Top 5 Ways Nonprofit Organizations Can Save Money

It doesn’t matter whether the economy is booming or busting – nonprofit organizations are always interested in saving money. Of course, “saving money” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “cutting corners” or “doing without altogether.” There are plenty of ways nonprofit organizations can save money and still operate effectively and efficiently.

1. Accept Donations

Whether you need a few simple pieces of equipment like telephones and cameras or larger pieces like computers and fax machines, chances are there’s a family member, friend, or another business or organization that’s already in the market to upgrade and willing to donate old supplies to you.

2. Buy Refurbished Electronics

If you can’t find everything you need through donations, consider buying refurbished electronics. Buying refurbished office equipment like refurbished telecom systems, computers, printers, fax machines, copiers, and even cameras is a great way for nonprofit organizations to save money.

After customers return them to the stores (either because they’ve changed their minds or found some minor problem with the way the electronics functioned), manufacturers inspect the items and make any repairs before certifying they’re ready to return to store shelves as “refurbished” items. The manufacturers can’t sell the items at the same prices as they’d sale brand new items, so they sell them at significantly lower costs. Purchasing refurbished electronics at lower costs than brand new electronics at regular costs helps nonprofit organizations save money.

3. Look for Volunteers

Many nonprofit organizations already acquire much of their legwork through volunteer efforts, but they can also find volunteers to donate time and skills to things like building and designing websites, creating logos for contact cards and stationary letterheads, and writing copy for websites, newsletters, and fliers.

4. Do It Yourself

While many people have family members or friends (or friends of friends or family members!) who are skilled at tasks like writing and website and graphic design, not everyone will agree to provide these services for free. If you can’t find someone willing to donate his or her services, consider doing the jobs yourself.

Because there are many free and easy-to-use website template available, these days setting up a website costs little more than the price to purchase server space. If your nonprofit is a local chapter of a national organization, use the national logo and create your own stationary letterhead and contact cards. If you need to know how to effectively write simple copy for a newsletter, advertisement, or your website, do a little research online for tips on how to keep your words brief yet effective.

5. Find Freebies

Volunteer work is free for you and many do-it-yourself projects are either free or cheap, but keep in mind that there are also tools available that are completely free and in constant supply.

Open source software, for example, is a great way for nonprofit organizations to save money on otherwise pricey software tools. If your nonprofit organization regularly takes and publishes photos, look for free online picture editing tools such as Picnik in lieu of expensive software like Photoshop.