With all that is taking place in our society, security enhancements are needed now more than ever. People are rapidly increasing their awareness of their own personal security, and asking for increased safety infrastructure within the spaces they frequent. Security is not the mission focus for most organizations; it is however foundational to the ability for the mission to be accomplished. If our schools are providing a safe environment, we are serving our students education well. If our religious facilities and community spaces are adequately addressing security, the environment is adding to the services we provide, not detracting. For leaders in charge of safety and security, proving the need for improvements is not the toughest task.
The toughest task: finding funding.
For most organizations, budgets will be tight and the competition for allocations fierce. Their needs tend to outweigh the resources, and their priorities are clearly defined by how they use their resources. And the competition for how their resources are allocated brings about improved, more intentional decisions which necessarily benefit the organization.OK, but what happens when another priority trumps security in the budget? Should we have to tolerate a deficiency in safety and security until the next fiscal year?
No. Although all organizations are unique, there are some creative solutions that provide a path to enhancing their security sooner. Of course, not all will apply to your situation, in your organization, yet maybe a creative idea will result from the successes from other sectors.
Although many people consider grants “free” money, the application process can take a great deal of effort (not so “free”), and often they either don’t materialize or come through as partial awards. Grants are wonderful when you get them, yet evaluating the effort vs. reward expectations is a significant consideration. Based on the unpredictability of grants, we are passing over this option as too much wishful hoping for accomplishing security goals. Hope is not a plan, and funding security needs a secure plan.
Delayed Maintenance: One public school superintendent concluded that delaying the replacement of carpet or the sealcoating of parking lots for one year was enough to fund their needed security enhancements. Note the maintenance was only DELAYED one year, not eliminated. And the long-term safety and security of the staff and students was increased immediately. Looking to alternative lines in the budget with reasonable logic is worth the effort.
Lease-to-Own: If the upfront cost is the hardest nut to crack, a Lease-to-Own option may be right for your organization. BluePoint recently provided a lease-to-own option to a client that took an upfront cost of $50,000 and turned it into a monthly payment of $935 for 60 months with the client having full ownership at the end. Certainly, there is interest paid, still, for this client, the immediate enhancement in security with a minimal impact to the operating budget was well worth the interest.
Security User Fee: This is a common option among schools, both private and public. For a 900-student school needing to make $40k in enhancements, a one-time fee of $45 per student covers the cost. Our schools have rightly concluded that parents are willing to support a one-time $45 fee to protect their kids. Some schools have taken it one step further and spread the cost over 5 years - $9 per year per student – a nominal cost to protect our children and educators. The value equation can be straight forward and convicting.
Fund Raisers: The majority of not-for-profit organizations hold fund raisers for specific needs. Raising funds for operations can be difficult, yet people rally around a specific project especially one which has a tangible, long term benefit such as increased security. One religious organization held a fund raiser and in one night raised the funds necessary for their entire security enhancement plans. Their facility is now safer without touching their operations budget. Some keys to their success: 1) they did their research - and knew exactly what improvements they needed, why it solved their concerns, and how much it cost. People like to support well thought out plans. 2) They communicated the value proposition very well - the costs are $X, but the increased safety in an emergency is priceless. Raising funds for security will take effort, but many times it is easier than you think.
Phased Installation: Although less than ideal, having a defined plan to install the complete solution over a few years may be a great solution for your organization. The keys to success with this idea is 1) make sure there are tangible safety benefits in the first year and increasing each year. 2) The solution needs to have the flexibility and expandability to be cost effective in a phased installation. And 3) ideally, it needs to be completed in 2-4 years. Longer than this proves to be overly burdensome to the organization.
Finding security enhancement funding requires creative thinking and dedication. The safety and security of the people in our spaces is far too important to be pushed aside. BluePoint is not just selling a solution; we are dedicated to saving lives. If we can help you think through your options for funding the security enhancement of your facility, or if you have questions about our solution. Please contact us.