Not-for-profits and charities often struggle with the challenges posed by limited resources, which can greatly impact their ability to effectively carry out their mission. Efficient and cost-effective operations coupled with low overheads mean that a larger portion of funds can be directed towards programs and initiatives, leading to a greater impact on the communities they serve.
Reducing unavoidable overheads
One of the significant operating costs for any modern business is telecommunications, and non-profits are no different. To successfully deliver their services to the community, they need a range of different plans and features across data and internet, mobility, fixed voice and more.
Whilst these costs can’t be avoided, they can often be substantially reduced through a range of initiatives, which brings us to the VTS.
What is the VTS?
VTS stands for Victorian Telecommunications Services, a telecommunications pricing model negotiated by the Victorian Government’s Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC). The VTS plans, launched in early 2022, are the replacement plans for the Telecommunications Purchasing and Management Strategy (TPAMS). These allow Victorian state government agencies to access telco plans with reduced rates, waived fees and other cost saving measures.
This framework is separated into four ‘service towers’:
Fixed Voice Services
Data and Internet Services
Unified Communications and Contact Centre Services
Why is the VTS relevant to charities?
If a charity or not-for-profit receives more than 25% of their funding from the Victorian state government, they are eligible for VTS pricing. Accessing this charity telco pricing model can help make telecommunications services more affordable, reducing overheads and helping NFPs better fulfil their mission.
Whilst important, the VTS program is just one of the many different telco pricing models available to non-profits.
Read our article explaining charity and government telecommunications pricing to learn more.
How much is an NFP likely to save through VTS?
Depending on the pricing structures they are currently on, by moving to charity or NFP specific plans organisations can potentially save anywhere between 15-70% on their telco costs, with average savings between 30-50%.
For example our client, Anglicare Victoria, already had reduced charity rates via TPAMS, and we were able to move them to an optimised VTS program saving them an additional 16%.
How difficult is it to get onto VTS?
For Victorian government agencies, it is mandatory to use the VTS. In effect, they are automatically eligible.
For other organisations trying to get onto VTS, they need to be:
A registered not-for-profit
Based in Victoria
Receive at least 25% of their funding from the Victorian government
However, as with all things in telecommunications, it’s never quite that simple.
For example, a few of our clients were on TPAMS. When we began to review their organisations in preparation for transitioning to VTS, we discovered recent changes to their funding sources made them ineligible. Fortunately, we were able to secure alternative charity telco pricing for them under a different program.
How to get started with the VTS
As VTS is effectively a contract with vendors such as Telstra, Optus and TPG, charities and NFPs can request pricing directly through those providers. Even after getting onto charity/government telco pricing, there is frequently significant scope for further savings by optimising these plans for specific applications.
Unfortunately, these savings can often be challenging for a non-profit to achieve, due to the inherently complex and difficult-to-navigate nature of telecommunications services. With a huge range of vendors, plans and features across data and internet, mobility, fixed voice and more, it can be easy to make mistakes.
Three of the major VTS vendors collectively offer more than 30 different mobile plans.
The best way to approach the process of transitioning to VTS is to conduct a deep and thorough analysis of telecommunications services, in order to define the organisation’s needs and get the right plans and services.
For example, our expert team identified savings averaging an additional 28% on top of the packages offered by VTS telco providers for a large number of clients and are helping with the process of transitioning these to ensure they are implemented correctly.
Our team are experts in all charity pricing constructs, transitioning many of our non-profit clients to VTS or alternatives and achieving significant savings.
Give us a call on (03) 9403 5700 or fill in your information and we’ll get in touch with you to discuss how we can help you save on your telco costs.