ANOTHER SEMINAR FOR NONPROFITS
Mark your calendar to join other NPO leaders at the NWA Non-profit Center at St. Mary’s in Rogers on Thursday, August 13 from 9 AM until 3 PM. The seminar is entitled “Surviving Tough Economic Times.” It is an Arkansas Support Network program. The cost is $80 and includes lunch and a follow up consultation. Join us!
If we missed the June 25 Gardner & Associates workshop, check out this Arkansas Support Network session. Keith Vire will be the principal trainer. Walt and Paul will be presenting the keynote portion with the help of Amy Smith, Jeannette Balleza and Brad Lawless. We will have new and timely material.
GOOD NEWS! THREE SINGLE PARENT SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS MERGE
Jody Dilday announced that the Single Parent Scholarship organizations for Washington, Carroll and Madison Counties are now merged into the Single Parent Scholarship Fund (SPSF) of Northwest Arkansas. All three groups are administered through the SPSF Washington County office and supported by its staff.
The merger was the outgrowth of strategic planning focused on creating a more effective and efficient operations model among groups with a similar mission. Planning led to conversation with the two smaller affiliates and that led to an agreement to work as one.
Jody notes that a driving factor in this consolidation was the increased effectiveness and efficiency of backroom operations and better use of staff and technology to increase available funding for scholarships.
The merger has gained increased funding support from foundations that support the merger concept. The collaboration has also enhanced services to all parties – scholarship recipients, donors and volunteers.
SPSFNWA finds its new model has nine direct benefits:
1. The merged mission is more appealing to United Way and other foundations.
2. Scholarship processing has been streamlined.
3. Outreach and public relations is enhanced and focused.
4. The economy of scale of the new operations saves on expenses.
5. SPSFNWA staff is more effectively utilized.
6. Single parents in rural areas have local contacts and regular office hours.
7. The mission has been expanded with a single focus, not three.
8. The three boards were merged into one making better use of board members’ time and talents.
9. Legal, filing and auditing expenses are reduced to a Single filing.
MAKE SURE THAT WE PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
For the last three months the Gardner Report has focused on encouraging Nonprofit Organizations (NPOs) to consider cooperation, collaboration or consolidation to meet the challenges of our current economy.
There are a number of NPOs that are finding creative ways to cut expenses, increase efficiency and enhance their impact. Share your ideas with us at www.whygardner.com.
In Report #5 Paul Gardner cited the June 18 Journal of Philanthropy article projecting NPO recovery from the economic downturn will lag behind consumer spending by at least 15 months. The Journal predicts that NPOs will not see a return to improved giving until at least 2012. The bad news in the Journal is that social services NPOs are the hardest hit. They report losing an average of 15.9% of their 2008 giving. This stems from the pull back by both individuals and foundations drawing back on their support because of decreased earnings.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. When was the last time my NPO reviewed its utility and service contracts?
Never Two-three years ago Last year
2. Do we have a dedicated database management system?
If so, what do we use?
3. Do we have automated bookkeeping software (like QuickBooks)?
If so, could we share our bookkeeping with another NPO?
4. Do we do direct mails to our members or supporters?
If so, do we use a mail house?
Do we have a nonprofit bulk rate permit from the Post Office?
5. Do we send monthly newsletters or enewsletters?
6. Have we ever considered using Constant Contact, Convio or other provider to manage our enewsletter mailings?
7. Have we ever considered bulk purchasing office and cleaning supplies with one or more NPOs?
8. Have we ever considered sharing backroom operations (payroll, bookkeeping, database management, list management or webservice) with another NPO?
9. Have we considered pooling our NPO’s endowment funds to get a higher return?
10. Could our NPO get a better return on a fundraising event or campaign by collaborating with another NPO?
If you answered yes more than twice, consider opening discussions with a friendly NPO to find ways to become more effective and efficient. Ask yourself to name two NPOs that share a mission or philosophy. You may be opening new doors and windows.