How Can I Learn More?
Mark Your Calendars for Thursday, June 25th, at 11:30 a.m. in the Chicago Room (#220) at The Jones Center on Emma Street in Springdale!
Roy Clinton, Executive Director of the Jones Trust, will host a free, 90-minute Gardner & Associates workshop on “Surviving in a Challenging Economy” at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale. Paul Gardner and Walt Eilers will share successes and strategies that our clients have employed to drive savings to their bottom line. Following the workshop Paul and Walt will be available for individual consultations.
Each NPO attending the June 25 workshop will receive a G&A coupon for 4 hours of phone or onsite consulting (a $1,000 value) to use in the 30 days following the workshop.
In the May Gardner Report we noted a projection that the economy would force a number of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) across the country to close. In the past two weeks, Northwest Arkansas newspaper stories chronicled the closing of two longstanding and respected NPOs - YouthCan and Human EQ (formerly JCCA).
Challenging times give NPOs an opportunity to step back, assess and realign functions or strategies. Gardner & Associates (G&A) encourages our clients to consider five internal reviews that may lead to savings, cooperation, collaboration or consolidation:
1. When was the last time your checked your contracts?
Review your telephone/cell phone, Internet, utilities, copier rental, insurance, cable or bank card contracts to make sure you are paying only for the services that you need today. G&A saved $120 monthly by eliminating services for which we were billed, but that we did not use. How much could you save?
2. Is group purchasing of operational staples with other NPOs an option?
Every office uses supplies. Bulk purchase from a local office supply store, cartridge recycler, Sam’s Club or Office Depot is less expensive. They may even deliver or pull stock to save you time. Explore a regular, group purchase of office staples - paper, office supplies, software and printing cartridges. Talk with other NPOs in your building or with whom you share a mission. Also, consider working with national groups such as TechSoup for discounts of equipment or software. While you are checking out bulk purchasing also consider cleaning supplies and paper goods.
3. Could you share backroom operations?
Every NPO needs to get work done. Backroom operations are those essential functions that the public never sees. Everyone needs a webmaster, web server, accountant, auditor, payroll/accounts payable, donations records, list and database management systems and managers. Explore with other NPOs the options to coordinate or combine your backroom operations and share the cost.
Take this idea one step further. Can you enhance your communications by sharing? Coordinate or combine your printing, mailing and phone answering services.
4. Could you get a better net return by collaborating on your fundraising?
Every NPO has events, galas and fundraisers. You also do sponsorship, membership and fundraising appeals. How much more effective and efficient could your NPO be in its staff and volunteer time usage, expense controls, net return and attendance if you did a joint event or campaign with a partner? The United Way model shows us that donors respond positively to a shared appeal.
Consider the Dickson Street Underground collaboration. Weekly the businesses up and down Dickson Street share their entertainment, menus and events/promotions in a single DSU Constant Contact email - informative, effective and efficient marketing.
5. How can we make more money on our money?
A fifth point that ties to #4 on fundraising is that collaboration could occur among NPOs in the investment of endowments, meaning that organizations with small endowments could “pool” those funds and have a combined larger amount to invest which could get them a better return and a reduced investment fee charge. That is especially important today with weakened portfolios.