When it comes down to it, for most companies, money is the biggest driver. It’s also a pressing concern for charities—and for a great deal of those working in the third sector, most of the day-to-day role will be focused around raising funds that can be used to help those in need. And if you think about that money as the source of being able to help a sick child, continue important research or pay for the care of an abandoned puppy, every penny must be accounted for.
However, for organisations looking to tighten their belts, often the reality is that budgets don’t stretch to employ someone to manage the utilities, but the simple things that are used each day—electricity, gas and water—are raking up bills that impact the extent to which the charity can carry out its sole purpose.
With fundraising at the forefront of the job, there’s no real time to think about utility management as a cost-saver or money-maker, and the variety of bills that come in from numerous companies are paid with no real scrutiny.
There are big savings that can be found by implementing simple measures, which can keep the costs low and the charity focused on the business of caring.
Bills can be complex and hard to understand, and with no one in place to question the charge, quick wins that could save the charity money may have gone unnoticed for years.
By taking the time to analyse the statements, the recruitment of suppliers, whether there’s a contract in place, or if totals are estimated, you can manage your utilities in a way that saves the charity money—taking a lump sum from the outgoings and into the hands of those who need it most.
Alzheimer Scotland managed to save over £50,000 through things like utility procurement, consumption management, invoice validation and ongoing day-to-day management of the various contracts and suppliers. That’s £50,000 which can now be used to provide support for people living with dementia and their carers. The charity also has peace of mind that they are fully compliant with mandatory environmental legislations while working efficiently to government regulations.
There’s a whole host of simple changes you can make within the organisation. They might not be big money ideas, but they can help towards that overall saving goal whilst reducing your environmental impact.
LED lighting, water fitting replacements, insulation of pipework and the adjustment of boiler controls are easy to implement and can bring the spend down.
For every pound spent, the amount big charities allocate to ‘those in need’ can vary significantly—and while the costs that put a charity at the lower end of the scale are absolutely necessary for running the organisation, smart management of outgoings can start to move you up the chart.
It might feel like a ‘searching down the back of the sofa’ approach to fundraising, but if you’re sitting thinking about new avenues to target, it’s worth looking around the office, shop, or wherever you are, to think about ways you can cut costs from within.
Any organisation, regardless of size or sector, can benefit from a strategic approach to their utilities—and no matter what the end ambitions are, significant savings can help to achieve them.