When we talk about Sourcewell and the cooperative contract business model, we often talk about the big three customers: state government agencies, school districts and nonprofits. But in under the nonprofit umbrella, there is a lot of variety. We called David Duhn, Sourcewell's Lead Contract Administrator to talk about some of the nonprofits that use Sourcewell’s services.
What is Sourcewell?
Sourcewell works to help nonprofits and governmental organizations purchase goods and services quickly and economically. Sourcewell expedites purchases by creating partnerships so state agencies and schools don’t have to go through the RFP and competitive solicitations process.
And Sourcewell is growing fast. In 2009, they facilitated the purchase of $250 million in goods and services. This past year, that number was over $2 billion.
What is the Purpose of a Cooperative Contract?
Through cooperative contracts, Sourcewell gives qualifying organizations access to great prices on goods and services. They are able to do this by leveraging their collective buying power to negotiate better agreements. For example, if a local credit union needs an updated phone system, the business can go through Sourcewell to purchase the phone system they need at a pre-negotiated rate that's much lower than what they could've gotten by following the RFP process.
During our call, Dave shared a list of types of organizations that regularly use Sourcewell:
- Credit Unions
- Housing Authorities
- Water Districts
- Native American Tribes
Despite their differences, all of these organizations have certain things in common. For starters, they often work within restricted budgets, and they are usually accountable to outside interests for their purchases.
In the end, Dave said the organizations using Sourcewell don’t need to get the bare-bones lowest possible price on a good or service. They just want a fair price for the products and services they require. That’s why they come to Sourcewell.