article

E-Channel: Nonprofits Find Affinity with Telephone.com

Posted: 02/2001

Nonprofits Find Affinity with Telephone.com
By Becky Bracken

In an effort to attract more traffic to
its website, Telephone.com Inc. (www.telephone.com)
recently implemented its Affinity Program for nonprofit organizations.

Because nonprofits rarely have the in-house expertise to design a
communications solution, Telephone.com can apply its reach across the
telecommunications sector as a business-to-business telecommunications exchange
and find the lowest priced solutions for these companies for which money is
often pretty tight.

Nonprofits in need of a communication system–voice, data, Internet, LAN/WAN,
hosting collocations, PBX, keysets or even routers–can present their needs via
the communication company’s website, and it puts together a low-cost solution.

"In order to drive people to [our site], we’ve decided to work with some
associations and affinity groups that don’t really have the resources for an IT
staff or a telecommunications manager," says Patrick Horvath, vice
president of sales and marketing. "They come to us, and we do consulting
for them using our resources to come up with the best solution. We then send
that back to them with no obligation; if they decide to go with one of the
solutions that we proposed, then we’ll kick back a small percentage to their
affinity or association group."

The result is a win-win situation, as Telephone.com gets added site traffic
and the nonprofits get a low-cost solution and a donation.

As part of the service, Telephone.com also will audit existing statements,
have service providers bid for an organization member’s business, and can supply
the necessary equipment, design, integration and engineering services for a
turnkey solution.

"We handle the headaches of telecom procurement so that our clients and
affinity partners can focus on their core competencies," says James
Kilkelly, vice president of business development for Telephone.com. "All
our client has to do is let us know of their needs; we find the most efficient,
reliable and cost-effective way to do it."

Telephone.com is a telecommunications commerce exchange that has been
successful in marrying telecom as well as a business-to-business online market
for buyers and sellers. The site provides telecom companies with a platform to
sell products and services, auction telecom equipment, buy and sell bandwidth,
and purchase bundled services.

Horvath says the online channel allows the company to have a national focus
and offer lower-cost solutions to customers.

The company uses the online marketplace to bring together providers to find
services for its customers. Businesses can log on to Telephone.com, explain
their needs and it, acting as a neutral vendor, puts together a solution.

Contrary to its name, Telephone.com offers services offline as well. The
services include leasing and financing options, escrow, warranty, installation,
maintenance, information resources, consulting and sales/procurement, and
shipping.


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