Develop a Fee-for-Service Program to Diversify Revenue

Introduction

Does your organization have a fee-for-service program? I recently had the opportunity to sit down with a local United Way chapter that was looking to hire a new executive. Some of the things that we discussed included:

  • A review of their financial statements
  • Importance of development of a planned giving/endowment program
  • Improving the organization’s messaging

Additionally – and the purpose of this post – I made sure to discuss the importance of fee-for-service programs in an effort to diversify fundraising. Since its founding, the United Way’s primary fundraising strategy has been workplace campaigns, but in the era of direct donations online right to funded agencies, donations from youth and other tech-savvy individuals to the United Way have been falling.

This is where fee-for-service programs can come in handy. These training sessions and services provide value to the nonprofits while also diversifying the United Way’s fundraising.

Types of Training

As the Director of Online Support at Distress Centre Durham, I led training sessions in topics including:

  • Creating an Online Text and Chat Program
  • Providing Crisis Intervention via Text and Chat
  • DCIB/CPR Suicide Risk Assessment
  • Using the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment
  • Youth Suicide Prevention

These sessions ranged in length from 45 minute “Lunch and Learns” up to full day training sessions designed to Train the Trainer who would go back to their own organization and train volunteers or other staff. Your organization will obviously tailor the types of training that you provide depending on your service.

For example, an organization that works with women fleeing intimate partner violence might offer training sessions like:

  • Working with Abused Women
  • Running a Shelter
  • Providing Intimate Partner/Domestic Violence (IPV/DV) Services via the Phone
  • Intimate Partner Violence Assessment

These trainings may be prepared for other service providers, for individuals in the community like therapists and counsellors, or even over the internet via e-learning. E-learning is an under-utilized form of training in the nonprofit world, and once the course is developed the majority of your organization’s time is spent updating and revising the material yearly.

Board Training

If your organization is a cornerstone in the community like the United Way is, developing a comprehensive Board of Directors Training can be a lucrative revenue source. Even small communities have several organizations, while larger ones will have dozens of Boards. Board Training improves those organization’s capacity to govern their organization while generating revenue for your organization. As Boards naturally have turnover, this can represent a recurring revenue source.

Providing Services to Other Nonprofits

Services are also an option for a nonprofit to expand. For example, I’ve prepared Social Return on Investment (SROI) Reports that demonstrate the value your organization gives over and above the mere dollar donated can be significant in demonstrating your value proposition. A dollar donated to the United Way or another organization that is at the center of the nonprofit ecosystem can go much further than if it is donated directly to the partner agencies.

Here is a one slide from the SROI Analysis that I conducted for Distress Centre Durham’s helpline program:

Other opportunities abound depending on your specific skills and training.

For example, I directed the Evaluation Program for our Basic Helpline Training at Distress Centre Durham. This involved pre-and-post knowledge and attitude surveys that were examined. I built automated tools in Excel to sharply reduce the labor required (so that any student or intern could plug in the numbers and it would spit out the evaluation.) When certain questions were not being answered correctly, the training was adjusted.

You can help organizations develop these kind of tools and to build their own evaluation programs to give them the data that they need.

Train-the-Trainer

Some organizations specifically provide T4T (Train the Trainer) programs. Completing these programs entitle you to lead the training programs. Leaning on my work in suicide prevention, there are several options that you can use to bring Suicide Awareness or Assessment/Intervention Training to your community.

The QPR Institute provides QPR Suicide Gatekeeper Instructor Training forĀ $500. QPR Certified Instructors (who can take an e-learning course in order to get certified) may charge $20 per participant for 2 hours of suicide awareness training.

A similar program is offered by LivingWorks and called safeTALK. safeTALK costs $1000 for the 1-day training program, and the instructors may charge $50-100 per participant for the 3-hour training program.

Finally, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is a 2-day suicide risk assessment and intervention program. The LivingWorks ASIST Instructor program costs $2500 for the 5 days of training, and participants are charged $100-300.

Case Study: The United Way

The United Way has opportunities to reinvent themselves as a critical source of support – and not just financially – for all nonprofits in their community. Going beyond the traditional workplace campaign and volunteer resource center, United Way can become essential. For example, a nonprofit decides they need to improve their fundraising and strategic direction and they contact their local United Way.

The United Way provides them with free Board of Directors e-learning, which helps the Directors learn the importance of a strong outcome and evaluation program. They decide to pay for an SROI Analysis to be conducted on their most valuable program; that evaluation indicates that for every $1 invested in their program, $4 is generated in social value to the community.

Armed with that knowledge, they approach a new funder and get funding for a youth mentoring program. In order to make sure that all their Mentors are equipped the best they can, the nonprofit notes in their application that all staff and volunteers working with youth will receive QPR Suicide Awareness Training.

The United Way generates revenue from the SROI Analysis and the QPR Training, while the nonprofit improves their fundraising by better telling their story. As the Board of Directors naturally changes in composition, those individuals may take their knowledge of Board training to their new organization – increasing your reach.

Conclusion

Does your nonprofit generate revenue with fee-for-service programs? Would you like to? Share below. As well, if you’re looking for information on outcomes or evaluations feel free to contact me.

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