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Due to their not-for-profit nature, nonprofit organizations sometimes lack the funds they need to help their beneficiaries. In times like these, nonprofits must stretch their funds to support their purpose and show that donors’ contributions are being used efficiently.
So how do you make your money last longer as a nonprofit organization? Keep reading to learn about seven ways you can start saving money today!
1. Evaluate your banking relationship.
Your nonprofit deserves a business banker who is responsive and looks out for you. Ideally, they will review your accounts with you annually to determine if you’re getting the most out of your banking experience. Use this time to learn if they have new account types or services that would help you and evaluate if you are paying for a service that you no longer need.
Consider different ways to earn money through your savings. When interest rates are strong, you may be able to negotiate rates for your savings accounts, especially if you are willing to change banks. Maintain a strategic balance in your checking account, leaving the rest in savings. You could also consider a “sweep” account that automatically transfers funds between checking and savings to maximize your savings balance.
Ask for fees to be waived if you make a one-time mistake. Banks often forgive a late credit card payment or requests for old statements. We also suggest opting in for electronic banking so you can always keep an eye on your accounts.
2. Earn on your spending.
Another cost-saving option is to sign up for a credit card that allows you to earn benefits. Many banks will offer 1% cashback to their customers on their credit cards. By choosing these credit card options, you’ll be able to earn money back on your purchases, reducing the burden of any necessary costs.
When selecting a card, find one that does not require a guarantor and will allow individual cards for each staff member. While many major credit card companies don’t offer cards without a business owner, with thorough research, you can find an option that works for your nonprofit.
3. Avoid state sales tax.
Your state may offer a tax-exempt certificate to give to vendors as proof that they should not charge tax. Most major retailers and service providers offer tax-exempt programs that will either automatically suppress taxes or refund taxes on your nonprofit’s invoice. It may be worth reviewing your major expenses to request a refund on taxes paid this year. Keep in mind, however, that some taxes are not waivable, such as hotel taxes.
4. Take advantage of discounts.
Always ask retailers and service providers if they offer a nonprofit discount—very often, they will. If they don’t, they may help you get the best rate to stay within your budget. TechSoup is a fantastic resource for discounted software like Microsoft and Adobe Suites.
Some organizations even allow nonprofits to use their offerings for free. For example, Google offers qualifying nonprofit organizations up to $10,000 monthly in free advertising through Google Ad Grants.
5. Use rewards programs.
In your personal life, you may already be using customer rewards programs. However, did you know that they are available to nonprofits as well? Hotels, airlines, gas stations, grocery stores, office supply stores, and more often allow you to accumulate rewards to redeem later. Some even have special programs to get business-level rewards. Plus, you can earn individual-level rewards.
6. Request in-kind donations.
In-kind donations are any non-financial gift that a donor might make to your nonprofit. This could mean items, services, or even volunteer time. Although some of your supporters may be unable or unwilling to make monetary donations to your nonprofit, they may be open to making other forms of gifts instead. Write a dedicated request for in-kind donations to capture the support of these individuals.
For example, if you’re planning on hosting a raffle basket event, consider asking your supporters if they have any items they’d like to donate that you can use in your raffle. That way, you won’t have to purchase as many items yourself.
7. Budget your resources.
As you begin to implement money-saving tips, ask yourself: What do you lose in terms of time or other resources by taking the money-saving route? Consider who is spending that time or those other resources to save money. If higher-paid or in-demand staff find they must spend large amounts of time and energy on a project to divert funds to other programmatic areas, you may take a step back and realize it is ultimately less expensive to simply allocate some budget for a particular item.
One area where many nonprofits find it’s not worth it to cut corners is with their fundraising software. For many busy nonprofit staff members, the time saved and peace of mind gained by choosing a reliable system that helps them communicate efficiently and effectively with supporters is well worth the financial investment.
Implementing money-saving tips
The next time you evaluate your budget or make a big purchase to support your nonprofit, consider these tips and how they can help you maximize your funds. Keep in mind that the more money you save on overhead expenses, the more money you can put toward helping your beneficiaries and powering your purpose.
About the author:
Jodi Segal, Big Change Consulting’s Founder & Principal, has been helping nonprofit organizations start up, gear up, and clean up their operations, human resources, and fundraising for 25 years. She has designed a unique scope of work for Big Change Consulting to solve problems with nonprofit operations and has built strong and successful programs at growing local, state, and national organizations. Jodi is passionate about partnering with leaders to solve operations challenges so they can focus on the critical work of fulfilling their purpose.