According to Statista, in 2016, about 1.54 million nonprofit organizations were present in the US. They range from small, local groups to large, national organizations, but all have one common goal: to help others.
Nonprofit organizations rely heavily on donations to keep their doors open and their programs running. Many people are more likely to donate to a nonprofit if they know their money is going directly to the cause and not towards organizational overhead, like salaries or building costs.
While many nonprofits rely on commercial flights to get employees and volunteers to the areas they serve, some organizations have found that purchasing a private plane can be more efficient and cost-effective. If your nonprofit is considering taking this step, you should keep a few things in mind.
1. What is your budget?
Perhaps the most crucial consideration when purchasing a private plane is what you can afford. Not only do you need to consider the initial purchase price of the aircraft, but you also need to factor in the ongoing costs of ownership, including fuel, pilot salaries, and maintenance.
For instance, you’re looking at a small, used plane that costs $500,000. You might also need to budget an additional $100,000 in pilot salaries and $50,000 per year in fuel costs. In this case, you would need to be sure your organization could raise an additional $650,000 per year to cover the costs of owning and operating the plane.
Before you make any decisions, sit down with your organization’s financial team and develop a realistic budget for purchasing and operating a private plane. Make sure you have a clear picture of your budget before making any commitments.
2. What are your travel needs?
One of the benefits of owning a private plane is that you can tailor your travel plans to meet your specific needs. Do you need to be able to fly long distances or do short hops between nearby cities? Do you need to transport large groups or just a few individuals? Answering these questions will help you determine which type of plane is right for you.
For instance, if you need to be able to fly long distances, you’ll want to look at planes with a more extended range. If you frequently need to transport large groups of people, you’ll want an aircraft with a larger passenger capacity.
In addition to general considerations like range and passenger capacity, you’ll also want to think about specific features you might need for your plane. For instance, if you fly into remote areas, you might need a plane with off-road capabilities and durable aircraft light bulbs. If you frequently transport medical supplies or other delicate cargo, you might need a plane with climate-controlled storage.
Consider the specific features you need and ensure they’re included on any planes you’re considering. This will help you find a plane fully equipped to meet your usage.
3. What is your level of experience?
If this is your organization’s first time owning a private plane, it’s essential to consider how much experience your staff has with operating and maintaining this type of aircraft. For example, you’ll need a qualified pilot on the team who can fly the plane you purchase.
If you don’t have a pilot on staff, you’ll need to factor in the cost of hiring one. The average salary for a corporate pilot is $100,000 per year. In addition to the salary, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of training and certifications. In addition, you’ll need someone responsible for maintaining the plane and ensuring it stays in compliance with all regulations.
If you don’t have the necessary experience on staff, you may need to invest in additional training or personnel. This is an important consideration when developing your budget for a private plane.
4. What are the local regulations?
Be sure to check with your local aviation authority to see what regulations apply to private planes in your area. There may be restrictions on where you can fly or how often you can use your plane. Familiarizing yourself with these regulations will help you avoid surprises down the road.
For instance, some areas may require you to file a flight plan before each flight. Others may limit the number of takeoffs and landings you can make in a given period. Be sure to check with your local aviation authority so you can comply with all these.
Purchasing a private plane can be an excellent way for nonprofits to save time and money while still being able to provide essential services to those in need. However, it’s important to do your homework before making any decisions. By taking into account factors such as budget, travel needs, experience level, and local regulations, you can help ensure that your organization is prepared for success.