The Sheridan Group has decades of experience identifying, protecting and growing federal funding streams for our client partners.
We begin by mapping our client’s legislative assets and targets, then work hand-in-hand with them through the full Budget and Appropriations process to influence funding levels at each important inflection point. We utilize our strong relationships with key policymakers and our thorough knowledge of the budget process to provide our clients with the tools necessary to increase political and financial support for their work.
Our Budget and Appropriations work is conducted on the twenty-four month budget cycle, which includes direct engagement with the Administration as budget priorities are being developed, working with the House and Senate Budget Committees to advocate for the highest possible overall funding levels, and then targeting members on the Appropriations Committees as the spending bills are being considered and approved by Congress.
Securing and maintaining federal dollars for key programs is often a top priority for organizations, yet competition for funds is fierce. We stand ready to help your organization go into battle.
Budget & Appropriations Case Study
Benetech is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the explicit goal of using the power of technology to serve humanity. Benetech develops “software for social good” and focuses on helping people through targeted program areas, including human rights and global literacy.
The Sheridan Group first began working with Benetech in 2008 to help craft a government relations strategy for one of their products, Bookshare. Bookshare is an online library of accessible books designed for individuals with print disabilities, such as blindness, low vision and dyslexia. Bookshare’s organizational mission is to advance accessibility to a point such that the world doesn’t need Bookshare because publishers develop materials for print disabled students at the same rate at which they publish materials for the general population. To achieve this goal, Benetech needed resources to scale Bookshare. After competing for and winning a large competitive award from the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs in 2007, which had until then been an earmark, competitors were quick to build opposition against Benetech and paint the picture that Benetech was a money-making contract bandit. The Sheridan Group provided the strategy, counsel and advocacy support to build key congressional and agency relationships, develop necessary external allies and neutralize opposition to Bookshare.
The Sheridan Group identified opposition on the Hill; developed a broad-based champion building program for Capitol Hill, which consisted of local site visits, regular meetings with Members and congressional staff, events for policymakers, and regular meetings with the White House and the Department of Education; tracked relevant funding opportunities, including appropriations bills; and helped facilitate partnerships for Benetech in the publishing industry.
After a multi-year champion building process on Capitol Hill, and within the Department of Education and the administration, Bookshare successfully competed for the largest award given by the Department of Ed: $32 million over five years. With this award and two subsequent competitive awards, Benetech has increased its membership to over 620,000 students and boasts a collection of over 700,000 titles. Today, TSG and Benetech are continuing to pursue an appropriations strategy on Capitol Hill and explore resources to allow Bookshare to continue serving higher education and vocational education students and expand its outreach to the hardest to reach K-12 students.