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.
If you work in a state agency, school district or non-profit, the purchasing process can be fairly intimidating. You are often bound by rules that make you jump through hoops like the RFP process, the competitive solicitation process and probably some internal processes unique to your organization. Sourcewell designed a system to bypass some of the more energy-wasting, time-consuming aspects of the purchasing process. They do it with something called cooperative purchasing.
What is Cooperative Purchasing?
Cooperative purchasing is a way of leveraging purchasing power to negotiate better, more realistic prices for nonprofits, school districts and state agencies. If a single organization engages with a vendor to get a product or service (like they do with the traditional RFP process) they only have their own purchasing power for negotiation.
On the other hand, Sourcewell has the purchasing power of thousands upon thousands of organizations that they can leverage to obtain better pricing for each individual organization they partner with. Not only does Sourcewell make things easier on the purchasing side of things through their cooperative contracts, but they also simplify things on the vendor end. Because Sourcewell creates cooperative contracts that do the majority of the work ahead of time, vendors that have been approved are ready to provide their goods to state agencies, school districts and nonprofits.
If you have ever gone through an RFP process, this is an exciting prospect. Here are a few myths preventing qualifying organizations to reap the benefits of Sourcewell cooperative purchasing.
Myth #1: Sourcewell is a new thing
In most organizations, nobody wants to be the first to try something. So, jumping into a purchasing process that may be new to you, new to your organization or new to your business manager is intimidating. The truth is, Sourcewell has been around for more than 20 years, and they have been saving organizations time and money since the beginning.
Myth #2: It won’t work for us
There’s only one way to know for sure if Sourcewell cooperative purchasing will or won't work for your organization: check with your business manager or purchasing department. You might be surprised to find out other departments in your agency or school are already using Sourcewell.
Myth #3: We aren’t members
Again, you may be a member and not even know it. Seriously, check with your business manager or purchasing department. It's almost unreal how often a separate department is already benefiting from Sourcewell without you even knowing it. Furthermore, it’s free for agencies, school districts and nonprofits to join, so why not do it? The costs for all the upfront work that Sourcewell does is paid for by the vendors who get approved by the alliance, not member organizations.
Myth #4: There’s no way Sourcewell can meet all of our purchasing requirements
It may seem like your agency’s processes are unique and difficult and even insurmountable, but they aren’t. Sourcewell’s business model aligns with processes and makes the purchasing of goods and services easy. Simple as that. They may not be able to meet your needs 100 percent of the time, but check out what they can provide. You might be surprised.
Sourcewell cooperative purchasing makes goods and services more accessible to agencies, school districts and nonprofits. In many ways, Sourcewell paves the way for cost-saving efficiencies.