How to Leverage Your VA [ROI for Charities]

Justine Parsons

Any charity works hard for every dollar donated, so it’s more important than ever that emails don’t build up and DMs don’t go unanswered when the team is under pressure.  A slow reply can be the difference between getting that donation, or not.

The Goal: Help us to catch up with our donor inbox and social DMs so we stop losing donations.

While recruiting for an admin role, this organisation’s unread emails were piling up. As were their direct messages.  With a team well over capacity and a fundraising promotion coming up in a few weeks, they needed interim support who could get up to speed quickly.

The Solution: Customer Service VA quickly introduced who could start the next day

We introduced a customer service VA with the capacity to catch up with the backlog.  At the same time we introduced a backup VA so we could provide uninterrupted support in the event of Covid (which was working its way through the team).  We wouldn’t normally assign two VA’s to a short term client … but these weren’t normal times!

Having good procedures in place we were able to hit the ground running, responding to outstanding questions through direct messages and replying to emails asking:

  • how to donate,
  • copies of receipts,
  • information on how the funds are appropriated,
  • and so on.

This also meant a much improved onboarding for the successful employer once they started!

Like any business, prompt response and clear communication make donors feel appreciated, gives them confidence in the charity, and increase both the initial donation, and the golden (or second) donation … by which many charities measure success.

This is an excellent article if you’re looking for more information on Donor Retention, with some good strategies to improve retention.

The Results: ROI of $4,270

In the two month’s we were supporting, we increased monthly donation revenue by 23%.  This was attributed to the fast response.

We also improved the retention rate from 30% back to where it had been prior to their customer service person leaving at 44%.

How we measured ROI

  • VA Investment$2,200
  • Donation Revenue (an increase on the previous month)$6,470

    Calculated on the second month when we had cleared the backlog. Response times were back to a 4 hour maximum wait.

  • Return on VA Investment$4,270

One Action

If you’re an organisation under pressure, and this is affecting your response times, consider the cost.  How would interim support improve your customer service, and what would that return on investment look like for your charity … and your cause.

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