When you think of “coworking” you might imagine a community of entrepreneurs, coders, and digital nomads. And while you are likely to find these groups at your local coworking space, you will also find another important sector: nonprofits.
In fact, coworking is a match made in heaven for a small nonprofit. Small and emerging nonprofit teams have ambitious missions and limited resources. Coworking can provide the communal support and physical amenities that nonprofits need so they can focus on doing the important things that advance their mission. So if you are looking for traditional nonprofit office space, consider coworking instead.
Here are three ways small nonprofits can benefit from coworking:
1. Meeting and event space
Most nonprofits need a space to hold board meetings, and perhaps some community events, workshops or trainings. Renting a space large enough to accommodate such events can be costly, but most coworking spaces include meeting rooms and event space in a monthly membership fee. At Groundwork, we have four rooms available in New Bedford and two in Fall River for our members to use. They are all equipped with presentation technology. Here’s what Jennifer Downing, Executive Director of Leadership SouthCoast, shares about her experience at Groundwork:
Coworking has been a perfect arrangement for Leadership SouthCoast. Not only does it totally work within our small budget, but we have valued tremendously from the conference spaces available to accommodate our many volunteer-lead committees and board meetings.Jennifer Downing, Executive Director, Leadership SouthCoast
2. Time saving
Nonprofit directors and their staff wear many hats– from programming, to fundraising, to communications and promotion. Office management brings its own set of headaches that include paying utility bills, negotiating with a landlord, purchasing furnishing and office supplies, and troubleshooting the printer when it doesn’t work.
Coworking spaces are fully managed offices– you can plug in your laptop and get to work. We worry about keeping the coffee fresh, restocking the printer paper, keeping things clean, and maintaining furniture. This creates a huge time savings for any small team- nonprofit and otherwise. Here’s a word on that from the South Coast LGBTQ Network:
It’s a bright, clean workspace where there’s always someone available to help you find what you need. They provide an office copier, supplies and make sure there’s always a pot of coffee and snacks in the kitchen. We especially benefit from the three conference rooms for meetings, trainings and even some programs. Building an inclusive community is a key a priority at Groundwork that fits right into our mission and makes everyone feel welcome.Rebecca McCullough, South Coast LGBTQ Network
3. Network building
All nonprofits depend on building community to sustain their work. Coworking spaces are great because the community is built into the office experience. At Groundwork, we list all of our nonprofit member events in our monthly newsletter.
Coworking communities can help nonprofits with fundraising and promoting events. They can also help nonprofits find the professional support they need– from web design to bookkeeping and legal support. If there isn’t a professional already working in the coworking community, surely someone within the community can provide a referral.
Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) South Coast is located at Groundwork, an we are happy to report that more than 30 of our members have volunteered with EforAll, either as mentors, judges, or application readers.
Coworking has helped EforAll maintain our lean business model by providing an all inclusive model that supports our organization while providing a great atmosphere in which to work.Donna Criscuolo, Executive Director, EforAll South Coast
Ready to change the world? Let coworking be your home base.
Are you ready to join us? Here are some of the amazing organizations that call Groundwork home:
- EforAll SouthCoast
- Leadership SouthCoast
- South Coast LGBTQ Network
- Southeastern Mass Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP)
- New Bedford Star Kids Scholarship Program
- Project Wheelhouse
- Civic Support
Ditch the search for traditional nonprofit office space and consider a coworking membership instead. Check out our membership plans for more information. We also offer private office space for rent that includes access to coworking and all amenities.
BONUS! Join us on February 26th from 12-1pm for a lunch-hour workshop on best practices for managing a board of directors. More info and registration here >
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