In the last five years, there has been an explosion of interest in the importance of resources for both nonprofit organizations and social enterprises. Nonprofits need to be able to access enough resources to fulfill their mission, while also using them efficiently, so that they can maximize impact with limited budgets. 

In this piece we will look at how you can maximize your organization’s resources by identifying key areas where you can save time, money or energy through streamlining processes, making better use of technology, and more.

Identify key resources that are critical to the organization’s mission and strategic goals.

Resources are defined as anything an organization needs to achieve its mission and strategic goals, including people, money, time and equipment. 

Identifying your mission critical resources will help you determine how to maximize them and ensure they’re used in a way that benefits your clients/customers/constituents (the people you serve).

It will also make things easier when it is time to ‘cut back’ as you know already what’s important to your success (and therefore, what isn’t).

Prioritize the allocation of resources based on the needs of the organization. 

Organizations that prioritize the allocation of resources based on the needs of the organization are likely to be more effective in achieving their goals. For example, professional development for managers/staff may lead to increased productivity and better outcomes for clients.

Streamline processes and eliminate unnecessary tasks to save time and resources. 

This streamlining process might involve implementing new technologies or reorganizing workflows. For example, you can streamline the process of updating client records by using a new software system that automatically updates client data across all programs in your organization. Or if you have multiple intake coordinators working on intake forms for different programs, consider moving one person into this role so that there’s only one person responsible for coordinating intakes across all programs (and therefore no overlap).

Leverage partnerships and collaborations to access additional resources or share the cost of resources. 

You can maximize resources by forming partnerships and collaborations with other organizations. This may be through joint funding, sharing of resources, or pooling funds from multiple sources.

  • Identify potential partners. You might begin by thinking of organizations that serve similar populations and have similar programs; for example, an animal shelter could partner with a food bank to distribute pet food to low-income families who need help feeding their pets.
  • Create a partnership agreement that sets out how the partnership will work (e.g., how much money each party contributes). The agreement should also clearly define roles and responsibilities for each partner so there is no confusion about who is responsible for what tasks within the project or initiative being implemented together by all parties involved in making it happen successfully.
    • Manage your partnership well throughout its duration by keeping track of progress toward achieving goals outlined in any contracts signed between them; this includes regularly communicating updates back-and-forth between partners so everyone knows where things stand at any given time.

Track the use of resources to identify areas where they can be used more efficiently.

The use of data to identify opportunities for improvement is a common practice in the for-profit world, but it’s not often used in human service organizations. Organizations can use their own data or purchase outside reports to gain insights into how resources are being used. Data can include:

  • How resources are being used by type (for example, money or time).
  • How resources are being used by individual staff members, including those who work remotely or part-time.

This information will help you determine whether some staff members need additional training on how best to use certain types of resources so they can maximize their effectiveness within the organization’s mission statement while also saving money on unnecessary purchases

Look for opportunities to generate additional resources, such as through fundraising or grants.

If you’re working in the human services field, it’s important to look for opportunities to generate additional resources.

  • Raise money from private and public sources. You can raise funds through events like yard sales or bake sales, or by applying for grants from foundations and government agencies.
  • Seek grant funding for your organization’s activities. If your nonprofit has been around long enough that it has an established track record of providing services to clients, then it might be worthwhile to apply for federal funding through programs such as AmeriCorps or Social Innovation Fund (SIF).
  • Look for ways to generate revenue from services and products offered by your organization–this will help offset some of your operating costs while also increasing cash flow during slow periods like summer months when demand may be lower than usual due to weather conditions or holidays.
  • Reduce costs wherever possible – things like reducing staff salaries/benefits packages may seem counterintuitive at first glance but can actually be beneficial over time if done right because then when clientele increases again later down line those same employees won’t need raises since their current salary/benefit package is already high enough (or vice versa depending upon circumstances).

Foster a culture of resource conservation and efficiency within the organization. 

Encourage staff to identify and implement ways to save resources, and recognize those who make significant contributions in this area.

The culture of resource conservation and efficiency is an important factor in determining the success of an organization. We have all heard stories about how an individual or department saved money by reducing their energy use, buying less expensive cleaning products, or switching to a more sustainable supply chain.

In order for your organization to realize these benefits on a larger scale, you must foster a culture that encourages staff members to identify opportunities for saving resources and then implement those changes effectively. This can be achieved through education programs and recognition programs that reward those who make significant contributions in this area.

Human service organizations have a responsibility to use their resources efficiently and effectively. This is not only good for the organization, but also contributes to better outcomes for clients and other stakeholders. By carefully identifying your organization’s key resources and prioritizing how they are allocated, you can improve productivity while still meeting your goals.

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