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Opportunities for Associations to Reduce Expenses While Improving Service

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This purpose of this article is to suggest tactics to obtain the best price, for the correct product, from the right supplier.

Determining the best price involves much more that just finding the lowest price.

Do You Always Ask Your Suppliers If They Have Special Pricing for Associations or Registered Charities?

Many suppliers of goods and services have lower “special prices” for not-for-profit associations and registered charities.

If your supplier does not offer you a lower price, then ask for one.

If the person with whom you are negotiating says they do not have “special prices”, then ask him/her to “please double check with your supervisor”, because front-line staff do not always know about not-for-profit pricing.

Banking for Associations and Registered Charities

Banks and especially credit unions, offer lower fees to associations and charities; however, you cannot assume that the fees your organization has always been paying are the lowest prices today.

Posted fees at banks are as low as $1.95 per month and at several credit unions there is no-cost. It is important to remember that these fees are subject to “terms and conditions”.

RBC Royal Bank is the only financial institution in Canada, to the best of our knowledge, that has relationship managers dedicated to serving not-for-profits.

Everything is Negotiable

A new client had been paying $20 per month for an account whose monthly balance is always $10,000 even though their bank’s policy is to rebate the monthly fee if the account balance is more than $2,500. This client also has an additional account whose average balance is just over $1,000. After discussing this with their bank, the minimum monthly balance requirement was waived because of the minimum monthly balances in their four bank accounts.

A couple of minutes online and a phone call reduced our new client’s bank fees by $480 per year.

Based on the success for this client, we are in the process of shopping the market for our other nine clients.

Membership Often Has Benefits

The Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) “provides the environment, knowledge and resources its members need to develop excellence in not-for-profit leadership through education, networking, advocacy, information and research.”

CSAE also offers its members group pricing on goods and services.

Credit Card Processing for Registered Charities

PayPal’s fees for processing donations made by credit card are 1.6% + $.30 per transaction vs. their standard 2.9% + $.30 per transaction.

CanadaHelps is a non-profit serving Canadian charities and donors. [They] are dedicated to increasing charitable giving across Canada by making it easier to donate and fundraise online.”

CanadaHelps makes it easy to make online donations. Their processing fee is 3.5%; the benefit to your organization is that they issue the donation receipt.

The CanadaHelps website also has information that may help both not-for-profit associations and registered charities to raise more money. Their website has a wonderful article titled He Said, She Said: Generating Testimonials That Have Impact. The article offers “a few tips to consider as you seek testimonial quotes for your website and other communications vehicles.”

Insurance for Associations and Registered Charities

One of CASE’s sponsors is Marsh Canada. Marsh is the world’s largest insurance broker. This means that they have huge buying power.

Marsh offers CSAE members group rates on Commercial General Liability (CGL) and Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance.

If you do ask Marsh for a quote, then you might want to also ask LMS Pro-Link for one too. LMS specializes in providing insurance to not-for-profit organizations.

In addition to offering insurance products at group rates which are tailored for not-for-profits, their professionals can help you to anticipate potential risks.

These risks include:

  • Abuse insurance is also sometimes labeled “improper conduct” or “improper sexual conduct,” or even “explicit sexual abuse/molestation.” Note that the risk of an abuse claim is not limited to organizations with volunteers or staff working with minors.
  • Event cancellation insurance.
  • Non-appearance by keynote speakers.

If your organization does not have both CGL and D&O insurance, we urge you to review the potential risks that can be insured against by reading the article Exposures Facing Directors and Officers of Non-Profit Organizations.

Additional Nonfinancial Resource

Successfully fulfilling the mission of your organization is not just about financial sustainability.

An excellent resource for both associations and registered charities is the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Their Charities Handbook “provides a comprehensive reference tool to help boards and staff navigate through legal and accounting issues.” If your organization is considering establishing a registered charity, then you might want to read the s sample chapter Establishing a Canadian Charity.

 

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