Starting a new non-profit isn’t any easier than starting a brand new business. Sure, the needs and the reasons for existence are different, but both still need to worry about keeping costs down while bringing in as much money as possible. Both need to position themselves as legitimate with something important to contribute to society. And just like a new business, a new non-profit can also benefit from a virtual office, especially one in Washington DC. After all, many non-profits and organizations are based in our nation’s capital just to be in close proximity to our elected officials. Here’s why new, or even established non-profits, need a virtual office in Washington DC (besides being close to Congress, of course).
Be More Legitimate on a Budget
When starting a new non-profit, one of your main obstacles is building awareness for your organization, your cause, and your solution to improving your cause. A major step toward overcoming that obstacle is a virtual office, where you can have a professional business address and a comfortable place to meet and do work. A professional business address looks better on promotional materials than a home address or a P.O Box, while providing the option to work somewhere that isn’t a coffee shop, or a home office, or a library. Also, if you need to meet with someone i.e. a possible donor or member of the board, then meeting with them in a virtual office instead of a coffee shop can make a difference in the first impression.
On top of that, a virtual offices costs significantly less than a traditional office, while providing all the tools you need to get your campaigns and efforts going. This is huge since budgets are small in the beginning, and you need to be spending every dollar toward your cause.
Have Two (Or More) Offices at Once
Most non-profits have something to do with legislation, whether it’s supporting current legislation, or helping to draft legislation, or lobbying representatives about legislation. This means that many non-profits need the presence in Washington DC, but may also have an office or headquarters elsewhere. A virtual office in Washington DC supports the legislative aspects of the non-profit without taking away from the other offices. Plus, a virtual office can also serve as a short-term home, in the case that your non-profit needs to be in the city for a particular session or to focus on a specific bill. It certainly beats the hotel business center, or having to scramble for space in and around the Capitol Building.
You Have the Option of a Virtual Receptionist
Another major obstacle for new non-profits is manpower. When you start, you might just be a few people with lots and lots to do. Any and all help you can get is great. This is another benefit of virtual offices: many providers have a receptionist or a virtual assistant on staff. This person can help with answering the phone, handling the mail, taking messages, receiving visitors, among other things. Although these tasks may seem small and may seem like something you could handle, consider that they could take away from bigger tasks, like planning an event or getting your website together. Since the virtual receptionist comes with the virtual office, sometimes this services comes with no (or a small) additional charge.
Are you a brand new non-profit, or an established one looking to reduce your overhead and spend more on your cause? If so, then we’d love to hear from you and whether or not a virtual office is great for you. Tell us about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.