When starting up a nonprofit, implementing some simple tools can make things easier for you and your staff.
For example, instead of going through the trouble of getting a standard phone and fax line with the local telephone company, consider an internet-based option. Brian Wheeler, executive director of Charlottesville Tomorrow, states how this phone option can be cost-effective and has multiple advantages for you and your staff.
“To minimize ongoing operational expenses, don’t get a separate fax line. First, who is sending faxes these days? Most people can scan a document and email it as a PDF file. But if you absolutely have to advertise a fax number, use an Internet-based fax service. This has a low monthly fee ($10-$12) and it gives you a toll-free number you can put on your letterhead and business cards. Faxes you receive arrive as a PDF attached to an e-mail message. Second, for voice telephone service, we use our mobile phones combined with Google Voice numbers,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler states that having the Google Voice service provides a variety of options for his staff including features that help in their newsgathering and reporting work.
“Our work as journalists requires us to have smartphones, so we were already paying for two iPhones each month. We now only advertise our Google Voice numbers which are linked to our iPhone numbers. Google Voice provides a number of great features like: transcribed voicemail (arrives via text message and e-mail); ability to have you phone ring anywhere (i.e. I am working at home today, have my work calls ring on the phone at the house); and the ability to record any incoming call and get the file as an MP3–excellent for interviews. Further, since neither our fax or voice lines are tied to a specific location, our office can be anywhere, which makes moving to a new office location that much easier,” Wheeler said.