Having worked in non-profit organizations in three different countries, I have seen the benefits and drawbacks of non-profits hiring full-time Administrative support staff. There are many different reasons why a Virtual Assistant would be a better choice for non-profits and I have come up with these seven.
1) Cost – Virtual assistants cost less than their in-house counterparts. With lunch breaks, coffee breaks, telephone calls and personal conversations, most in-house employees work less than 28 hours per week. Costs such as benefits, training, office setup, etc. also cost the organization money that it doesn’t always have.
2) Loyalty – This can be a great thing to have from an employee, but can be a costly thing to have as an employer. When things get tight, as they always do in non-profits, we are less likely to lay off staff. This is great and the probably the right thing to do, but it does cost. Hiring a loyal Virtual Assistant when needed is better than having to lay people of when needed.
3) Expertise – I have seen it time and again. People are hired because they like to “help out” and have been volunteering for a long time – not necessarily because they have the skills and expertise that the position requires.
4) Perspective – Having a Virtual Assistant that supports the ideals of your organization, but is not actually involved gives you an outsider’s point of view. This can come in handy when decisions have to be made and it’s hard to see the forest from the trees.
5) Timing – There are always busier times in non-profit organizations. Why not hire a Virtual Assistant to create your quarterly newsletter, organize and mail out your yearly donation receipts, or create the posters and mail out the thank you cards for your annual fundraising drive.
6) Volunteers – Volunteers are the backbone of the non-profit organization, but volunteers only have so much time and ability to “donate” to your organization. Having a cost effective, dedicated alternative for administrative tasks is a great way to avoid “volunteer burnout”.
7) Networking – Non-profits need networking like any other business, if not more. A good Virtual Assistant is another way of networking for your particular cause. They are members of organizations and associations and have contacts that you may never be able to reach on your own. They may even have other clients who are willing to donate their time or resources to your organization.
Think about these seven points and really look at how your non-profit organization can benefit from a Virtual Assistant. Then when you are ready to hire one, do some research and find one that fits with your organization. Find one that shares the same values and will partner with your organization for its success.
© 2007 Darrell A. Williams – http://right-hand-man.blogspot.com