As a nonprofit organization, you know that retaining donors is more valuable than earning a new donor. At the same time, saving money is better than unnecessarily spending it. Stretching your dollars further allows you to have more funds to support your mission and show your donors that their resources are being used efficiently–leading to stronger donor retention.
So how do you go about saving money as a nonprofit organization? Keep reading to learn about eight ways you can start saving money today!
1. Evaluate your banking relationship.
- You deserve a business banker who is responsive and looks out for you. Ideally, they 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. 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. Consider finding a card that does not require staff as a guarantor and will allow for individual cards for each staff member. Many banks will offer 1% cashback to their customers on their credit cards. Most major credit card companies don’t offer cards without a business owner and aren’t a good option, so be careful. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Huntington National Bank, which offers excellent options for nonprofit organizations.
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, including Amazon, offer tax-exempt programs that will automatically suppress taxes on your invoices or will refund them for you. It may be worth reviewing your major expenses to request a refund on taxes paid this year. Keep in mind that you will still need to pay other kinds of taxes, like 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, sometimes offering services for pennies on the dollar. Additionally, Google offers qualifying nonprofit organizations up to $10,000 monthly in free advertising through Google Ad Grants.
5. Use rewards programs.
You know all those customer rewards programs you use in your personal life? 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. Shop using rebate sites.
There are tons of sites with programs that kick back a reward to the shopper. Evreward.com catalogs rebates and discounts available from a retailer or from shopping through your credit card portal. Keep in mind that your credit card may also have special bonuses for shopping at certain retailers.
7. Re-negotiate your service contracts.
The cost of internet, phone, news services, utilities, and more can rack up for an organization. In many cases, you can reduce your costs by renegotiating your contracts. You could call and ask for a discount, shop for new services, or use a service to negotiate on your behalf. Check out Schooley Mitchell, who often can help slash these costs.
8. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Saving a few bucks may take more time than it’s worth—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 in order to save money. If higher-paid or in-demand staff find they must spend large amounts of time and energy on a project in order 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 staffers, 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.
Remember to consider these tips next time you evaluate your budget or plan a big purchase to support your organization. How could you save valuable funds to put toward your mission, making the most of those hard-earned fundraising dollars?
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 built strong and successful programs at growing local, state, and national organizations. After repeatedly witnessing nonprofits struggle with effective and efficient operations, Jodi recognized the lack of services to help. She designed a unique scope of work for Big Change Consulting to solve these problems. The benefit of Jodi’s experience with organizations is that she sees around corners and designs streamlined solutions that last. She is passionate about partnering with leaders to solve operations challenges so they can focus on the critical work of fulfilling their mission.
Before founding Big Change Consulting, Jodi was Deputy Director at the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC). During her 13 years at OEC, she built their development department, oversaw marketing and communications, and led administration, finance, HR, and special projects. Jodi lives in Central Ohio.
Published: July 21, 2023