It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to funding. Already we are into the second week of the last quarter of the financial year and the perennial question looms. Will we be able to secure enough money to carry on for another year?
Not all of my income comes from funders but for CyberNorth it does, a mixture of private and public sector. Clearly without money we can do very little, though I could continue to do my stuff for the love of it. Simple things, such as getting on a train to London or paying for a venue for an event would be very hard to justify from my own cash, however much I support the cause.
Of course it is the same for any business. Focus must always be maintained on income to ensure that all outgoings are covered yet funding and income have a different heartbeat. Funding tends to be agreed over a specific time scale while income tends to be much more regular. At least that is how I think about it.
And therein lies the rub, time sent on securing funding detracts from the very thing that you set out to do. Rather than being focussed on the delivery and development of, in my case a cyber security cluster, our time becomes overtaken by the search for money. It also means that money talks. Whoever has money then gets to influence what you are trying to do. True altruism is very rare and those who invest, whether in the private or public sector, are looking for some return or outcomes.
This is the way of the world yet a balance needs to be struck between delivering something that meets the needs of the funders yet delivers the original objectives. The fewer sources of income you have then the easier it is to secure (or not) yet more difficult to separate your objectives from those of the funders. The more sources of funding you have then, while it is more difficult to secure, it is easier to plough your own furrow.
Can anyone spare any loose change?