Nonprofits: Having Trouble Filling a Position? Consider Outsourcing.
posted May 31, 2018 by Patrick Martin, CPA in the Mission Matters Blog
Is your nonprofit short-staffed? Don’t have the funds to hire full time employees? You might consider outsourcing…..learn more.
What is outsourcing exactly?
If you would rather not pile on extra work on the desks of remaining staff or ask volunteers to pick up the slack, consider looking outside for your next hire. Outsourcing can help fill administrative roles, accounting positions, fundraising roles and more.
If your organization is likely to remain short staffed for a while, and you have work that must get done, outsourcing can be a great solution. Additionally, outsourcing:
- Reduces benefit costs and balance sheet burdens associated with keeping full time employees
- Provides greater flexibility
- Provides a variety of positions- administrative professionals, fundraising professionals, accountants, project managers, public relations experts, even interim executives.
- Offers a good solution in an uncertain economic environment (i.e. you might need some time to feel confident enough in your NFP’s future to hire someone full time).
Best situations for outsourced help
Some tasks and positions lend themselves better to outsourcing than others. Smaller nonprofits typically do not need full time IT specialists, for example.
Other things that are a good fit for outsourcing? Creative projects- like newsletters, brochures, invitations etc. can also be outsourced on a regular basis.
Financial functions can also be outsourced. If your staff or board members aren’t qualified to manage your organization’s investments, you can turn over your portfolio to a professional money manager. Third parties can handle payroll, receivables processing and more.
How can I be sure someone can be trusted?
You can investigate financial services vendors with your Secretary of State’s office.
- You shouldn’t outsource tasks that require extensive knowledge of your organization, its niche and constituents
- In the event that you outsource a CFO or business manager’s duties, you wouldn’t have a person to go to when a financial question arises, which is a common concern among businesses.
- With outsourced functions, you lose a certain level of control over things. You don’t have direct control over how those tasks are being performed and monitored.
- You lose a bit of security control as well. If you outsource processes that require access to personal data, you run the risk of placing the privacy of others or security of business in the wrong hands.
Is outsourcing the right choice for your company?
The right interim employee isn’t always easy to find, and sometimes, in the long run, it could end up costing you more than you originally budgeted for.
Some rules of thumb
- Particularly with roles that require specialized skills or nonprofit experience, you’re better off hiring a full time person who you’re confident possesses these abilities.
- At times, no one is willing to work at rates you can afford. The time and money you spend searching for and training temporary help may end up costing you more than retaining a full time staff member.
- If you have work that must get done, but cannot make a long term financial commitment, outsourcing is a great solution.
How much can volunteers help with?
When your staff is overworked, there’s no harm in asking volunteers to step up to the plate. But, volunteers are unpaid, so if you want to maximize and hold onto your volunteer workforce, you need to manage it strategically.
- Develop a volunteer management infrastructure led by a paid or unpaid coordinator.
- Be sure to assess your volunteers' experience so you can put them where they'll have the biggest impact (for example, is a volunteer a retired contractor? Probably a good fit for overseeing manual projects)
- Volunteers might have their own ideas on how to help your organization. Be sure to listen to them and consider their ideas-- or you may lose them to another charity.
Questions on outsourcing and if your nonprofit could benefit? Contact our Not-for-Profit services team today.