Sunday, January 11, 2009

10 Ways for Nonprofits to Cut Costs

Nonprofit World published an article on Ways to Cut Costs. We have adapted some of those suggestions based on the work of Maver Management Group with a number of ministries in the San Francisco Bay Area.:

1. Make maximum use of your Board of Directors.
Make sure that your Board helps you raise money and also save it. Ask them to make use of their own contacts to find individuals and businesses that may be willing to donate the goods and services you need or to be sponsors for your projects and events.

2. Make extended use of your volunteers.
You provide them with an opportunity for significance in their lives. Let them enjoy that to the maximum. This will mean allowing them to go beyond just the simple tasks that they might ordinarily do to reach out to others.

3. Piggyback with local businesses.
Ask businesses in your community if you can include your fundraising appeals in their mailings. It gives them a chance to do some good and provides your organization with leverage and cost savings for your fundraising.

4. Reduce cost of mailers.
The paper you use in your mailings can represent up to 30% of the cost of your print job. Switch to inexpensive paper. Use lower-weight paper to reduce your postage costs. Bundle with other non profits to take advantage of multiple lists and combinations.

5. Adopt teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration approaches.
You can team up with other organizations to buy supplies and even insurance. You might decide to share office space and equipment. You can hold joint meetings and programs.

6. Seek out low-cost marketing and public-relations techniques.
Write letters to the editor or provide guest columns on important issues that your organization addresses. Find local ad agencies to see if they will create public service announcements for you.

7. Seek out donation of materials that you need.
Companies are cutting back and there are surplus items that can directly offset many of your expenditures.

8. Save money on training new people.
Use your volunteers and their connections. Use videotapes, computer based training programs, books, and a personal mentor to cut down on training costs. Most people enjoy self-paced learning and they will get a lot from a mentor assigned to help them.

9. Save energy.
Set back temperatures during times when your facility is unoccupied. Turn off lights and equipment when not in use. Install more efficient lighting. Indoctrinate employees with the importance of saving energy. Monitor costs and let everyone know how much is being saved.

10. Audit the necessity of every activity your organization does.
What would happen if you stopped doing it? Does the reason you started that activity still make sense? Can someone else perform that activity at less cost?

Non profit companies face a different set of circumstances and often rely on help from the outside. If you need help in identifying opportunities within your company on how to impact your bottom line through improved productivity or cost cutting, contact us.



John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management

View John Maver's profile on LinkedIn

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