10 Money-Saving Tips for Small Nonprofits
As a member of the press, I was barred — and rightfully so, I say — from attending the “Special Nonprofit Only Sessions” at the DMA Nonprofit Federation 2007 New York Nonprofit Conference last week. So I wasn’t able to hear the presentation on ways small nonprofits with limited resources can still compete with the big guys and win the hearts and wallets of donors.
I did, however, have a chance to catch up with session presenters Joan Geiger, vice president of development for RAINN; Jerry McCathern, director of development at Hyacinth AIDS Foundation; and Tiffini Swanston, direct-marketing manager at the 92nd Street Y. And they shared with me their collective list of top 10 ways small nonprofits can curb costs and still stay in the game. They are:
1. Recruit board members who can provide pro bono services, especially design, printing, copywriting, etc.
2. Produce your major-donor renewals in house with that personalized touch on each letter: a hand-signed, blue-ink signature.
3. Cultivate vendors to become believers in your cause. They will give you the lowest prices and highest-quality service in exchange for your loyalty to them over time.
4. Always include a No. 9 response envelope in your newsletter mailings, and even thank-you letters if your board permits. To save money on the per-piece handling charge of BRM envelopes, add this note in the upper left-hand corner: “Your First Class stamp will help us save money!”
5. Always print Address Correction Requested on all Third Class mailings to lower non-deliverables and eventually reduce mailing costs.
6. Develop and cultivate word-of-month marketing tools (i.e., myspace.com profiles, blog posts, etc.). Use viral-marketing techniques to raise awareness (and funding) for your cause .
7. Build cross-promotional relationships with other organizations to go beyond the bounds of exchanging mailing lists. Find ways to collaborate by exchanging materials (brochures, fliers, catalogs, postcards, etc.) for display, info for e-newsletter inclusions and Web links.
8. Explore grassroots, street marketing and guerilla marketing programs. There are tons of festivals and events taking place in your community. Develop relationships with the organizers/planners and discuss ways you can join and participate.
9. Include inserts about stock contributions, corporate matches or planned giving in acknowledgements.
10. Include acquisition names in mailings to current donors. Mail to activists, volunteers and information should request names as prospects.
Joan Geiger can be reached via www.rainn.org Jerry McCathern can be reached via www.hyacinth.org and Tiffini Swanston can be reached via www.92y.org