Nonprofits change the world, but they do it within incredibly tight budgets.
One of our clients came to us in need of a virtual executive assistant. As a nonprofit, our client’s organization served as a kind of umbrella to other nonprofits. They helped provide critical funding, as well as consulting services, for smaller nonprofits whose mission was aligned with theirs.
There was a lot riding on their success. Missteps in administration would have a trickle-down effect, impacting the nonprofits they were serving, and potentially harming the communities relying on those organizations.
As long as our client was successful, they had the opportunity to grow and influence the entire nonprofit landscape in a more equitable way. The right executive assistant would help them grow and serve more communities.
But they needed someone who understood nonprofits and they needed them quickly.
Why Nonprofits Need A Dedicated Virtual Assistant
Nonprofits have a list of unique needs that set them apart from our other clients.
Finances and funding are high on that list. Nonprofit income streams are very different from a for-profit company. And because that income is used to achieve goals instead of profits and dividends, those goals have a far-reaching impact. Fail to meet the goal, and an entire community can suffer.
Nonprofits also have to be incredibly flexible in how they operate. The landscape is constantly shifting for them, impacted by everything from the economy to current events to shifts in ideology. They deal with waxing and waning volunteers. They have to plan around seasonal giving trends. And even though there are some transactional similarities between consumers and donors, they have to forecast community needs, not buyer behavior.
And finally, they need team members who are onboard with their mission, and reflect that in everything they do. Unlike a for-profit company, concerned about customers, nonprofits must juggle both donors and those they serve in the community.
All of this requires a dedicated virtual assistant to help with admin.
A dedicated virtual assistant is one who works with a client one-on-one, and on a long-term basis. In contrast, a “pool” virtual assistant option simply assigns whoever is currently available to the work you need done. The last thing you need is to bring someone up to speed every time there’s a task to complete.
The nature of a nonprofit is one where the historical work is woven into future work.
What A Nonprofit Virtual Assistant Must Have
Beyond being a dedicated virtual assistant, what else should you look for?
Because our client was also providing consulting services to other nonprofits, they needed a sustained level of expertise at every position. That included their virtual assistant, who would have contact not only internally, but also with their clients and donors.
Knowing you need someone with great experience and expertise is easy to understand. But what other qualities are necessary? What kind of virtual assistant service should you turn to?
- Affordability. As noted, nonprofit budgets are already tight. There’s a reason you’re turning to a virtual assistant instead of traditionally hiring more staff. Hiring is expensive; you have neither the time nor the money to recruit and onboard someone, much less find someone who is an excellent candidate. You need a virtual assistant you can afford as soon as possible; a longer wait has financial impact. You also need to avoid any extra costs, such as legal fees for employment compliance.
- Flexibility. Depending on need, donor response, and volunteer activity, your need for a virtual assistant changes constantly. Flexibility in the number of hours they work for you is absolutely necessary.
- Capability. Along with all of the other standard admin skills, nonprofit experience requires some unique additions. Understanding grants, how to pursue them, and how to write them is part of it. Understanding how to work with donors and the communities served is also required.
- Longevity. As noted earlier, you need a virtual assistant who will stick around and become an expert on your nonprofit. Constant turnover creates a weak foundation for the future.
- Positivity. As we learned during the pandemic, working remotely can be hard on company culture. For nonprofits, that is especially damaging since there is so much emotional investment in mission-driven work. Your virtual assistant should contribute to, and help foster, a positive culture.
Boldly’s approach to virtual assistants answers every single requirement in this list, and we accomplish that in three simple ways.
First, we choose our team members carefully.
Out of tens of thousands of applicants, we only choose the best, those with Fortune-500 experience and a broad range of skills and capabilities. We draw from a variety of industries, meaning we have someone with the interest and knowledge in what you specifically need.
With a virtual assistant from us, you know you’ll get only the best.
Second, we use the subscription service model.
In a subscription world where we only want to pay for what we need, the subscription staffing model makes sense. Instead of committing to an expensive contract, you pay a monthly subscription fee. If you need more hours, you subscribe and pay for more. If you need less, you dial it down.
Third, we prize culture and fit, both in our team and for our clients.
Our team members are employed by us. That means you don’t have to deal with payroll or employment compliance laws. Our team members have a solid support system, along with a salary and benefits. That means they can bring a lot of confidence and stress-free focus to your culture.
Additionally, we make sure that when we partner you with one of our virtual assistants, it’s a good match for personality and work style. That feeds into longevity. Some have been working with the same client for more than seven years, which is rare in the virtual assistant world.
As our nonprofit client discovered, Boldly’s approach to providing well-matched and highly qualified team members, paired with the subscription model, makes it possible for nonprofits to be ready to respond to whatever comes their way.
If you’re struggling to stay on track with your mission, expect sudden growth, or simply need to bring on extra staff right away, contact us. We can get you started in just a few days.
Updated on October 12th, 2023