Manage the Budget, Don’t Break the Bank…
“For All Mankind” is a 2020-2023 Apple TV series that depicts an alternate history of the Space Race of the 1960s. In this storyline amongst other interesting twists, NASA is a fully self-funded organization that becomes independent of the US government budgetary process. Through patent royalty of its technology and products it generates sufficient revenue to fund its moon and mars mission objectives. Can such a model be achieved by non-profit organizations working to deliver community service programs? Some have been able to do it but most struggle.
In a 2020 survey of 150+ organizations providing transportation to the special needs, elderly, and disabled community SPEDSTA gathered some of the best ideas that are practically being used to self-fund their programs:
- Donation requests: most recipients of subsidized or free transportation don’t have the resources to pay for their rides. It turns out though that there is 2-5% of the population of riders that can pay and those donors can be a significant source of funding. A simple methodology built into SPEDSTA is the ability to send printable and custom invoices to riders and even their family members. By letting them know the # of rides taken and the estimated cost of the rides, it can be a valuable way to let members know the value that you are providing the community. Like with any reciprocal relationship, people are wired to give back in some way and those that can…can give back in a big way.
- Accurate reporting: by providing accurate and timely data to private donors and granting organizations you provide instant credibility on the ability of your team to execute on their mission to provide rides to their community. Not only does this show that you are responsible stewards of their precious dollars it allows you to show improvements on what was done before. SPEDSTA provides over 20+ instant reports along with the capability to create custom reports/charts in a few clicks. SPEDSTA has all required data points used by the NTD reporting and Office on Aging Title III federal funding.
- Ride accounting: riders can qualify for multiple types of funding for their particular rides. For example, a rider can get 20% of their ride covered by Grant A, 60% by Grant B, and then they contribute 20% to the ride cost. Having a simplified way to capture who pays for what and how much is a key way to keep your program efficient and lean. SPEDSTA provides several tools to help in this including full-ride accounting for every passenger member which includes the ability to enter funds based on a check, credit, or grant source. Included in this is the ability then to draw down from that account based on rides taken and then allocate the costing and invoicing to the various grants as needed.
- Digital payments: in some cases how rides are charged can be complex based on mileage, flat rates, discounted rates, time-of-day, unloaded miles, and dozens of other factors. SPEDSTA has created an all-in-one rate creation tool that takes all the headaches of tracking these variables and can be assigned across your entire community or even specifically for every individual. Along with this capability to create weekly or annual reports on payments, SPEDSTA has an optional service that allows you to charge directly the passenger through credit card processing at booking or during some weekly/monthly cadence.
- Leverage partners in your community: As your driver pool grows, this can be a valuable resource for other organizations in your community that is also providing services to the elderly, disabled, or special needs community. For example, a medical clinic has many patients that are coming to its doors but sometimes these clients do not have the transportation options to get there. By leveraging SPEDSTA’s partner service, these medical clinics can directly book and request rides directly from your organization. An agreement can then be set up where that Medical clinic would pay your organization a set fee for that service. A win-win for your transportation program and your partners
The above ideas are just a sample of some of the many ways that can help self-fund your transportation program. SPEDSTA’s tools are available now to help you get there sooner rather than later.