especially under-employed or unemployed) will volunteer more time if they are able, so there will be some silver lining in this economy for the worthy causes.

Time, talents and resources. We’re obviously in an environment that is emphasizing time & talent over resources.