Printing costs from using an outsourced printer can get very expensive for a nonprofit organization. Our Arizona Resourcefullness Award winner, Valley of the Sun YMCA, created an innovative revenue-generating initiative that not only saved on their printing costs, but gave Phoenix foster youth valuable job skills while also providing affordable print options for local businesses.
The Valley of the Sun YMCA Print Studio is a great example of nonprofits doing more with less while helping the greater business community. The award-winning program turned one of the YMCA's largest expenses into a revenue-generating initiative that grossed an additional $250,000 for the organization.
Campaign Initiative – Valley of the Sun YMCA Print Studio
The Valley of the Sun YMCA Print Studio was developed in 2020 as a way to save on outsourced print expenses. It's a youth-in-business social enterprise with a distinctive vision: to provide quality screen printing and large format printing services to YMCA branches and the community, while giving foster care youth leadership skills and gainful employment.
The two primary goals of the YMCA Print Studio:
- Provide work experience and income for foster care and youth case management participants through operating an in-house print shop.
- Reduce costs of outsourcing YMCA print needs.
The YMCA Print Studio is a full-scale commercial production center specializing in high volume apparel customization and large format printing. It’s managed and operated through their foster care youth case management where it is directed by a staff member who provides training and mentoring. Through this innovative initiative, these youth receive valuable job training and marketable skills including resume building, affordable housing and living costs.
Creativity and Sustainability
The YMCA Print Studio is a unique and creative program that employs opportunity youth at livable wages while generating revenue for the YMCA by providing low-cost printing solutions for Arizona businesses.
The YMCA Print Studio is currently generating more cost savings for the YMCA than it costs to operate the program. It has continued to generate revenue as they’ve marketed the screen printing and large format printing services to more businesses in the community.
“We’re thrilled by the positive outcomes of our print studio. It is a unique and creative program that employs opportunity youth at livable wages, while generating revenue for the YMCA and providing low-cost printing solutions for Arizona businesses."
- Beth Haugen, Executive Director for Development
About Valley of the Sun YMCA
Founded in 1892 and run by CEO Bryan Madden, Valley of the Sun YMCA’s mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. The YMCA's community achievements are exemplified through focus areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
Key Insights for Nonprofits
Nonprofits looking to create sustainable initiatives can learn a lot from the Valley of the Sun YMCA's Print Studio.
When looking at revenue generation, it's best to start within your organization - your expenses could be a great place to start that exploration. As we learned from the YMCA:
- Look at your expenses and see if there isn't a way to eliminate an expense through a program.
- When looking to staff a social enterprise, or in-house initiative, consider other programs, or other nonprofits you could partner with in order to create employment and job training opportunities for less fortunate populations.
- Consider if this alleviated expense is something that can be marketed and utilized outside of your organization, within the local community, to help drive a new revenue stream.
Has your nonprofit developed new innovative campaign initiatives? Be sure to enter our 2022 Resourcefullness Awards. The application process is set to open July 14, 2022 and all U.S. states will be eligible to apply. The firm will award a $50,000 prize to one 501(c)(3) organization.