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In focus: How social services organizations can boost funding

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Revenue sources for social services organizations are drying up. The sector has been hit especially hard by declining federal support and by wary donors, foundations and corporations that continue to …

Revenue sources for social services organizations are drying up. The sector has been hit especially hard by declining federal support and by wary donors, foundations and corporations that continue to reduce or delay their charitable contributions. So how can a social services organization continue to help its community? See more in our State of not-for-profit industry 2014: http://gt-us.co/StateofNFP2014

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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  • 1. 1 • Become more efficient by streamlining your operations. Look closely at your breakdown of functional expenses — specifically spending on programming versus administrative tasks and fundraising. If your percentages don’t align with comparable not-for-profits, you need to understand the cause and implement internal improvements to enhance efficiency. See if the personnel structure is right for an organization of your size, and make sure management understands and effectively manages the organization’s finances. Investigate opportunities to redesign processes; check to make sure you have the right internal controls so that funds aren’t misappropriated or billings missed, and determine whether administrative tasks are being duplicated (and thus costing you more money and time) or need streamlining. • Partner with another organization. If two not-for-profits move into one facility, they can both reduce administrative costs (i.e., office space, support staff, shared services). Alternatively, consider consolidating back-office operations. Joint grant applications can also be a good way to merge efforts. Many funding agencies welcome this approach, which may yield greater financial outcomes. Partnering with a for- profit can be equally beneficial. For example, if you have a for- profit tenant running a visitors’ gift shop, your organization benefits from royalty or rental income, while the shop benefits from the draw of your constituents. Just remember, trust and timing are critical for a winning collaboration. Amy Henselin, Audit Partner, Not-for-Profit and Higher Education Practices, Social Services Sector Leader Revenue sources for social services organizations are drying up. The sector has been hit especially hard by declining federal support and by wary donors, foundations and corporations that continue to reduce or delay their charitable contributions. With demand for services from a growing population needing basic support like shelter, food and health care increasing, the result — diminished funding — is nothing short of a crisis. So how can a social services organization continue to help its community? Although there is no silver bullet that can solve the financial plight, social services not-for-profits can promote change from within that in turn will give them an edge in the fight for funding. Here are some strategies that can help: • Meet higher donor expectations by delivering the best outcomes possible. With the understanding that your organization is being held to ever greater standards of performance and that you are competing for donors, it is essential that your organization instill a culture of continuously raising the bar toward mission achievement. This culture must translate into actions that ensure the best results possible. • Clearly communicate your success. Show that you are a good steward of the funds you receive, and promote transparency regarding how money is being spent. For example, issue an annual report to your contributors to explain how funds were used and what impact your organization has had on the community. In focus: Social services organizations How social services organizations can boost funding

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