From the Decision-Maker’s Perspective
- The best budgets are always tied to the best spending plans. Instead of just asking for more, budget presentations must tie performance and justification to requests for increases.
- Decision makers look for the level of production per unit. When an increase is granted, how will the additional dollars translate into improvements? If additional staffing dollars are granted, how will the services be improved? Make sure that your budgeting authority can see, in real-world terms, how the money improves the work.
- In public library systems, budget analysis needs to be weighted to reflect how dollars will make the most impact in the places that are most in need. Not all things are equal and not all things are fair; understand that the delivery of the dollars need to be weighted with demographics in mind.
- The library world can sometimes be insular. Good budget directors will work with executive librarians out to ensure that a budget is responsive to constituents.
- Is the budget proposal balanced? The proposal for the year will reflect an increase, a decrease, or a status quo proposal - the librarian needs to be able to discuss the cause of any changes with the budgeting authority.
- Be ready to discuss changes both within the library and outside influences that may be driving changes in budget proposals.
- Decision makers will be most likely to approve budget proposals that are able to show balance between financing, spending, and performance.