Nonprofits should turn to experts to save money

January 28, 2014

Nonprofits should turn to experts to save money

As nonprofits look to improve their budgets in the coming year, they should consider enlisting the help of consultants – both pro bono and paid. While volunteers were once expected to perform the more mundane tasks at a nonprofit, such as handing out fliers or making phone calls for donations, times are changing. The aging baby boomer population is highly educated and many are looking for ways to give back in their retirement.

Reaching out to volunteers who can help with more big-picture duties, such as legal issues, can save nonprofits expenses on needed services.  However, there are also some risks associated with giving volunteers too much responsibility. They will not have any obligation to stay with the organization, so make sure someone is available to take over the work if they suddenly leave. Regardless of how long they stay, their help may provide you the chance to gain some ground in other areas.

Paid experts can also save nonprofits money
Many organizations may be struggling with the more complex issues of fundraising, financial planning and tax obligations. While there are many consultants that can help businesses with back-office operations, nonprofits need people who know the terrain. For example, nonprofits have a rare opportunity to save on unemployment insurance costs.

While nonprofits must pay state unemployment insurance taxes, they can opt of tax pools that could be costing them more money than they need to pay. By opting out, organizations are responsible only for the actual amount that is paid out in unemployment claims. Organizations with no unemployment claims would actually have no cost.

Opting out of state unemployment insurance tax pools requires guidance
However, the option to leave SIU tax pools is not without risks and organizations that do so without consultation can expose their companies to unexpected liabilities. For this reason, it is in a nonprofit's best interest to enlist the help of professionals that can navigate the confusing rules regarding the decision to self-reimburse.

Companies such as First Nonprofit offer services that can help organizations select the funding plan for unemployment insurance. Membership in their savings program is often less risky than self-reimbursing, but only experts can determine the best way to meet UI responsibilities.

For information on how your organization can cost-effectively meet its unemployment insurance needs, contact First Nonprofit Companies at or visit


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CCSCT was approached by First NonProfit to discuss its Unemployment Savings Program and ways the program could significantly reduce the amount of unemployment taxes we were paying. At the time, our agency was paying approximately $80,000 per year. First NonProfit conducted an analysis to determine if making the switch would be in our best interest, and it clearly was based on our circumstances. The first year on the program, CCSCT saw a 70% reduction in its unemployment costs and each year, continues to experience further reductions as a result of having minimal claims. Some additional benefits of the program including having a fixed annual cost, an interest-baring reserve account, professional unemployment claims management and representation at all unemployment hearings. This has been one of the best decisions we have made.

Community Council of South Central Texas, Inc., Seguin, TX

We first started using First Nonprofit’s Unemployment Savings Program when we were a small startup nonprofit.  We didn’t have an HR department and needed expertise in the event that an unemployment claim was made.  We knew we were eligible to be a reimbursing employer, but weren’t sure how to navigate that process.  They made it easy to set things up, plan for, and then manage claims when they came at a very reasonable cost. The amount of time and stress they’ve saved us dealing with all this has been worth way more than the cost.  We’ve now grown to a large nonprofit and do have an HR department but have no plans to stop using their services.  I highly recommend them to every nonprofit I come into contact with!


Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios.

Thresholds, Chicago, IL

NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.

New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Luckily for us, our interactions regarding any issues with staffing has been very minimal! I can say that all other interactions with regards to billing, 941 reporting, etc. have been extremely pleasant, accommodating and easy to work with. Kim Ghanayem is always prompt, professional and friendly. Thank you so much!

Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ