By Seth Winnerman
Executive Director, cityWILD
These are some steps cityWILD has taken to save costs over the past year, along with the approximate associated savings per item. cityWILD is a small, grassroots organization. Some of the items are specific to the organization or are very small (there are some big ones too). What I believe this list shows is that there is an endless stream of ways to challenge even the smallest things your organization does in order to make it more efficient, save money, and show accountability to your funders:
• All insurance out to bid; thousands
• Took drivers off vehicle insurance/limited # of drivers within the organization; thousands
• Disposed of unused vehicles being insured and registered; thousands
• cityWILD was not charging its staff Occupational Privilege Tax (this is a Denver only tax); anywhere from $17-50 a month depending on staff numbers
o I applied for organizational exemption from this tax but was denied • Charged employees a reasonable $50/month for healthcare/dental; $150/month • cityWILD was not tax exempt on several accounts; office supplies, telephones, etc. Qwest gave us a 24 month credit; $30 month on phones – Qwest and Verizon, plus other purchases
• Moved to online ordering for office supplies with free delivery; minimal $$ saving, huge in time and efficiency of staff
o Here, you could move to bulk ordering with other organizations to save costs
• Reduced cell-phone minute limits, removed unnecessary charges and added modern conveniences like text messaging that was not in place; $50/month
• Reduced land-line charges by reducing business pack additions back to the standard 3 extras instead of 4; $10/month
o I then moved to Impact Telecom for our phone service and saved an additional $20/month.
• Moved to electronic newsletters and thank you notes; priceless on $$ and environment
• Started in-kind donation list in newsletter; so far about $1000 value
• Stopped renting modem for wireless internet and used donated one; $5/month
o Searched craigslist and called people selling modems and asked if they would donate it to the organization.
• Switched to online printing companies for brochures, etc.; hundreds in savings, but not environmentally friendly
• Recycled old materials with some wrong info but otherwise correct by placing stickers over out-dated info; large savings in printing costs
• Moved banks to reduce fees and get a better interest rate; $30 a month in savings on fees
• Switched payroll company to reduce fees, get an easier system for staff; about $200 annually
• Moving merchant service account; will reduce rate from 4+% to 2.5% on credit card charges for our earned income arm.
• Recreation center passes for students – Denver Parks and Recreation gives free passes to youth if they go to a Title 1; $200 annually
• Found we were over-charging ourselves on taxes and had a back credit with the State of Colorado for over $3000.
• Got a programmable thermostat for the office; not sure of costs savings yet, but we don’t forget to turn off the heat!
• Turn down the hot water heater
• Pre-order food from Costco; time savings for staff, order is ready for pick-up
• Apply regularly for supermarket gift cards; usually $25/each
• Use Vista print for staff business cards; 250 free cards per batch
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