Nonprofit Budget Tips: How to Stretch Your Dollars Further
Posted Thursday, March 27th, 2014 by Sterling Volunteers Staff
Image courtesy of ThreeOak via stock.xchng
The recession may be over for some industries, but its effects are still visible within the service sector. Many organizations now operate with tighter budgets and more limited resources, all while working to provide additional services.
It’s critical for organizations to maximize their budgets and decrease spending in order to continue making an impact within their communities and retain paid staff. The challenge is to maximize resources with current funding without compromising the quality of programs.
Five Nonprofit Budget Tips
Taking inventory of your current resources while implementing a few simple changes can help your organization trim costs and invest in the areas that will have the biggest long-term impact. Here are some examples of ways to maximize your nonprofit budget:
1. Lower Technology Costs
The Houston Business Journal recently shared advice on how nonprofits can lower IT and technology costs. As an example, TechSoup offers discounted access to tech products from more than 45 donor partners like Adobe and Microsoft, as well as a variety of hardware solutions to organizations that qualify. Many IT firms offer discounts for nonprofits, and there are a number of grants available to help fund technology.
2. Utilize Your Board of Directors
Your board is made up of people who are already dedicated to your organization and bring with them connections and expertise. Don’t be afraid to tap into this valuable resource. Discuss your needs with your board and see what connections, assets and ideas they can bring to the table. This is a case where it truly doesn’t hurt to ask.
3. Create Partnerships
Need resources for a campaign or event? Partnering with other organizations for events and specific initiatives can provide opportunities for additional funding, assets, and relationships that you may not have access to on your own. Seek mutually beneficial arrangements, such as asking local businesses to sponsor one of your programs or events. Forming partnerships with similar organizations around a common goal is another way to develop invaluable connections and create impact — all while sharing cost.
4. Go Digital
Simply limiting the amount of printing and paper your organization uses can greatly reduce expenses. Use free tools like MailChimp to communicate events and announcements, and store documents in Evernote instead of printing to help decrease paper and postage costs.
5. Volunteer Screening: Spend Money to Save Money
Organizations sometimes think of volunteer screening as an unnecessary expense. They know their volunteers well or maintain that they never leave them alone. In reality, however, screening volunteers saves your organization money. How? It protects your assets and reputation, decreases potential liability, and can even increase volunteer retention.
An Effective Budget Doesn’t Have to Result in Compromised Quality.
By making better use of technology, streamlining your processes, and tapping into your network, your organization can better use current funding and focus on making an even greater impact through service.
Tom Klein founded Sterling Volunteers and leads their mission to propel service organizations and nonprofits by empowering volunteers. Connect with Tom on LinkedIn or Google+.