Buying Office Supplies: How To Save Hundreds of Dollars

Every nonprofit or charity needs office supplies. You have to have paper, printers, staples, envelopes, etc… No argument, so how do you fill this need without breaking the bank?

There are a few ways to acquire office supplies. The best way is to get them donated. As a non-profit there is a good chance that you can or do get supplies donated. Unfortunately it’s hit or miss. You may get boxes full of binders, which is nice, but not too helpfull when what you really need is toner for your office printer. If you’re not getting people calling offering donations of office supplies, you should try contacting your local non-profit resource center.

Here in Sacramento we have the Nonprofit Resource Center which has a page on their website that lists free stuff that local business are getting rid of. If you don’t know of a nonprofit resource center in your area try contacting your local library and see if they know of one.

If you can’t get office products donated then you have to purchase them. When I started at my current organization I was put in charge of ordering office supplies. We used a mail order company called Give Something Back – a great company that gives all their profits back to community organizations. Give Something Back is great, but I found they didn’t always have the lowest prices. So, I set out to find some lower prices. I was especially looking for better pricing on laser printer toner.

After much searching around and price comparison I’ve settled upon three facts that have saved hundreds of dollars.

1. For small office products, like scissors, pens, and paper clips, my traditional office supply company, Give Something Back, has great prices. And with free next day shipping it’s just cheaper to buy from them.

2. The internet is your greatest friend. Google has a product search page. Just go to www.google.com/products then search for the product you want. Google will give you prices for that product from every store it can. Choose the cheapest and save some money.

3. The majority of the time Amazon.com has the cheapest prices. As I was using the google product search I noticed that most of the time Amazon came up as the cheapest. Plus with amazon you get all the reviews, ratings, and the ease of mind knowing you’re dealing with a trusted business. I now order most of my larger purchases from Amazon.

With these three tips I’m saving hundreds of dollars a month. That’s hundreds of dollars that can go to helping the homeless. What will hundreds of dollars help your organization do? Tell us in the comments.

Photo Credit House of Sims

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