Non-profit organizations, like their for profit counterparts, must increasingly do more with less. Pressure from stakeholders and donors often prompt non-profit organizations to take a harder look at how to shave administrative costs so that more of their resources can go toward providing much-needed services or emergency help.
Non-profits can both cut costs and become more accessible internationally by using international call forwarding.
International call forwarding involves establishing an international forwarding number and routing calls to that number to a different phone number known as the “ring to” number.
Using call divert, calls can be routed virtually anywhere the organization needs them to ring at any given time. For example, if a small non-profit organization usually operates in the United States, it could have its international forwarding number ring to its main office in the United States most of the time.
However, when the entire team is mobilized to provide aid in another nation after a catastrophe, it could use call divert to route those calls to its temporary office in the affected nation, a mobile or satellite phone, or to an alternate call center located elsewhere in the world.
Non-profits can use international call forwarding in a variety of ways to cut costs or become more agile – or both. Below are a few ideas for using an international forwarding number.
Create an International Presence with International Call Forwarding
Imagine that you run a small non-profit based in the United States that provides food, clothing, and financial assistance to people in Haiti. While most of your donors are likely located in the United States, some may also be located in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, France, Canada, and the Bahamas.
In fact, each of these countries have a large population of Haitians, many of whom may share your commitment to helping the impoverished nation.
As you develop marketing materials targeted to these nations, you realize that your US toll free number won’t work internationally with the exception of Canada. With international call forwarding, you could create local toll free numbers for Haiti, Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, France, and the Bahamas and use your main number as the “ring to” number.
To your international donors, your international call forwarding number looks as if it rings to a local office when in reality it rings to a phone in another country. The localization effect can inspire confidence, add a local feel to your non-profit, and overcome potential concerns about making an international long distance phone call.
Create a Virtual PBX with International Call Forwarding
Many international call forwarding service plans come with auto-attendant and call routing features commonly found in more expensive PBX systems. For non-profits that would like the advanced features of a PBX but can’t justify the expense, international call forwarding may be the answer. You can create a customized greeting and divert calls to the appropriate voicemail box or live attendant based on time of day or country of origin.
Receive Incoming Faxes
Fax machines require separate phone lines, plain or thermal paper, and/or ink and toner cartridges. Instead of maintaining a standalone fax machine and regularly spending money on fax supplies, your international forwarding numbers can double as incoming fax numbers. Rather than receiving a paper printout, your incoming faxes are routed to your email address as an image attachment. Since you can check your email from virtually any computer or mobile device connected to the Internet, you can receive faxes even when away from your office.
Make Low Cost International Phone Calls
Since you can change your international call forwarding number to ring to virtually any number in the world, you can also use it to make cheaper international phone calls. You’ll need to double check your per minute calling rates for the countries involved and compare them to the rates of your carrier. If they’re cheaper, and they very well could be dramatically cheaper, then temporarily change your ring to number to the number that you would like to call. Instead of dialing that international number directly, dial your virtual number which will then ring to your designated phone number. This bypasses your local carrier and gives you access to your international call forwarding service provider’s network and rates.
From ensuring that your team can be reached wherever it happens to be deployed and enabling low cost calls from international donors around the world to creating a local presence, gaining access to advanced PBX features, receiving incoming faxes, and making cheap international calls, international call forwarding is a terrific choice for any non-profit organization with a global mission.