There are around 60,000 not-for-profit (NFP) organisations in Australia. They contribute more than $40 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) every year. They also employ over 800,000 people, and receive about $11 billion in donations annually.
Relationship building is at the heart of the NFP industry. Charities live on their ability to create long-term relationships with their donors.
However, this doesn’t come cheap. NFPs struggle with the need to reduce their admin costs and maximise their social spending. This has led to many NFPs outsourcing their call centres to aggressive telemarketing firms.
In fact, a national survey recently revealed that one in four Australians receive unwanted calls from charities on a weekly basis. That’s created higher levels of donor fatigue.
Many NFPs are now between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the need for funds to assist in their areas of interest. The hard place is identifying how to raise these funds without turning donors away.
That’s where the virtual work model comes in. Running a virtual workforce allows businesses to reduce the costs of maintaining a bricks-and-mortar business. It also helps them to provide a price-competitive telemarketing service to charities.
Finding common ground
But price isn’t the heart of the matter here. The virtual workforce model allows us to employ Australia-based agents from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience. We are not limited to employing only people within commuting distance to our bricks-and-mortar office.
We have the ability to employ:
- People who live in remote locations.
- Older Australians who value the flexibility of virtual work.
- People with mobility issues or carers of people with disabilities.
The result is a diverse workforce. Our agents come from a wide range of backgrounds and bring together many different views. Agents are a true sample of the Australian public and this fact enables them to better connect with the public.
The benefit of this can’t be under-stated. Agents don’t simply illicit donations. They identify genuine common ground with donors and they build relationships that are based on shared experience. This is because agents and donors are part of the same communities. They are all interested in working together to make those communities better.
This runs far deeper than an adversarial telemarketer-to-target relationship. Rather, you’re inviting donors into an inclusive community. This will be the beginning of a life-long philanthropic journey based on shared experience and understanding.
Building a stable foundation
Of course, that’s only possible if you are able to retain your employees long enough for them to build such relationships.
First, we must face the fact that the NFP sector has a high staff turnover rate. University students, backpackers and others going through transitional periods in their careers tend to staff call centres. That means none tend to stick around for very long.
I credit Ourtel’s strong staff retention rate largely to the virtual work model. Providing the work flexibility many people desire means our employees can more easily achieve work/life balance.
But that, also, doesn’t happen by accident. To create a successful virtual workforce you must embrace an entirely new management philosophy.
At Ourtel, we have put measures in place such as:
- Daily virtual catch-ups to ensure our virtual agents feel connected to the team.
- KPI tracking to ensure our high-performing agents are acknowledged and rewarded.
- Identifying when agents need extra support so nobody ever feels overwhelmed or alone.
Get it right and you’ll build a loyal, engaged workforce that is capable of building an inclusive and diverse community of long-term donors. Donors who are motivated to not just give, but also to participate in making Australia and the world a better place for all.
Find out more about how OURTEL Fundraising Solutions can help you improve your next fundraising campaign results and contact us now.