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How Do Nonprofits Benefit from Unified Communications?

March 25, 2015 by

Nonprofits come in all sizes and are part of many categories. In order for them to function successfully without a constant influx of money, their employees need to be reachable at all times. With legacy systems separating all forms of contact, from phone calls to email, there isn't an easy way to remain in contact with the necessary people. However, with unified communications, nonprofits can both save money and stay in touch with their staff and clients.

Connectivity Between Employees

Intercommunity Action, a nonprofit based in Philadelphia, has expanded to five separate locations in its 45 years of service. Without UC solutions, communication would have been difficult for the organization.

Vice president of information technology Mike Mann made the switch to cloud-based unified communications in order to keep all of his workers in contact with one another. Normally, employees don't always have access to their work email, documents, and phone calls. However, with UC, an organization's staff can always get into their work items. For a nonprofit that deals with a plethora of clients, donors, and employees, being reachable is important.

"We have 25 mobile clinicians and other professionals that see a set number of clients, and we pay them by the hour," Mann told CIO Insight. "In the past, people sometimes had to share a single desk with a single computer and phone. We needed to provide phone and email systems that could be accessed from anywhere."

UC Saves Money

Communication between five locations, remote workers, and various schools and facilities can be expensive. Mann knew he needed a way that would save the organization money, as well as open up contact.

A cloud-based system was the way to go for cutting costs. According to BetaNews, a cloud system has its own expenses, i.e. bandwidth payments, hosting costs, etc., but actual hardware proves more expensive. Unlike servers, which have to be replaced every few years, the cloud will only charge a subscription fee and additional storage costs. For a nonprofit with limited income, the cloud is ideal.

Mann discovered that this system was the cheapest in the long run, and switched over all five phone systems to a cloud service, NetworkWorld explained. Everything from email to collaboration to phone calls are done in the cloud. Intercommunity Action has simplified its communication services in order to get all its workers' devices up and running. A cheap cloud service provider allows for the same things a business could do with multiple products to happen within one system.

Nonprofits run mainly on donations and volunteerism, so it's important for them to remain in contact with the people they need to. Cloud-based unified communications provide the opportunity for these organizations to increase correspondence and collaboration while cutting down on expenses.

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