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8 Ways to Save Money as a Non-profit

Written by Jolanda Konarska

Every penny of your budget counts. So whether you're trying to save some of your budget, or just looking for ways to effectively lower your costs, then you’ve come to the right place.

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As a Non-profit, every penny of your budget has to count. The pressure is high, the environment is tough, and now more than ever organisations are looking to save more money.

So whether you’re trying to save some of your budget, or just looking for ways to effectively lower your costs, then you’ve come to the right place.

Utilise your online resources

Although you may already be using a wealth of online tools to help spread the message of your Non-profit, have you checked to see if they offer a discount? There are many tools that offer their paid-for premium packages for free to Non-profit organisations. For example, Canva (an online design tool) offers a free basic version for all users, but what many don’t know, is that they offer their ‘Pro’ package completely free to Non-profit organisations. This means you can access all of their premium images, videos, fonts, and even more. 

So make sure you double-check that the tools your using don’t offer a Non-profit discount.

Recruit Volunteers

Recruiting volunteers is a great way for your organisation to save money. There are thousands of people ready and willing to donate their time to a good cause. Our advice would be to not take advantage of free labour, but to offer your volunteers the opportunity to acquire skills at the same time, a win-win for both!

Before you start recruiting, make sure you have a plan of meaningful tasks that need to be filled. Recruiting volunteers is one task, but retaining them is another. By ensuring that their time is valued and by giving them meaningful tasks this will make them feel valued. When a volunteer feels valued, they are more likely to come back to offer their time and may even bring more people along with them too.

If you are wanting to find volunteers for your Non-profit, ‘Do IT’ is a great place to start. Do IT is a platform for both volunteers and organisations to find each other and is the UK’s largest network for volunteers. To find out more about this platform, click here.

Start energy saving

Another great way your Non-profit can save money is by looking at office and admin-related processes and items that often add up to enormous expenses if left unmanaged.

This can be as simple as turning the temperature down during unoccupied times, turning off lights and equipment when unused, and installing energy-efficient lighting. You may be surprised at how much you can save when making these little changes and many energy providers offer ‘smart meters’ that can help you stay on track with your bill.

Switching to digital document storage is another great way of reducing the need to purchase paper and ink for printers. There are many free tools that will allow you to store your organisations data for free, reducing the need for printing and storing files (also saving you office space).

Buy second-hand

If you are ever in need of office supplies, don’t be so quick to buy brand new. There are many people giving away furniture, even large for-profit organisations. Make sure you take a look at sites including Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Gumtree. These are places where you can find people giving away furniture. There are also sites like Reyooz and CK Office Furniture that supply second-hand office furniture at a discounted price.

Employee retention

Employee retention is a great way to save your Non-profit’s budget over a longer period of time. 

The costs of hiring, setting up, and training new members of staff are very high, so if you find yourself spending your spare time trying to recruit more people, evaluate your company culture, incentives, rewards and motivations. Low staff turnover is a great long term strategy to saving money.

Try and cut meeting expenses

The current climate has taught us a lot about working from home, maintaining communication, and working more efficiently. Platforms like ‘Zoom’ and ‘Google Meet’ have allowed employees to stay in contact with each other during lockdown, so our advice is, why stop? If your employees are back in the office, then great! But if you have a meeting with someone that involves travel than why not suggest doing a call instead? This will save on those extra costs including travel, food and hotel stays.

Use contract work and hire interns

Using contract workers is a great way to save money as a nonprofit. Some of the activities that nonprofits carry out, especially for specific programs, can be carried out by contract workers.

These tasks are usually the ones that require specialised skills. Instead of investing time in training a current employee in those skills or hiring someone full-time, hire a contract worker to execute them.

Another way to save money is to offer internships to university students. There are some courses that require students to complete an internship as part of their degree and will be happy to be able to do so with your Non-profit. This is another win-win situation, as students can gain some valuable work experience whilst your Non-profit saves on the cost.

The power of ‘The Ask’

As a Non-profit, asking for a discount is nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing wrong with planning ahead and asking a supplier when an item might go on sale for example. Or offering to promote their support of your Non-profit should they offer you a special deal. Lots of companies actually offer Non-profit discounts but choose not to advertise this. This is where the power of ‘The Ask’ comes in, if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no!

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