Adequate communications capabilities are extremely important to the ongoing success of corporations and for-profit businesses. Voice connections, in particular, drive every segment of commercial enterprise, from prospecting and cold-calling, to processing orders and managing customer complaints. And though religious organizations and non-profit groups are viewed differently than their money making counterparts, faith-based operations, charities and other not-for-profit entities face many of the same phone concerns as traditional businesses.
Regardless of its primary function, an organization relies on various interfaces to establish and maintain customer, client, partner and associate contact. In fact, the suite of opportunities continues to expand, linking individuals and groups both socially and professionally, through Internet channels, social media platforms and live chat venues. Without a doubt, the advent of portable voice and text communication and the hyper-connected array of communications alternatives have changed the paradigm for businesses and charitable organizations, setting a new standard for commercial and non-profit interactions. Despite these technological advances and social changes, however, the core of any effective church and non-profit communication infrastructure is centered on a reliable phone system.
Public Perception and Phone System Expectations
Modern patrons expect a high level of service, with a personal touch. Churches and non-profits are particularly sensitive to image and purpose, so the right phone system makes all the difference in the world, projecting the proper impression through efficient, welcoming communications. Each caller’s experience reflects the values and mission of a non-profit, so maintaining an effective phone system carries several advantages, helping staffers convey consistent organizational messages.
Shared Services/Resources: Phone systems directly link personnel, so everyone plugged-in to the system benefits from its resources. Call transfers, for instance, quickly direct inquiries to the proper parties, enabling non-profit operators to efficiently resolve “customer” concerns. As well as supporting a positive caller experience, interconnected phone lines make things easier for staffers, which ultimately conserves time and money for the organization. In addition to seamless call transfers, churches and non-profits benefit from these common phone system features:
- Around the Clock Call Forwarding
- Inbound Call Screening
- 24-Hour Voicemail Backup
- Caller Identification
Timely and Personal: It is no secret that digital communications account for an increasing share of contact between associates. Although emails, texts and social media exchanges are eclipsing phone calls in number, well-executed systems facilitate immediate phone communication and help build relationships, in an increasingly anonymous world. Churches and non-profits rely on this personal contact, operating in an intimate space suited to individual interactions, rather than impersonal digital overtures.
Safe and Confidential: Charitable interactions and faith-based relationships are personal in nature, so effective phone systems furnish secure, private communication channels for church congregations and other groups. Beyond confidentiality and security, certain matters simply warrant a phone call, rather than an electronic message. Sensitive information, for example, subject to misinterpretation, is better conveyed in-person or by phone, so valuable understanding is not lost during a digital exchange. Condolences, congratulations and other personal messages commonly revealed between faithful are also well-suited for sharing by phone, rather than email or text.
Phone System Advantages for Faith Groups and Fundraisers
Much like for-profit enterprises, religious and charitable facilities benefit from streamlining and increased efficiency. A well-designed phone system tightens-up the workflow, while simultaneously enhancing the caller experience. And since non-profits and religious organizations conduct regular fundraising campaigns, installed phone systems should reflect each group’s needs in this area.
Conference Calling: Clear internal and external connections keep everyone on the same page, linking clients and staffers over shared goals and values. Conference calls are an effective, yet inexpensive way to bring church leaders and non-profit administrators to the same figurative table. Phone conferencing is results-driven, enabling voice participants to conduct important business and close matters without follow-up.
Competitive Features: Although not engaged in traditional profit-oriented business, churches and non-profits are competitive organizations. Building relationships with parishioners is an important year round activity, and periodic fund raising efforts require phone systems capable of bringing-in pledges from devotees. Depending upon the size and needs of a particular organization, predictive dialers and feature-rich VoIP systems provide economical phone solutions for groups actively soliciting donations. These cloud-based alternatives have become increasingly reliable, so companies like 8X8 continue to patent technology expanding the number of available configurations.
Better Management: Maintaining a smooth flow requires communication capabilities on par with organizational objectives. In addition to fundraising features, churches and charitable groups value systems that help recruit support and keep track of volunteer efforts – in real time. High-speed, fully digitized systems offer the greatest number of features, but worthy analog phone set-ups meet the needs of many small churches and non-profit groups.
Settling on a suitable phone system ultimately depends upon the particular needs of a church or charity. Beyond answering incoming calls, such services construct menu prompts to guide callers and forward inbound connections to mobile phones, when important calls can’t be missed.
Other phone system services speak directly to the needs of churches, which frequently spread critical, timely information across large numbers of recipients. One provider, call-em-all, eliminates time consuming phone trees, enabling churches to disseminate information rapidly. Subscribers can send prayer wishes, scheduling messages and other important notifications to many users simultaneously, rather than waiting-out traditional phone trees.
Hardware selections should be made with the help of reputable providers, capable of comparing features from industry leaders like Toshiba, Nortel and Cisco. With clearly defined organizational objectives and guidance from within the industry, churches and non-profits use phone systems to stay competitive and promote special messages.