FIGHTING BACK: ORGANISATIONS SHARE
THEIR RECESSION-BEATING TACTICS
The Wheel conducted a snap-survey in January to establish how community and voluntary organisations are dealing with the economic crisis. The following responses illustrate the level of innovation and resilience in our sector.
How organisations are cutting costs
ONE IN FOUR
“We have cut back on all non-essential items, for example letting
go of water coolers in the building and reducing the number of newspapers and periodicals we subscribe to. We are also carefully monitoring stationary, phone usage etc and have managed to achieve reductions there. We have also reduced travelling expenses for staff in line with changes in the public service.”
• Do address deficits as soon as possible, even if this means making hard decisions.
• Make sure staff members fully understand the financial situation and the rationale behind any cuts.
• Make sure your Board is fully in agreement with the strategies you adopt.
CORK COUNTY CHILDCARE COMMITTEE
“By looking for quotes for everything that we purchase as a
company, we have made significant savings. It is easy to stay with the same supplier due to loyalty, good relationships etc. However just looking for competitor quotes can lead your current suppliers revising their costs. We have taken some budget cuts recently so we asked our landlords to take the same cuts - they agreed. They concluded that it is better for them to have a tenant paying something, than to simply have an empty office. Ask and you just might receive!”
• Do look at everything you pay out for, no matter how small - every little saving counts.
• Don’t be afraid to ask, the worst that can happen is that they say no.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TRAVELLERS CENTRES
“We have managed to renegotiate our rents in the last two
years downward by 25%. A willing yet practical landlord helped us to achieve this. Firstly we had to be willing to explore other rents available in the general area and, if necessary, be willing to move (bluffing is only appropriate for a poker table).”
• Close your ears to all the woes of how hard it is for your landlord to meet his/her financial commitments.
• Don’t be afraid to move, you may end up in much better facilities.
How organisations are increasing their income
MERCY UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL FOUNDATION
“When we began fundraising in 2007 we carried out an
analysis of our competitors locally and those national charities active in the area. We then broke the community up into generic categories, e.g. businesses and the corporate sector, families of patients and patients themselves, the general public (and then by age and gender). We then created campaigns / activities that each group could identify with, could support and we were always conscious that by actively seeking funds we were raising our profile and were able to tell our story and outline the areas of need. We have had some failures and some campaigns or events that with a gentle tweaking went from just breaking even to being successful. We believe that creativity tempered with an understanding of planning and budgeting is essential to be a success at fundraising (and never forgetting that people give to people not to e-mails).”
• Don't take your donors or supporters for granted. • Do bring other stakeholders on board (in our case doctors, nurses and patients or their families. • Don't give up!
“When an idea is right money follows, but the priority is not money but vision. The challenge for us is to be relevant in order to make a positive contribution to the community and is so doing create the goodwill that will lead to donations/support. The real learning is to see what people find helpful and relevant to their lives. Once people begin to see that they are more willing to support a centre in their area dedicated to highlighting environmental issues. As we raise our profile we feel we can apply to grants locally and collect monies locally more effectively. We find just now that people have more time to volunteer, but keeping the vision out there certain people are attracted to become involved and that is a valuable resource.”
• Keep your vision in mind at all times. • Don’t become too reliant on one or two people.
These are just a few of the examples of cost saving and income generating tactics to be discussed at The Wheel’s next “Making More Money” workshop on 29 June at the Carmelite Centre in Dublin. Visit www.wheel.ie/events for details.
Vol 9 • Issue 1 • Spring 2010
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