Identifying Mission Friendly Vendors: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
Not all for-profit corporations will have your mission’s best interests at heart. In fact, some vendors can be harmful to your NPO. How can you identify mission friendly vendors that will help you move your vision forward?
What is a Vendor for a Non-Profit Organization?
A vendor is any organization your non-profit partners with to provide supplies or services. Non-profit organizations must be sure that they are using mission friendly vendors, meaning they should always choose vendors whose goals, vision, and business dealings are transparent and honest.
“You are judged by the company you keep” is a good mantra for your NPO to practice as you look for vendors.
Can a Nonprofit Partner with a For-Profit Organization?
Nonprofits can partner with for-profit organization and will bring a lot of benefits to the table for the for-profit business, such as:
- Increased sales
- Better “perceived” value of the business within its community and
- Boosted brand recognition
- Improved employee satisfaction and engagement
- Improved Corporate Citizen Profiles
The benefits to the nonprofit can include free or reduced costs for products and services, an increase in the donor base, brand recognition for the nonprofit, venues for events, and more.
Where do We Start in Our Search for Mission Friendly Vendors?
It’s helpful to understand what your potential third party vendor stands for. Are they known for charitable activities, or partnering with other non-profits?
You can find out more about the company by poking around its website. Look for:
- A mission statement
- The company’s work culture
- Testimonials from clients and other NPOs
Next, do a little more digging. Look for reviews online, and don’t hesitate to reach out to any other NPO partners your potential vendor is working with.
When evaluating a mission friendly vendor, you’re looking specifically for organizations that:
Are active in the community: Does the company display an interest in supporting other non-profits? Check the vendor’s Corporate Citizenship Profile to see how the company interacts with their community.
Practice honesty: Is the company honest and transparent with their business dealings? You don’t want your non-profit to be aligned with an organization that has a history of shady business practices.
Promise same-level service as provided to for-profit organizations: A mission friendly vendor will treat your NPO with the same respect as they provide for-profit organizations.
Are committed to helping non-profits succeed: Does your potential vendor have a history of supporting non-profits? Reach out to other non-profits who have partnered with your potential vendor to see how committed the organization is to helping NPOs succeed.
Are Aligned with Your Mission: Mission friendly vendors are organizations that share your NPOs goals and vision. If your NPO advocates for fair and humane treatment of the Yeti, you don’t want to partner with a vendor who equips Bigfoot hunters. Look for their mission statement, and make sure it aligns with your own mission statement.
The Benefits of Nonprofit Outsourcing Services
Many nonprofits lack the resources or expertise to run the organization efficiently. Nonprofits can find mission friendly vendors for outsourcing some key functions, such as:
- Accounting for NPOs
- IT services for nonprofits
- Payroll for paid employees of the NPO
- Media outreach to increase awareness of the NPOs mission
- Legal services and regulatory compliance to ensure the NPO is following all applicable laws
How can outsourcing help your organization?
Outsourcing IT services for nonprofits, for instance, will ensure that your organization has access to the technology and skills that would otherwise be unavailable to you, often at lower prices than you would find on your own. By using IT services for nonprofits you are providing protections for sensitive data, such as stored financial information about your donors. Many managed services providers offer third-party vendor management, which takes the responsibility of finding mission friendly vendors off your plate.
In other words, outsourcing key services will benefit your organization on many levels.
Your Free Mission Friendly Vendor Checklist
Iconic IT’s mission friendly vendor checklist will help you take the guesswork out of choosing your partners. This handy resource will show you how to assess your business relationships to make sure your partners are mission friendly vendors who will help your NPO move forward.