Budget 2015: Four Top Priorities for Non-Profits (and why background screening should be one of them)

Money is usually tight for non-profits. Unless you’re a huge national name, backed by celebrity endorsements, or have a super kind benefactor, you’re probably pinching pennies like the rest of us commoners.

Whereas soccer moms like me can cut coupons, scan for online deals and make freezer meals to keep our budgets in tact, non-profits often have a hard time knowing when or where to cut corners because their budgets depend on grants, donations, tax exemptions and the like. And these things change yearly so standardizing a budget is difficult, too.

 Sure, there are creative options to help non-profits trim costs:

  • Unpaid interns – some colleges even require their students to complete internships in order to graduate
  • Trade swaps – would you waive your cat adoption fee if a professional would write your newsletter?
  • Auctions – you can get your hands on some top quality furniture and office supplies at a fraction of the cost

 If your non-profit hasn’t already done so, you need to start planning your fiscal layout for 2015. Here are four top priorities you don’t want to skimp:

Digitize – Public relations, media coverage and community outreach can help make or break a non-profit agency. But why put a chunk of change toward snail mailing these things? Sign up for a free email service like Constant Contact or MailChimp to handle your digital communication. It also might be worth decreasing the amount of money you spend on brochures, pamphlets and other hard copy items and increasing the quality of your website and its exposure through online ads and buzz marketing via established bloggers.

Board of Directors – You know how financial advisors always tell you to diversify your portfolio? Well, you want to do the exact same thing with your board. Although it might be tempting to go with the typical movers and shakers in your area (or industry), it’s vital that you enlist the guidance of people who are players in a variety of backgrounds. Why? So you can ask these people for hookups, connections, freebies, and other opportunities that you otherwise might have to shell out for. Here are some types of people who might do your non-profit board some good:

  • Local television reporter – These are the journalists who are out covering beats and interviewing and interacting with people in the community on a daily basis. Anchors might be more high profile, but beat reporters have a better idea of what’s really making the neighbors take notice.
  • Hair stylist – Think of how many women and men pass through a hair stylist’s chair every week. Even better, it’s a captive audience! For an hour, your hair stylist can engage them in small talk but then also make sure he or she talks about the cool non-profit in town doing amazing work.
  • Student Body President – High school or college, it doesn’t matter. This person knows what young people care about and, more importantly, how to engage them. You definitely want to have Tracy Flick on your board when the call for more volunteers goes out.

 The idea here is to create a built-in resource tool that doesn’t cost you a thing.

Inventory – How much time does it take for your staffers to perform given tasks? Are they concentrating on what they do best? Or what they love best? Do they feel their department is being run efficiently? What do they think your non-profit does really well? What organizational changes do they recommend? Asking these questions and more will help you gauge how efficiently your non-profit is being run and if your employees are happy with the set up. Best of all, you can create a survey for free and the ideas you hear might save you a pile of cash later on.

Screening – Building a reputation as a solid and reliable non-profit who is a good steward of the community takes time, years even. You don’t want a single act or misstep ruining all your hard work. That’s why it’s imperative that background screening is ALWAYS a top earmark in your budget. Not just for applicants and employees, either, we’re talking volunteers, too. Call us crazy but we’d rather see you protected rather than pummeled in the news, which would surely happen if someone with a wonky record slipped through the cracks. If it happened to these guys, it could certainly happen to you.

 Active Screening has a series of background screening solutions that non-profits can tailor to meet their needs. If the bulk of your volunteers will be driving, perhaps you’d want to enlist our Driver’s Records search. If they might be dispatched to work overseas, you should check out our Global Solutions. Active Screening believes in the power of non-profits to promote good in our world, and we want to help you succeed. Give us a call today at 1-888-319-5580.

This entry was posted in Background Screening, Criminal Records, General, Industry Solutions, Seasonal and tagged , , , , , , , , by Patricia Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.

Patricia Carlson is a content writer who specializes in B2C and B2B inbound marketing. She blogs regularly for clients about the background screening and finance industries, and generates newsletters, white papers and email campaigns for a variety of businesses. Patricia also produces a heavy rotation of editorial material for home design, law enforcement, and family magazines. She’s been writing professionally for more than a dozen years, and for Active Screening for more than two of those. Check out LinkedIn for a roster of Patricia's clients and links to published works. When she’s not interviewing sources or researching trends, she’s living a fast-paced Florida life questioning the antics of her two young children, partner and mischievous cat. Patricia loves to talk tennis and TV on Twitter - give her a shout @pattycfreelance.
Active ScreeningBarbara S.
Healthcare Industry

"Here at Holland Hospital, we have been extremely pleased with Active Screening. The report results come back quickly, usually within 24 hours or less.  The staff at Active Screening is easy accessible, knowledgeable and responds to our questions promptly."

Active ScreeningLynn C. Staffing Industry

"Benton Mobley has been and remains my Main point of contact at Active Screening from the beginning; so aside from the comfort of dealing with the same person all these years, there is the most important fact of all;  customer satisfaction. Benton knows the business like the back of his hand; and that is what we need in our fast paced industry of staffing. He is the all-time BEST!  MY employer, Leslie, believes in the notion that great service deserves to be rewarded, so we are here for the duration.We get immediate and personalized attention for any and all concerns we need addressed, and in the staffing industry, this is vital."

Active ScreeningCayce R. Education Industry

"My experience working with Active Screening for our background check process has been very positive.  The reports are almost always completed in a very timely fashion. The information reported appears to be very thorough and accurate.  On the rare occasions that we have questions or problems, the customer service team is always very quick to respond and resolve the issue.  Overall, I am very pleased with the service I receive from Active Screening."

Active ScreeningCraig H. Staffing Industry

"Your customer service is excellent.  The turn around time on background checks is quite fast.  Excellent work.  I haven't had a single problem."

Active ScreeningJackie C. Education Industry

"I wanted to thank you and your staff for being so patient and working so diligently with the Human Resources staff during our recent endeavor to process all of our work study students through background screenings.  We have never had to process so many requests within such a short period of time before, but thanks to you and your staff we made it. Again thank you, we made a good choice in selecting Active Screening."

Active ScreeningLindsey W.  Financial Industry

"I wanted to share my appreciation for your wonderful service...switching background screening companies could have been a stressful task, but your company made the transition seamless. Your website was extremely easy to navigate and the turn around time has been great. I appreciate when information is missing or entered incorrectly during ordering, your company notifies me right away to ensure that my error does not hold the reports results, causing us a delay in hiring an individual...Active Screening has been great to us and I would definitely refer them to others."

Active ScreeningTerry S. Property Management

"Working with Active Screening over the last year and half has been a wonderful experience. They deliver fast and informative results at the best price. Their level of professionalism and the speed they respond to our issues is a benefit that any company can value from. I would highly recommend using Active Screening and their amazing team."

Active ScreeningYulesis D.  Staffing Industry

“Interactive Response Technologies (IRT) has more than 2,000 employees at multiple locations across the United States. IRT has been using Active Screening to conduct criminal background checks since 2006. During this time, Active Screening has consistently returned accurate reports, usually with less than 48 hours turnaround. If there are any problems or inconsistencies with the reports, their staff has called to notify us so that we can attempt to rectify the situation. The staff at Active Screening is always courteous and congenial over the phone. In our opinion, Active Screening is outstanding.”

Active ScreeningAndy N. Software Provider

 "Active Screening has helped us screen our applicants in record time for more than two years.... we are very impressed with the professionalism and speed with which their service team responds to our questions. They understand our needs and are a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them."

Active ScreeningCassie J. Staffing Industry

"The Active Screening team is very informative; they provided a complete consultation on all the services, so I understood what I needed, and saved me hours and hours of my time learning the various services. Their reputation, as being on the cutting edge of employment screening best practices, certainly held true in this instance. The expertise they brought to the table was invaluable to our understanding of our applicants backgrounds. I highly recommend Active Screening to anyone with the task of screening large numbers of applicants and needing reliable customer support."

Active Screening

With over 20 years of law enforcement experience I can attest to the fact that the strongest predictor of future criminal behavior is a person’s criminal history. As the manager of campus safety at my church, I depend on Active Screening to provide a thorough assessment of every criminal history background check we request. For more than 3 years, Active Screening has been faithful to this task with timely, accurate and reliable service.

Active Screening

We have benefited from knowing that we are not exposing the communities we work with or ourselves to unnecessary risk. We continue to have a perfect record in that we have never had a serious incident with a trip participant causing harm or acting inappropriately with any community member or fellow team member- thank goodness!

Active Screening

I would highly recommend any association or organization who conducts background checks to use Active Screening. In addition to my involvement with WAHA, I am an officer in a corporation with over 500 employees who provide treatment, mental health, and correctional services for children and adolescents. Our company is mandated by law to do comprehensive background searches and I can say with the utmost sincerity that Active Screening product rivals that of any government or other private sector process.

Active Screening

We have used Active Screening and their solution VERITY to screen all our coaches and volunteers working with youth. The online system gives us an easy and cost-effective solution to collecting forms and payments from our applicants...and we simply login to view the results of who passed or failed. It's so easy....thank you Active Screening.