Every business needs to put its dollars to their best use in order to continue to grow. And when your business is a nonprofit, channeling those dollars into mission based work, they are that much more valuable. While following a strategic plan that involves fundraising and establishing grant funding may support your long term growth, sometimes the smallest changes can have the largest impact on your immediate future as well as your long-term outcomes.
Ross Perot once said, “Business is not just doing deals; business is having great products, doing great engineering, and providing great service to customers. Finally, business is a cobweb of human relationships.” Let me share some insight into how these principles can help you better evaluate your current or next partner financial institution.
1) The Basics: Fees
Everyone starts here when evaluating a bank, and for good reason. Just cutting out a $10/month balance fee from your expenses automatically saves your organization $120 annually; for small nonprofits, this savings could pay a utility bill or provide a client service. Review common needs that you have in your day to day banking (wires, cashier’s checks, remote deposit, debit card, foreign usage, ATM), make note of what you’re being charged, and start comparison shopping!
2) Convenience: ATMs, Mobile Features, RDC
That first word means different things to different people. Convenience might mean having a branch on every street corner because you regularly need to make cash transactions. For most of my nonprofit clients, an employee or volunteer’s time out of the office costs the organization valuable time that could have been spent on a special project, on a call to a donor, or working with clients. Investigate options that will help your organization save time, like Mobile Deposit or Remote Deposit Capture, which will reduce time out of the office, often cost less than the gas to get to the bank (if there is a charge) and ultimately save money!
3) Fringe Benefits
After all this talk about saving dollars, here I am to remind you of an old adage: Sometimes, money isn’t everything. As Perot said, a key component of business is relationships. Make sure that no matter where you land that you build a strong relationship with a banker; a talented banker’s personal attention, coaching, and recommendations could help you find cost savings, direct you to free services, and connect you with other clients or business partners who share your passion.
Whatever financial institution with which you choose to partner, ensure that you and your banker take the time to maximize your benefits. There are many options out there, and a lot of benefits to be had if you do some shopping. Thanks to online banking and other supporting computer software, changing banks isn’t the hurdle that you might think it could be. There is no one size fits all financial institution, so know your value, and keep looking until you find what fits your organization best.
Katie Zacherle manages the Richmond offices of Middleburg Bank, a 90 year old community bank, which has been in the region since the fall of 20ll. Middleburg Bank helps individuals, families, and businesses across Virginia meet their financial goals with a broad range of financial services. Through their personal service and strong client relationships, they have earned the distinction of being “Neighbors You Can Bank On'”