Chief financial officers of Southern Baptist Convention entities learned Sept. 21 that savings of more than $2 million have been generated in the last year through cooperative purchasing agreements.
The move to leverage the collective buying power of SBC entities and free up operational funds for ministry began about four years ago at the national level. Eight agreements have now been completed for copiers, vehicles, software, hardware, long distance and cellular telephone service, office supplies, and relocation. Thirteen national organizations and nine state conventions currently are participating.
"We felt it was a matter of Christian stewardship to explore ways to save money on these items so that more could be used for missions and ministry," Jim Carter, vice president of the Finance and Business Services Division of LifeWay Christian Resources, said. "It has been rewarding to work with sister entities on this project. The more participation we can generate, the greater will be our savings."
LifeWay led all entities in 1998-99 savings with $1.2 million followed by the International Mission Board with $580,681.
Carter said three purchasing agreements - computers, office supplies, and relocation services - are now available to Southern Baptist churches and associations.
The agreement for computer hardware, miscellaneous software, and peripherals is with Dell Computer Corp., Carter said. Churches and associations may contact the sales representative by calling 1-800-234-9999, ext. 61410. Callers should tell the representative they are interested in participating under the SBC agreement and would like to set up an account. Also, pricing information may be obtained on the Internet at www.dell.com/premier. When prompted for a user name, type in Southern Baptist. The password is city148.
The office supplies agreement is with Boise Cascade Office Products and purchases may be made through local dealers. Orders may be set up through fax, phone, email, or the Internet. Products will be delivered the next day. Call 1-800-339-8934, ext. 8150, for information about the Southern Baptist agreement.
Household moves may be arranged with Apex-Robert E. Lee or Dodge Moving & Storage, agencies which represent Mayflower Van Lines. This agreement is available even to Southern Baptist church members. To participate, call Apex-Robert E. Lee at 1-800-766-1902 or Dodge at 1-800-224-3890.
Carter urged comparison shopping, noting that in some instances an entity may be able to obtain a lower price locally. However, he said generally the cooperative agreements will be highly competitive because of the potential sales volume of Southern Baptists.