Whether you're the head of a small nonprofit, the superintendent of a school district or the director of a government agency, it's important for you to know about Sourcewell. Sourcewell is an organization that helps not-for-profit entities secure the equipment and technology required to stay competitive in our modern world, without facing the frustrations and potential issues involved with vendor selection or the RFP process.
For those of you who manage
Government, education and nonprofit agencies typically have two options when it comes to purchasing a phone system and satisfying their competitive solicitation requirement:
With how complex everything seems to be these days, we tend to get a little cautious when we happen upon a well-meaning organization claiming to have a way to bring simplicity to one or more areas of your professional life.
I get it. People usually have pretty good reasons for approaching new opportunities with caution. And I see it all the time with Sourcewell. It seems a little too good to be true when you first hear about how it works.
How much time do you think you spend just trying to communicate with co-workers? Subtract the time you actually have productive conversations – instead add up the time it takes to hunt down your targeted conversationalist.
More often than not, projects are stalled because you're trying to track down that one person who has the information or permission you need. In order for the project to move, time is wasted searching for your co-communicator, calling their office, texting their phone, emailing, etc. Until you finally reach them and get the information you need to keep your project moving.
Each generation has its own memory of being called down to the school office. Some experienced a knock at the door by the school secretary. Others remember the request broadcast over a PA system or announced by the teacher after a call on the classroom telephone. It's a familiar scene. The request was typically followed by taunting oohs and ahhs from the rest of the class and a sinking feeling of uncertainty as you wondered what awaited at the office.
A non-profit organization faces unique challenges, including a few struggles here and there just to keep the lights on. In fact, the operational aspects that most people in for-profit organizations take for granted every day - utilities, insurance, maintenance, IT - can be problematic in a non-profit setting where financial decisions are scrutinized and money is earmarked.
To help non-profits, it's important to learn about their particular circumstances and limitations. We at Marco have worked hard to understand, actively listen to and propose solutions for non-profits in ways that make sense within the mission of each particular non-profit.
One of the tools that can help a non-profit in many ways is Sourcewell. Sourcewell, formerly known as NJPA, was conceived and is currently run as a clearinghouse for products and services that can be purchased by government state agencies, school districts and non-profits. Sourcewell has already done the heavy lifting as it pertains to competitive solicitations, allowing organizations to simply select a product or service and purchase it without all of the bureaucracy.
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.
It can be difficult for any organization to keep pace with rapidly changing technology, especially considering the expense typically associated with doing so.
Not-for-profit organizations are met with budgetary and process challenges that make investing in the technology they need difficult. But, with the help of cooperative contracts from Sourcewell, these entities can simplify their purchase process and meet budget requirements when it's time to purchase new or upgrade their existing technology.
It usually takes a few sentences to explain to people what Sourcewell is, but trust me, it’s worth it. First, it’s an organization set up to help state and local agencies, nonprofits and school districts expedite purchases. The organization does all the leg work for purchases, including vetting the quality of vendors.
What you see as a purchaser of these products is a select vendors at competitive pricing. If you belong to a state agency, local agency, school district, non-profit organization (including hospitals), tribal institution, etc., your organization can take advantage of this service without additional cost.
So how do you know if your organization should investigate cooperative contracts using Sourcewell? Here are questions to ask...