What You Don’t Know About Outsourcing Could Save Your Nonprofit

May 31, 2021

It goes without saying that COVID has hit the nonprofit sector hard.

Most events were either postponed or canceled. Some saw success with virtual events, while others tanked. Donations have fallen as much as 75%. Live performances were canceled, along with many other earned income ventures.

“It’s devastation,” said Rick Cohen, Chief Operating Officer for the National Council of Nonprofits, back in October 2020.

The economic effects of the pandemic have forced many nonprofits to cut jobs, while simultaneously dealing with increased needs in their communities. Arts organizations have been hit particularly hard.
In short, many nonprofits are struggling mightily.

But many organizations have also successfully pivoted. Those nonprofits that have continued to fundraise — and significantly ramped up donor communications — have seen unparalleled growth.

Maintaining your consistent “Ask/Thank/Report/Repeat” fundraising systems plays a key role.

But when your already under-resourced staff are adding responsibilities to their plates, it also gets harder.

How can you make it happen and keep consistent revenue coming in?

Outsourcing could very well be the answer you’re looking for.

Outsourcing has always made common sense from a practical standpoint.

Many small to mid-sized nonprofits already outsource things like their bookkeeping, their HR, and their IT support.

Clearly outsourcing these types of services relieves the burden on your staff. It saves on the costs of regular employees, such as social security, medicare, unemployment, health insurance, benefits, etc.

But what about fundraising? In what areas might your nonprofit consider outsourcing?

Donor Communications

Outsourcing your donor communications — your appeals, donor newsletters, enewsletters, website copy, etc. — will allow your staff and board to focus on what’s most important right now, donor stewardship. Your organization is bound to raise more money if they’re dealing with less stress.

Outsourcing donor communications also provides your organization with a strong Ask/Thank/Report framework moving forward.

Website Design

Nonprofit websites have evolved tremendously over the past 10 years. But when you survey the online landscape, you’ll still see the lowly PayPal donate button, home page carousels, and unwieldy donate pages. With a strong, very specific RFP, you might find a programmer at your price point on a site like Upwork. Or consider Firespring, a company that knows precisely what works for nonprofits. They offer affordable plans for creating and managing your website.

Event and Auction Planning

Nothing can be quite the staff and time suck as events. Consider outsourcing your next event with a qualified professional. For more information, look at Queen Bee Fundraising and Red Apple Auctions.

Grant-writing

If grants comprise a strong base of your organization’s financial support and your development team is small (or one person), your organization could definitely benefit from outsourcing grants. You’ll learn more in the recording below.

Social Media

If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels posting on social media, you may want to consider outsourcing your nonprofit’s social media. You’ll definitely want to outsource advertising to a specialist.

Anti-Racism Work

Your organization has made a commitment to diversity and inclusion. But your words will ring hollow without actual action. So how will you actually see your commitment through? Click here for resources to help make it happen.

Graphic Design

We wear a lot of hats in the nonprofit sector. You’re the Grantwriter/Database Administrator/Individual Giving Manager/Stewardship Associate/Event Planner/Social Media Manager/Major Gift Officer. And more. Do you REALLY want to add the title of… Click To Tweet

We wear a lot of hats in the nonprofit sector. You’re the Grantwriter/Database Administrator/Individual Giving Manager/Stewardship Associate/Event Planner/Social Media Manager/Major Gift Officer. And more. Do you REALLY want to add the title of graphic designer to the mix?

While Canva is terrific for small jobs like social media posts, when you need something printed, Canva is often a major fail. And Microsoft Publisher…ugh. Do people still really use that? Again, your print shop is rarely equipped for Publisher files.

I’ve had enormous success at very reasonable price points finding skilled designers for basic donor newsletter and direct mail fundraising design using Upwork. When you’re posting for talent, again be very specific as to your pricing and exactly what you’re looking for. Examples are helpful, as even many skilled designers rarely have a grasp of direct mail design.

Logos

When creating the logo for Veritus Group Academy, we utilized the services of 99 designs. The premise is simple. You’ll create a short brief to help designers understand your design needs, watch the designs come in, and make your selection among the dozens.

Capital Campaigns & Strategic Planning

Capital campaigns and going through the strategic planning process are two specialized areas where you’ll probably want to consider hiring a consultant.

One-Off Odd jobs

For one-off odd jobs, you may want to consider utilizing Fiverr, Upwork, or Craigslist. Here’s an example: I once worked with a client, a small nonprofit, that couldn’t handle the semi-complex mail merge job for the appeal I’d written for them. We were able to locate an individual from Craigslist who completed the task in less than an hour, enabling us to deliver print-ready files to the print shop.

Time is money. And, when an organization fails to make a true investment in fundraising, growth is far, far, far slower than it needs to be.

Everything is, as Marie Forleo says, “figure-outable!” Outsourcing can help you put your focus on the mission.

For more on outsourcing, carve out 30 minutes to watch this February 15th MotivateMonday episode, from when Mary Cahalane and Diane Leonard joined me for a discussion on knowing when it’s is the right time to outsource.

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