13/11/2018 | Charities, Business Process Outsourcing, BPO

Every Penny Counts - Why outsourcing can deliver full value for Charities

The public can be a demanding bunch. How they look at the charity sector is no exception. They want to know where the money is coming from. How it’s being spent. What impact is that spend having. It’s not that the public doesn’t want the charity sector to succeed. Research (J. Mohan & B. Breeze ‘The Logic of Charity: Great Expectations in Hard Times’ 2015) into how the public perceives charities showed minimal change with regard to gifting and attitudes towards charities. What has changed is the need for greater transparency, a clearer demonstration of efficiency of operation and the effect their fundraising generates.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is an option well worthy of consideration by charity management. Its primary benefit may well lie in the economic advantage to be gained by sub-contracting parts of the operation to a third party. But increasingly there are other benefits to be had.

- Focusing on what they do best: with a bpo provider handling some of the important but not strategically core elements of a charity’s operation, its staff can be freed of the time consuming minutiae of the day to day and focus on delivering against their corporate vision.

- Bringing in key skills: tapping into the expertise of a third party that already has established and experienced operators avoids having to justify recruiting additional staff.

- Spreading your risk: no need to invest in capex for specialist machinery or software. And by removing the liabilities associated with direct employment, you pass the onus to the bpo; it becomes their responsibility to deploy their staff  elsewhere when your campaign doesn’t require them.

- Leveraging learnings from other sectors: our increasingly digitally driven world is changing rapidly. Where specialist insight and expertise is required, the bpo can bring their experience from other clients and other projects to bear on your operation without the need for you to make that investment. And that should deliver an increase in quality on top of just cost saving.

In order for bpo to truly succeed, it’s vital that the charity has access to resource that is capable of both defining what standards the bpo needs to comply with and is able to manage the relationship. Having the support of external resource may well have implications on how a charity’s team should be structured and staffed. SLA’s will need to be constructed and contracts drawn up. Due diligence will need to be undertaken on potential suppliers and possibly even formal tender processes invoked.

MRM has considerable experience of providing such services to charities across our first 25 years of being. We’ve done it for the likes of Children in Need, Comic Relief, Grocery Aid and Sports Relief. From the intensity of seasonal fund raising, to managing the ongoing communications with fund raisers, printing and sourcing of communication collateral, e-commerce platform development, data capture and processing of donations, storage and pack collation to data management and protection, we have built bespoke teams around individual charity’s specific needs.  We believe that experience & agility of operation is a vital prerequisite to success. So is ensuring that we understand the purpose and brand values for the charity we are partnering, so that in turn we can reflect them in all the interactions we have on the charity’s behalf – from answering the phone to how we construct customer engagement packs. Contingency planning, ensuring packaging conforms to the charity’s ethical and environmental values, minimising wastage in everything we produce on their behalf. Building process into our client relationships to ensure we can measure performance and demonstrate adherence to SLAs – on time, every time.

Because the public demands greater transparency, every penny really does count. We know the importance of making accurate Gift Aid calculations from sponsorship forms, in accordance with HMRC’s strict criteria, allowing a charity to benefit from every last additional penny of sponsorship money. We’ll also manage annual outbound Gift Aid direct mail, to comply with UK Gift Aid legislation.

When it comes to data capture and measuring the value of fundraising efforts, we’ve been innovative in personalising fundraising packs – meaning it’s fast, cost effective and easy for us to measure ROI of each fundraiser. It’s not just about data capture, but more about big data management – and working with clients to find the most practical way for us to feed in to their own Data Teams.

There’s value to be had in negotiating discounts – and passing these onto clients. We all know that postal discounts can be gained from the Royal Mail for certain charity types of mailings, or by using a downstream access provider – but we go the additional step of doing our best to negotiate preferential rates with our other suppliers too.

As a local community employer, we care about our clients as partners. Whether it means we’re working 37 days non-stop to ensure we get all fundraising packs and school orders out for delivery, or arranging deliveries of 450 pallets to parks across the UK (without postcodes!) – the entire team at MRM will go the extra mile and do it with a smile on our faces.

If you would like to hear more about how our knowledge and experience can tangibly benefit your organisation, why not give us a call?

01858 410510 or click here

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