Budgeting for operational expenses is always a key concern for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits ideally want to commit the maximum amount of funds to programs and actually serving clients, and a minimum amount of their capital to operating their organization. One cost-saving method that has grown increasingly popular among nonprofits in both Canada and the United States is to save on overhead expenses by sharing office space and resources.
Benefits of Sharing Office Space
Co-locating, or sharing office space, with one or more other nonprofits with missions related to those of your own organization can offer benefits to your nonprofit in terms of both decreasing expenses and enhancing the provision of services to clients. Two or more nonprofit organizations can typically rent office space sufficient to house both organizations for less money than it would take for the organizations to secure office space separately. If you partner with another nonprofit from the beginning, you can realize further savings by splitting the cost of a rental lease deposit and any deposits required for utility, internet, or other services. Shared office space often means that there’s a readily available empty office cubicle or two if one of the organizations wishes to add an employee or a volunteer. Sharing space with a related nonprofit organization can also make your nonprofit more easily accessible for clients you seek to serve. Imagine that in one city, more than 10 nonprofit organizations that together provide various services for children and families all share a large block of office space. Since the nonprofits serve the same general client base and are all conveniently found in one location, it makes it much easier for clients who are seeking various services from multiple organizations.
Benefits of Sharing Office Equipment and Services
Sharing office equipment or services with other nonprofit organizations offers large cost savings in terms of regular monthly office expenses. Basic office equipment, such as copiers and fax machines, can easily be shared by several organizations. This can reduce your organization’s major expenditures on such equipment significantly. You can also share the cost of basic office services, including utility bills, telephone services, internet, and IT services. Similar organizations sharing office space may also be able, by combining their resources, obtain useful computer hardware or software that might otherwise be too expensive for any single organization.
Benefits of Sharing Resources
Your nonprofit and its co-located partners can also realize savings and improved efficiency by sharing personnel resources. For example, one public relations department may be able to easily serve the needs of a number of related nonprofit organizations. If your organization has an in-house IT department, this is another resource that can be shared with a co-located nonprofit in return for their contribution to funding the department. Nonprofit organizations can obtain further savings by combining their orders for office supplies such as paper and pens. Placing larger orders, effectively creating an economy of scale, can enable all of the co-located organizations to obtain more favorable pricing. There are multiple potential benefits to be gained by sharing office space with other nonprofit organizations. Explore your options to join this growing trend and partner with another nonprofit.