Efficiency And Fundraising in 2010

Community colleges are filled to the max, carpooling has become attractive again and low price leader Walmart has had one of its best years. All kinds of services are being more rationed than ever (health insurance, credit), and wasteful practices are uncovered and eliminated in just about every industry. The current recession has infiltrated many aspects of our lives and the result is that we all have to or try to do things more efficiently and cut back our spending and save money if possible.

Whereas the internet’s growth has dominated the past decade and greatly affected our lives, efficiency seems to quickly become one of the mottos of the coming years. There are probably some things you have already changed within your fundraising group to either save money, or to work more efficiently, or both. After all, fundraisers are known to get the most out of every dollar! But there is always room for improvement and following are a few examples of how you can save even more money and time by implementing cost savings and making the way you run your fundraising group even more efficient.

Save on office related costs and phone services:

– Reduce your cell phone plan’s minutes with Google Voice. Another great free service from Google; Google Voice is not a stand alone cell service provider, but more like an ‘add-on’. You can make your calls through their service which does not use up the minutes on your cell phone plan. You can even sign up for an additional phone number only to be used through Google Voice that you can then share with others in your fundraising group (or family) thus savings lots of minutes for everyone. (This service can also be used to make international phone calls from your cell phone or a landline for as little as 2 cents a minute.) Other useful features include receiving your messages transcribed as a text message or in your e-mail box. Since this is still a fairly new service, you have to sign up to get an ‘invitation’ to join. When we signed up, it took about 10 days before we got one.

– Use Skype. Another great way to save on phone costs is to use Skype. Skype’s free service works over the internet, so make sure you have a good internet connection, before you sign up for it. Callers can make free video calls from computer to computer anywhere in the world. You can also use it on your cell phone (without the video feature), but both parties need to always be signed in in order for the service to work. Skype also offers paid plans for ‘landline’ calls, which may be cheaper than what you’re currently paying.

– Use Google Docs. If you’re looking for a no cost option for a word processor, spreadsheet, presentations and collaboration tool, try Google Docs, another great free service from Google. It may not replace Microsoft Office 100%, but it may be all a smaller group needs and the price is right! There is no software to buy or install and users can sign in from anywhere to collaborate on a project.

– Use technology you’re already using to its fullest potential: Use your cell phone alarm and calendar features more often. Studies have shown that simply sending periodical reminders to people who had decided to save more money, actually resulted in them saving more than people who didn’t receive the messages. Seems like a no-brainer! Often we have good intentions and plans, but are simply to busy or distracted to always stay focused on our goals. If you have a newer phone, there are plenty of apps out there you can use to help you reach your goals, be more efficient and stay on track.

If you’re running a website:

– Like everything else, postage fees are ever increasing and present an opportunity to save money. Are you still sending out monthly newsletters by mail? Unless you get a financial return from any mailings, why not post all your communication online, or send it by e-mail, or both? You’d save postage and printing cost. Most people have internet access and making this switch should be a painless one. You could still keep some printed copies around as needed, but the bulk should be distributed electronically. Start by adding a note in each newsletter that states where people can leave their e-mail address, or sign up for the e-mail version directly.

– Have you considered selling sponsorships (advertising) in your newsletters, print or e-mail and website? Local businesses may welcome the opportunity and this may present another income source for your group. Tip: instead of simply posting an ad, you may suggest to the advertiser posting a coupon that can be printed and brought to the business.

– Signing up for Google’s free Analytics and other webmaster tools is a must. (Can you tell we like Google’s free services?) Google’s free tools provide a much clearer picture of your visitors interests and habits than the statistic programs a web host makes available for free. Also check the ongoing list of free website tools at RankRaiser.com for lots of free resources for anything web design and development related.

Reduce, reuse, recycle!

– It’s not just good for the environment, but can also save loads of money. Need a sofa or coffee table for the meeting room, or a file cabinet? Instead of looking for a good deal on a shopping site, see if you can get it for free through Freecycle.org, a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free. The network is made up of over 4,800 Yahoo groups across the globe. Simply type your city and state in the search box and sign in with your Yahoo ID (free) to see what’s available for free in your neighborhood.

We’re actually using all the services and tips described above and will periodically add more to this post. Are you using any new free services or have you taken any drastic cost cutting measures? Please let us know in the comments below how you’re weathering the storm!

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  1. Posted by Carly 7th January, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Great post! I had no idea these free phone services even existed! Thanks a mill!!

  2. Posted by uberVU - social comments 2nd February, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

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  3. Posted by Ideas And Inspiration For Your Fundraising Group | Fundraising Ideas 4th May, 2010 at 8:00 am

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