Slow the spending. Evaluate the difference between a want vs. a need. Stretch your resources. And then stretch them even further.
Proper budget management is the foundation of any successful organization. With nonprofits, strictly monitoring the budget and stretching resources is critical. We’re not spending our own money; we’re spending that of our generous supporters, who donate so we can serve hundreds of children with serious illnesses and their families each year — free of charge.
The better we steward our donations, the more lives we can change.
While good stewardship is a term closely associated with the nonprofit sector, every organization can profit from getting in the habit of doing more with less.
Here are some creative ways we all can use to save and stretch our resources:
Get creative with e-communication
We routinely utilize e-newsletters, electronic save the dates and social media to share important news and exciting announcements with our audience.
Take training online
We developed an e-learning program for volunteer training, which eliminated the need for printing thousands of pages for manuals and reduced the time folks spent doing on-site training. This freed up staff hours to work on other critical projects.
We carefully design all signage, videos and marketing collateral using evergreen content that is sustainable and will last beyond its initial intended use.
We save empty cans, glass jars, plastic jugs, juice containers and paper towel rolls for campers to use in arts and crafts as future tin-can robots, bird feeders and terrariums.
When IV bags expire, we convert them to hot water bags to comfort kids with sickle cell anemia and arthritis. And when exam gloves expire, we fill them with paint and pin them to the bull’s-eyes so archery becomes “ARTchery.”
Each week, volunteers mow our 200-acre property. Afterward, we collect and use the grass clippings in compost bins to create nutritious dirt for our garden, which produces organic fruits and veggies to feed our campers throughout the summer.
Unique budget-saving solutions are all around you. Every day, you can dig deep to find creative ways to recycle, upcycle and get creative.
You can make your dollars go the distance by training yourself and your staff to kick off each project with the question, “How can we make this last?”
Every organization has its own expired IV bags and grass clippings. It’s just a matter of figuring out what yours are — and how you can maximize them to best use your donor dollars or increase your bottom line.
Mimi Dane is the CEO of Flying Horse Farms, a camp for children with serious illnesses. Located in Mt. Gilead, the camp serves hundreds of children each year — free of charge.