How to Help Nonprofits Own Efficiency and Effectiveness through Shared Services
As a Nonprofit Center, Serve Denton’s mission is simple: partner with nonprofits to make their services more accessible to people in need.
One way we partner is through our Shared Services program that assists nonprofits in vital operational areas where they could use some help.
We do it so they can focus on their mission in serving clients.
Over the years, we have seen many nonprofits doing their best but lacking the resources and expertise in marketing, financial management, development, and program evaluation.
Our overarching strategic goal has always been to grow capacity and help nonprofits operate with excellence–so stepping in to fill this gap was a no-brainer.
After all, the need for support is evident.
But with nonprofits having varying levels of resources and differing needs, how do you achieve that goal?
We started receiving requests for help, and we had conversations with nonprofit leaders to understand better what they needed most.
We were determined to deliver on our promise to help nonprofits operate with excellence and grow capacity. But if we were going to make this happen, we needed to make sure our vision would meet the demand.
We talked to our funders, such as the City of Denton, Denton Benefit League, and other foundations. We pitched our idea of Shared Services as the solution to these problems.
Based upon those conversations, we launched Shared Services as part of our Nonprofit Accelerator program open to any nonprofit in the Dallas-Ft Worth region.
We planned. We refined. We implemented.
We then implemented a few pilot projects, which proved to be successful. Our staff and board members heard exceptional feedback about our work from our customers.
One example is our pilot project with Shiloh Field Community Garden, which required us to create a website and clarify their message through brand strategy.
Although they have operated the largest community garden in the entire U.S. for the last decade, they struggled with marketing efforts due to limited expertise and resources. Shiloh Field’s entire productive capacity relies on volunteers. So recruiting volunteers is imperative to their ability to achieve their mission to feed hungry people.
We constructed a sleek website with clear calls to action through our Shared Services program. We created a video tailored to encapsulate their vision and move viewers to volunteer. Our efforts helped Shiloh Field tell its story and increase volunteerism from 11,359 hours in 2020 to 13,890 hours in 2021—a 22 percent increase!
A project of this scale would typically cost tens of thousands of dollars at a traditional marketing firm. But by partnering with our Shared Services, they accomplished their vision at a fraction of the price. Partnering this way saved the garden money and freed their remaining resources to go directly to their mission: feeding hungry people.
This capacity growth is the beauty of shared services in action.
With these successes under our belt, we launched our Shared Services program in January 2022.
Shared Services was designed to remove the burden of resources and time so nonprofits can do more of what they do best. We do this through offering expertise in essential operational skills such as:
- Program Planning and Evaluation
- Financial Management
- Marketing and Media
- Development Support
- Nonprofit Center Development
Since the launch, we have had quite a few organizations inquire from Dallas-Ft Worth area and started working with several. We are looking forward to seeing the impact over time.
If you are interested in pursuing a program like this, start with the ABCs.
- Assess your strengths and build on what you are good at doing.
How can you harness the power of your greatest assets?
2. Brainstorm the needs and interests of your current partners.
What can you implement to alleviate their pain points?
3. Create pilot projects that will set you up for success.
Plan, refine, implement, repeat.
4. Deliver value and results that enhance your tenant’s mission.
Create raving fans!
The need within nonprofits is pressing, and there are many opportunities to make a difference.
What next steps will you take in helping your nonprofits operate with excellence?