As stated on its website, the mission of the Louisiana Association of United Ways (LAUW) “is to integrate action and resources for the common good.” And that’s exactly what the regional United Ways of this non-profit do: Serve Louisianans from Shreveport to Lake Charles, and Alexandria to Baton Rouge, by providing access to an umbrella of invaluable resources.
We spoke with Sarah Berthelot, President and CEO of the LAUW, about the organization’s good work helping citizens of this state, as well as how they use OnSIP hosted VoIP in their day-to-day communications.
Connecting Louisianans With Vital Resources
“The Louisiana Association of United Ways is an association of nine regional United Ways serving 53 parishes throughout Louisiana,” explains Sarah. “Together we work across our communities to tackle common challenges that affect our local communities but are bigger than any of us—challenges our entire state faces.”
The LAUW is involved in a variety of statewide initiatives and coordinates recovery and relief efforts after natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The LAUW provides strategic and administrative support to Louisiana 211, one of the N11 codes of the North American Numbering Plan. The public can dial 211 on their phones to get information on and referrals to health organizations and social service groups in the local area.
- The non-profit organization compiles reports on ALICE—Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed—Louisianans. This crucial data helps to inform stakeholders throughout the state, such as lawmakers, organizations, and employers, in their policy and decision-making efforts.
- They also partner with SingleCare to provide Louisianans with a prescription savings card that helps to reduce the cost of medical prescriptions.
- And finally, they coordinate recovery efforts for victims of COVID-19 and the recent hurricanes that have struck the state.
Equipping the Non-Profit With a Phone System that Ties its Dispersed Staff Together
In 2021, the Louisiana Association of United Ways was using a phone system that had reached its end-of-life, and so they needed to find and deploy a new one for the organization. As the team works virtually, a flexible and mobile phone service was key.
Their previous phone provider presented them with OnSIP hosted VoIP as a replacement for their phone service. Sarah and her team were able to create a free trial account, make test calls through our service, and even test out features like voicemail boxes, auto attendants, and announcements before using OnSIP at the LAUW.
Sarah selected the OnSIP Unlimited Plan for the non-profit. This plan covers the cost of the LAUW’s phone calls for a flat and predictable monthly fee. The Unlimited Plan also comes with free IP phones which she supplied to her staff members.
VoIP Calling Features that Connect the LAUW to State Citizens
In addition to desk phones, staff members use the OnSIP mobile app, which is a free softphone that customers can download on their smartphones. The app connects a customer’s phone to their OnSIP account and lets them make and receive calls, click-to-call other coworkers, and play their work voicemails, all from a mobile device. Sarah explains that “We use the mobile app, and it allows us to leave our desk without missing important calls that may come in.”
As for other OnSIP features that the LAUW uses: Auto attendants answer phone calls and automatically route callers to staff members, Busy Lamp Field informs dispersed employees of which coworkers are available or on a call, and E911 service is set up to reach 911 in case of emergencies.
When Sarah needs to create new phone system features or make changes to existing ones, she simply logs into OnSIP’s web-based admin portal to make moves, adds, and changes in real-time. There, she can set up voicemail-to-email for staff and set other call preferences.
When needed, however, she has contacted OnSIP’s U.S.-based Customer Success Team for answers to questions or guidance on how to set up features. “The Support Team is amazing,” she says. “They have always been very helpful anytime we need assistance.”
When citizens need a helping hand, organizations like the Louisiana Association of United Ways are there to mobilize resources and provide direction and guidance. OnSIP is glad to support your efforts by providing a communication platform to interact with Louisianans in need.