4 Things Nonprofits Need from Their Communications Solutions

3 min read

November 22, 2022

Nonprofits are built on connections from donors to community members, board members to beneficiaries, and staff to clients.

Whether large or small, saving the environment or helping those in need, a nonprofit’s everyday operations hinge on its ability to link staff, volunteers, and their community. It’s vital to have seamless communication at every level to ensure their mission is successful.

Each Tuesday after U.S. Thanksgiving, we observe Giving Tuesday, a day of charity, generosity, and support for and of nonprofits after Black Friday. No matter their purpose, nonprofits bring people together to do good for the world.

The right tools make all the difference in facilitating these vital connections. Nonprofits have unique needs, and their communications solutions should reflect that.

4 Key Requirements of Nonprofit Communications Systems

1. Budget-friendly

Many nonprofits operate on shoestring budgets, dedicating their limited resources to those most need them. Cost efficiency is high on the list of priorities, so they’re looking to get the highest return on whatever they invest in their organization.

Often, nonprofits can only update certain operations elements at any time. They may have the funds to update their phone system but still rely on their existing computers or vice versa.

Nonprofits require multipurpose, budget-friendly solutions. Integrated technology that combines several functions in one easy-to-use package gives staff more tools to work with and less hassle.

When the Ronald McDonald House New York decided to upgrade their expensive and outdated phone banks, it made the most out of its investment by choosing a hybrid, cloud-based phone system. The solution integrated phone, fax, and voicemail transcription, offering a cost-effective service that met the needs of its staff and clients.

The hybrid nature of their phone system meant they didn’t need to purchase additional hardware, and the intuitive interface reduced the workload on IT staff. With low startup costs and minimal maintenance requirements, the total cost of ownership made sense for the nonprofit.

2. Reliable

Nonprofits are often busiest in times of crisis. Whether they offer food and shelter after an emergency or provide guidance for those navigating financial difficulties, representatives must be a calming presence when their clients need them the most.

Nothing is more frustrating than waiting in a call center queue for hours only to have the line cut out or bounced from agent to agent while your case is processed. With clients and donors often revealing sensitive information, they also want to be reassured their data is safe.

Often, nonprofits serve an expanded client base with only their original, limited resources. This can lead to a frustrating disconnect between donors, workers, and the people they serve. Nonprofit staff and the people they help deserve the best communications systems so everyone can get the help they need.

New Jersey SHARES, a statewide organization that helps clients pay their energy bills, was overwhelmed with calls for help. Their antiquated phone system struggled with over 450,000 incoming calls a year spanning over 300 sites.

Calls were often frozen or dropped, monitoring and reporting were unreliable, and sometimes the phones went down entirely. Callers and representatives alike were frustrated, and the organization’s mission was at risk.


NJ SHARES increased its incoming call percentage to 99.7% by implementing a cloud-based contact center. Their new, updated system empowers agents to serve their clients with confidence and reliability.

3. Flexible

The people who run nonprofits often wear many hats: the executive director may double as the face of public relations; the finance manager might also hand out donations and plan events; the head of marketing could very well be the IT guru. Everyone pitches in and does what they need to in the name of the organization’s mission.

These multitasking heroes need their communications solutions to be as modern and flexible as they are. Whether they’re coordinating fundraising events from their office or conducting research in the field, they must be able to connect no matter where they’re based seamlessly.

Modern collaboration apps put teamwork in the palm of your hand – or, as the case may be, on your mobile phone, laptop, desk phone, or tablet. With the ability to instant message, video chat, share documents, and route calls, nonprofit staff can deliver better client experiences and increase productivity.


During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnie’s Food Pantry, which provides food and resources to residents of North Texas, saw a 300% increase in demand for aid. As they expanded their services from four days a week to six and upped fundraising efforts, Minnie’s relied on their new mobile communications app and phone system to raise funding and increase staff training. With collaboration tools at their fingertips, they could give families care and support when needed.

4. Easy to Use

The average schedule in a nonprofit is packed (see the need for multitasking above!). With their days devoted to service, staff doesn’t have the time for complicated training or inefficient interfaces. 

The right communications solution should function smoothly straight out of the box, and it needs to be user-friendly enough for anyone to adopt it and work efficiently.

With more than 60 local chapters across the United States and a dedicated network of tens of thousands of employees and volunteers, Make-A-Wish America needed to update and simplify its systems to focus on its mission.

Make-A-Wish had already begun an informal move toward a more mobile environment with staff communicating from laptops, cell phones, and tablets rather than desktop computers or phones. A multi-function, mobile-friendly app made sense, allowing users to work with their familiar devices.

Make-A-Wish’s migration to their new system was simple, rapid, and cost-effective, with the initial roll-out taking place over a few days. A single administrator can manage the entire system, reducing staff load, and the intuitive interface means minimal training needs.

The unified system means it’s easy for the foundation to form new chapters, onboard staff, and employees, and make more children’s dreams come true.

Mitel’s Commitment to Nonprofits

Like nonprofit organizations, Mitel is dedicated to improving communities through connections and collaboration. Our communications solutions are designed to support our customers so they can focus on fulfilling their essential missions. Mitel has a Sourcewell contract which nonprofits can use for procurement. 

Contact us to learn more about how Mitel can improve connections between your staff, donors, and clients. 

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