How much paper does your nonprofit use on a daily basis? How about monthly? Do you know how much you spend on paper costs yearly? If you’re like most nonprofit organizations, you probably spend a lot of time and money printing, copying, and mailing various reports, documents, and handouts. Board meetings require documents to be printed and ready for perusal. Fundraising events require handouts to be printed and dispersed. Even the day to day management of the office requires you to print and file a variety of documents. As you know, the paper costs associated with these activities can add up quickly and take up precious funds in an already limited budget.
What is Paper Really Costing You?
Based on recent research and industry benchmarks, nonprofit organizations spend an estimated $1,343.34 on paper annually for board and committee packets alone. Add up the paper costs of simply running the day to day operations and storing paper-based files, and you have some fairly substantial paper costs (not to mention environmental costs). In fact, recent research has shown that the average office worker uses around 10,000 sheets of paper a year, and a single four drawer filing cabinet costs $25,000 to fill and $2,000 a year to maintain. For organizations with such limited funding, it can be hard to keep up.
If you are looking to save money and become more environmentally friendly, switching to a paperless systems is key. What many nonprofit organizations don’t know is that they most likely already have the tools they need to “go green.”
Using Technology to Go Green
Recent studies have shown that nonprofit organizations who leverage technology for the purpose of going green can reduce their paper usage by 10 – 30 percent. This is great news, as paper waste not only impacts financially and environmentally, but it impacts your efficiency as well. The more time spent searching for documents, the less time spent on carrying out mission-related activities and tasks. Many organizations already use nonprofit software to improve their efficiency and streamline their processes. What many don’t know, however, is that nonprofit software has built-in capabilities designed to make the transition to a more paperless organization easy and painless.
In addition to using nonprofit software (such as Abila MIP Fund Accounting or AccuFund), there are some practical steps you can take to move in the direction of a more green organization. Keep the following in mind as you adopt a paperless strategy:
- Opt in for paperless billing. Many companies and vendors now offer paperless billing options for their clients. Simply requesting to receive bills and invoices via email can save your organization a lot in both time and money.
- Pay your bills online. If possible, pay your bills electronically.
- Set up an electronic filing system. While it may seem overwhelming, this doesn’t require much. By simply scanning your documents into your computer, you can reduce storage costs and make it easier to find the information you need.
- Use email as your primary form of communication. Do you really need to print out that document and walk it over to Bob’s desk? Must you physically mail all of your reports, or will email suffice? Use email whenever possible.
Most of today’s nonprofit software solutions, such as Abila MIP Fund Accounting and AccuFund, offer paperless capabilities and support paperless strategies. You simply need to know how to use them. If you’d like to learn how to optimize your current fund accounting software, attend one of our live webcasts this month. Whether you are running Abila MIP Fund Accounting or AccuFund, these informational sessions will give you the information you need to go paperless.
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