How to get a yes for out of cycle funding requests
The most important thing to note is not so much the techniques for getting funding – which might or might not interest you – but the way she thought about her communication strategy to engage the different stakeholders.
Read on to learn how she did it …
Getting out-of-cycle funding for new projects can be difficult, particularly if they won’t immediately add to your bottom line.
Elizabeth, a project manager with a large Australian finance house, recently proved how fully understanding each of your gatekeeper’s concerns and pitching them individually at their point of interest (not yours) increases your chances of getting the funding you need.
Upon receiving a ‘request’ from the industry regulator to improve the way her business was reporting on some of its activities, Elizabeth’s first reaction was to approach the finance team for the $10 million she needed to complete the work.
However, she realised that finance may well say ‘no’ as her division had a heavy balance sheet and a habit of running a budget surplus.
To solve this, she used three storylines to negotiate her way through a tailored, four-step communication strategy to manage the different stakeholder agendas.
Here are the steps she took:
Step 1: Mapped out the stories for her key stakeholders
First, Elizabeth worked with a colleague to map out the general architecture for the stories she needed to take to the leadership team and to Finance.
Step 2: Prepared a story about her communication strategy for her boss
Once these were bedded down – hand written on one A4 page – she prepared a story for her manager to gain his approval of both her strategy and the general content of her presentations to both audiences. The stories and a copy of her paper to the leadership team are available for download below.
It was a short meeting: In 10 minutes he agreed with her strategies and her presentation storylines and also to support her approach among the other leaders.
Step 3: Gained leadership team agreement
Once this was agreed, she arranged a slot in the next leadership team meeting to discuss the budget prioritisation that was needed. This meeting was predictably difficult with team leaders not wanting to give up their budgets, however with quite some negotiation she extracted $2 million seed funding for the project.
She then tweaked the Finance storyline to add in the details stemming from the leadership team meeting.
Step 4: Gained Finance team agreement
Finance was predictably reluctant to part with such a large sum and agreed to allow her to start the projects by running them in deficit, effectively over riding the leadership team’s protection of their budget numbers.
So there you go. That's how she did it.
I hope that helps. More next week.