8x8 Streamlines Communications for Nonprofit Service
When you’re a nonprofit with workers who literally need to go into the field—where your stakeholders and beneficiaries are—you need the best telecom capabilities you can get for anywhere, anytime communications.
If your mission is to help people who themselves are often trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, every dime your organization spends has to be a well thought-out decision. You need to see value for every service you use.
That was the dilemma facing Martin Campos-Davis, Operations Director of Oregon Human Development Corp. (OHDC). His organization helps farm workers and other disadvantaged individuals with support, referrals, advocacy, resources, assistance and education. OHDC offers on-the-job training, assists teen parents to stay in school and finish their educations, and fosters entrepreneurship. It also promotes self-sufficiency for youth, with a local farmer’s market and community-supported agriculture program.
Nonprofit Gives Farm Workers and Their Families a Hand
Funding comes through a variety of sources, including contracts with federal, state, local agencies, as well as through private donations. Because resources can be quite constrained, the organization wants to spend everything it can on helping struggling farm workers and their families— about 4,300 people are assisted across all of the organization’s programs.
“We have been successful with our funders because they know we’re careful stewards of taxpayers’ money,” says Campos-Davis. “But there aren’t many of us, and we’re often away from the office helping people or at a conference or workshop, so we need a good communications service. We wanted to streamline our communications, so we could spend less on overhead and more on clients.”
Cutting Costs While Improving Client Services
Before choosing 8x8, OHDC used six different Internet and phone service providers to support multiple offices, and the systems were often overly complicated, expensive and difficult for its staff to update and maintain. The nonprofit organization also had a need for better call routing, mobile capabilities and automated answering. Campos-Davis saw 8x8 as a possible win on all fronts.
“If you’re looking to save money and cut costs, 8x8 is an easy way to do it,” he says. “You get the same or better phone service at a lower rate, and you get new and updated apps and new features that work with the phones and computers that you already have. For example, we really like the seamless integration with Outlook. You’re not going to get that from traditional phone service.”
Mobile Apps Help Workers Doing Outreach
Many of OHDCs workers and volunteers spend a lot of time outside the office— working with clients, teaching classes and workshops, and on travel.
“We have a lot of staff that does outreach, so we really like the 8x8 Virtual Office mobile app,” says Campos-Davis. ” Whether we’re on our 8x8 phones or our own cell phones, the caller sees the office number and gets an office experience, rather than a personal cell phone number.”
And in phone service as in life, there is strength in unity. By tying together communications among offices and devices—and getting rid of extra and overlapping services—the company has achieved both unity and cost savings.
8x8 Helps Manage Many Offices as One
“I like it that you don’t need a separate subsystem for every office. You have one system that works for all your offices and devices,” says Campos-Davis. “We also like the fax service, and the meetings are as good as GoToMeeting, but they’re part of the same service we have for everything else.”
Also gone are any third parties that used to be necessary to make changes. “8x8 Virtual Office is really easy to use and to manage, which makes my job easier. It leaves time for me to work with our staff members,” adds Campos-Davis.
Multiple Auto Attendants Help People Get the Help They Need
OHDC has also set up multiple auto attendants to funnel traffic for different offices and services.
“We have small offices of just a few people, so we don’t have an admin or receptionist. We wanted a way to answer phones, sound professional, and give people who call us information. The auto attendants help us do that.”
OHDC also set up its auto attendants so that callers can choose to hear menus in Spanish or English, helping to provide service in whichever language its clients and callers prefer.
Helpful, US-based Support Is a Big Plus
And as an organization that spends much of its time helping others, OHDC staffers really appreciate being able to get fast, friendly help whenever they need it.
“I really like the fact that support is US- based, and they really know their systems,” says Campos-Davis. “I can’t say enough good things about the support staff of 8x8.”