Nonprofits are finding creative new ways to raise funds, cut costs

June 13, 2014

Nonprofits are finding creative new ways to raise funds, cut costs

In Kentucky, local nonprofits saw a boost in funding from this year's annual Kentucky Gives Day. More than 400 nonprofits in the state participated in the Web-based fundraiser, hosted at, according to WYMT. The event raised more than $330,000 for the organizations and will likely be held again in 2015.

Nonprofits in states around the country have held similar "give days," most of which take a Web-based approach to fundraising. While the funds are ultimately spread fairly thin, the cost to participate is essentially zero to each of the organizations involved. With a single marketing campaign and one website, hundreds of organizations can benefit. While crowdfunding does not replace more traditional forms of engagement with donors, it is an inexpensive way to raise some extra funds.

Crowdfunding is just one of the many methods organizations are utilizing to keep their books balanced as they continue to recover from the recession. The past five years exposed the fragility of many organizations, and nonprofits have realized that they must be far more conscious about their budgets. While many see the need to save more money in case another recession hits, no groups want to cut programs. To make sure that operations don't suffer because of tight budgets, nonprofits must take advantage of all the opportunities they can to improve their finances.

The benefits of becoming a reimbursing employer
One cost-saving measure that many organizations are not familiar with is the ability to opt out of state unemployment insurance tax (SUTA) pools. One of the many financial blows that was dealt to nonprofits during the Great Recession was the increasing cost of SUTA contributions resulting from extraordinarily high benefit payouts that overwhelmed state unemployment agencies funds. SUTA funded risk pools are unpredictable during good economic times and nearly guaranteed to rise during bad periods. The best move for any nonprofit regardless of the current economic climate is to become a reimbursing employer.

Under this designation, nonprofits are responsible only for the actual amount of money paid out to former employees as unemployment insurance (UI) claims. A nonprofit with no unemployment would have no costs. However, if unemployment does spike, the nonprofit could struggle to pay the state unless it has an alternative financing option. Nonprofits should meet with a professional organization that can determine the best method for satisfying their UI obligations when they have made the decision to opt out of SUI tax pools.

Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.


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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

First Nonprofit has been easy to work with and makes the administrative process easier and smoother. We enjoy working with you.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

The Ensight Skills Center has enjoyed working with First Nonprofit for several years. We are enrolled in their Unemployment Savings Program and although we have not required a lot of intervention, there have been a few times. I know others have dealt with the same problem of unemployment fraud over the last year and in our case, a call to First Nonprofit (they actually answer their phones) cleared up the issue. They also sent us a letter to send to all our employees telling them what they needed to do to prevent this in the future and protect themselves. What a relief! Over the years if I have questions or concerns, they are happy to listen, advise and help if they can. Another BIG advantage of using First Nonprofit is that all the money that is paid into the Unemployment Savings Program lives on my balance sheet as an asset. The money continues to be Ensight’s not the governments. First Nonprofit has certainly given me peace of mind.

Ensight Skills Center, Inc, Fort Collins, CO