Think about how much paper you use for board meetings throughout the year. Pamphlets, handouts, printing costs, envelopes and postage all add up both financially and environmentally.
Studies estimate that 10 to 30 percent of paper usage can be reduced through the strategic implementation of technology.
Technology solutions, like board portals, eliminate wasted resources and help your board adopt more efficient, green processes.
Reduction of paper waste yields financial benefits. A byproduct of waste is inefficiency. Whether it is time allocated to locate documents or funds spent on paper resources, waste is toxic to any nonprofit’s efforts.
Instead of spending money on paper, ink and shipping, do more with less and apply that money to activities that further your organization’s mission.
Financial benefits go beyond these supply savings too. Board efficiency sees maximum potential when important documents are provided in an easily accessible manner. Lost materials can derail meetings and leave members unprepared—a common outcome of paper-based processes.
With a board portal in place, board members no longer have to remember to bring documents or rummage through piles to find them. Instead, each member has a unique login to a secure site where meeting information is stored. This increased efficiency allows for more time to be allocated toward revenue-generating discussions.
As you revise processes to allow for the financial benefits associated with cutting paper usage, also consider the environmental ones.
With half of the world’s tropical forests already cleared, the classic tale of The Lorax seems to be a not so distant fate. While the root cause of deforestation lies in metropolitan settlements and agriculture, thirty percent of trees harvested in the United States are manufactured into paper goods.
Paper also plays a large and direct role in the landfill crisis. Thirty-two percent of landfills are made up of paper goods, which emit toxins as they degrade.
The case for more environmentally friendly processes is proven and justified. Reduction of paper usage, even in the smallest of ways, can end unnecessary waste. Available technologies provide simple solutions to put your organization on the green track.
The Paper Adds Up: A Look at the Numbers
Imagine the situation using board and committee packets as examples. Once all committee reports, finances and other pertinent data are included, it’s not uncommon for foundations and colleges to have upward of 100 pages per board packet and 10 pages per committee packet.
Based on industry benchmarks, we estimate that nonprofits spend $1,343.34 on paper annually for these packets alone, or $83.96 per board member.
Note: This does not include misprints or labor costs, or productivity and profit gains seen through more effective use of time and resources. Oberlin College analyzed the cost of printing, binding and mailing board and committee packets to its members, and found it cost $300 per year per member once all factors were included.
Paper Used — Board Meetings:
Board packet (pages)* = 100
Total pages of paper per meeting = 1,600
Board meetings per year (average) = 7.1
Pages of paper per board meeting = 1,600
Total pages of paper per year = 11,360
Paper Used — Committee Meetings:
Committee packet (pages)* = 10
Number of people per committee** = 3
Total pages of paper per meeting = 30
Number of committees (average) = 5.5
Committee meetings per year*** = 12
Total number of meetings = 66
Total number of meetings = 66
Pages of paper per committee meeting = 30
Total pages of paper per year = 1,980
Estimated Paper Costs:
Purchase cost per sheet of paper = $0.003
Printing cost per sheet of paper = $0.03
Mailing cost per sheet of paper = $0.06
Short term storage cost per sheet of paper = $0.0067
Disposal costs per sheet of paper = $0.001
Total cost per sheet of paper = $0.1007
Total pages of paper per year = 13,340
Total cost per sheet of paper = $.1007
Total annual paper cost = $1,343.34
Those same 13,340 sheets of paper translate into 1.6 trees.
Sheets of paper from 1 tree = 8,333
Total pages of paper per year = 13,340
Number of trees used annually = 1.6
This example looks at one tiny piece of the paper equation to show how costs and environmental factors can add up even in the smallest of ways.
Think about all the paper your organization uses to manage its operations and communication on an annual basis. Are there ways you can cut back to save?
Here at StreamLink Software, we have taken the pledge to run a greener operation, have you? Schedule a demo of BoardMax to learn how you can achieve a paperless board.
* Estimates based on the number of files uploaded to BoardMax by our customer base.
** Uses average board size (16) and average number of committees (5.5) data, and then assumes that each person only serves on one committee.
*** Assumes committees meet monthly.
Image Source: Kate Ter Haar via FlickR
In recent years, many organizations are quick to blame a troubled economy or a change in the giving demographic when fundraising efforts result in underwhelming numbers.
We know that raising funds in a troubled economy is very challenging, but what if we told you that corporations have increased their charitable giving by 38% since 2007? That said, while you may struggle now, there’s a brighter future ahead.
A better engaged board is a great first step as you look to increase funds in good times and bad. Leverage your board members for fundraising success with the below tips.
1. Optimize and Utilize the Board You Have
Having the right board is crucial to your organization’s fundraising efforts. Your board members are the face of your organization and should be your biggest advocates.
Yet, one in four board members are not fully engaged with their organization’s mission. For progress to prevail, this needs to be rectified from within through better onboarding of new board members; improved communication of organizational goals, plans and results; and integration of feedback channels.
Advocate for your mission and ensure that your board is aware that their fundraising directly affects the success of fulfilling organizational goals. Communicate in terms of how funding affects those you serve, not just the organization’s operational needs.
2. Promote the Strength of Successful Communication
Your board is the lifeblood of your fundraising efforts. When they are unengaged, fundraising suffers.
Low engagement is usually due to an unclear understanding of responsibilities. When you appoint board members, clearly communicate what is required of them. Align priorities at the start, and regularly check in on board members’ commitment and participation levels.
Opt for review meetings separate from regularly scheduled board meetings. Do this once a year to keep big picture communication lines open. In these meetings, set your objectives, review efforts, revisit strategy and reorganize based on the year’s results.
3. Promote Goals and Responsibility
Once your board understands the importance of fundraising, the next step is to employ the right tools to achieve success.
- Provide board members with talking points and collateral that they can use to better explain the organization’s mission and goals to prospective donors.
- Set up systems to track board fundraising performance by member. Set goals and hold board members responsible for hitting them.
- Maintain a searchable database of board member affiliations and connections. This way, if a specific need arises for in-kind or monetary donations, you know who within your board may be able to best help you obtain the resources.
- Regularly share organizational performance insight with board members on how funds are being used. Include tangible metrics on results achieved.
- Solicit group feedback on ways you can improve your organization’s fundraising efforts overall and improve service delivery.
Keeping your board focused on fundraising doesn't need to be a tired task. Provide your board with the tools and resources they need to perform duties to the best of their abilities. Optimized processes will result in maximized fundraising capabilities.
What does your organization do to achieve greater fundraising success?
Learn how a board portal can help your organization’s fundraising efforts by scheduling a demo today.
Image Source: Icannphotos via FlickR
When seeking funding from private foundations the thing to keep in mind is that foundations are giving less to organizations and programs. They are funding projects. Why the shift in funding? Competition is rife, and foundations want to see a return on their investment. Projects can be set up to have clear and measurable goals. And foundations, like most funders, want to see good solid data on how effectively their money is being used. Understanding that foundations are seeking to fund specific project types is a great starting point for creating a solicitation strategy. And now it’s time to make your case.
Five Steps to Strengthen Your Organization’s Case
1. Create a client need analysis for the organization. This analysis will allow for the identification of particular issues that clients are facing by department or program. Once the needs are identified, development should work with the appropriate departments to identify quality projects that can help clients better meet their needs.
2. Once two or three projects are identified for each program, create a summary for each project. Include the basics such as the project name, and description, as well as more detailed information like clients served, the cost break down, and the outcomes you hope to achieve.
3. Set up meetings with the key foundations. The meetings should include you and the CEO or appropriate management personnel. The goal of these meetings is to review the projects with the foundations. Ask the foundation representative to identify the projects that most closely relate to the foundation’s annual priority. Also ask them for their view of your organizational strengths. Remember, you want their viewpoint. Don’t make recommendations or suggested changes to theirs.
4. Now that you’ve identified the priorities of the various foundations, and determined which of your projects are a good fit you can build your foundation solicitation schedule to meet the needs of your organization and its programs.
5. Work with program staff to fully develop the projects that are to be funded. Make sure they include measurable and achievable goals, benchmarks and objectives.
These five steps allow for the organization to develop a greater role as a partner in achieving the foundation’s goals. This collaborative relationship will develop confidence in you and the organization. Additionally, these five steps focus on identifying projects that are of importance to the organization. Ensuring that the foundation has a project to fund that’s closely aligned to their mission means that your organization is not simply chasing dollars. This kind of relationship will allow for the greatest long-term success with a foundation.
Take a tour of AmpliFund Full Cycle to learn how to manage every stage of the grant cycle, from pre-award planning and research to post-award performance and reporting.