Written by: Malcolm McAuley
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is a national charity that serves over 33,000 children a year. Through our mentorship programs, we strive to help the kids realize their full potential.
As we come into our 100th year now, what’s interesting to point out is how little our company has actually had to change. Since the beginning, the need for mentoring has remained strong because, we know, every child can benefit from a mentor guiding them through the difficult times in life. What has changed, however, is the backgrounds of the people we serve. For instance, over the last ten years, the formulation of a family and a family’s support network has changed considerably and our programs have adapted to that need. We’ve also learned that supporting children in school has a dynamic impact on a child’s life. So keeping that in mind, one of our biggest growth areas has been our in-school programs in which we work directly on campuses to help keep kids stay motived and do well in school.
While we are continuously changing our programs to better serve the children, it’s important to point out how we are also keeping our technology up to date to support this mission. And, like any company, we have real IT challenges. First, as a national organization with 125 agencies, gaining holistic insight into all our volunteers, the children that we serve, and the success of our programs is difficult to gather, as you might imagine. Secondly, driving accountability across our entire organization, for instance to ensure all our volunteers are properly trained and screened, can be equally challenging.
Addressing these challenges, we have, over the last three years, deployed Microsoft Dynamics CRM to 92 of our 125 agencies. On a national level, we can now very quickly see where our programs are, where they are headed, and ascertain where they should be heading. Best of all, our ability to get that information is only a few clicks of the mouse away; we don’t have to bother our staff on the front line, which means they can spend more time serving kids.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is also helping us be more accountable. We can now automate and track the steps for our training programs and screening processes, which, in turn, helps us ensure that children are in a safe environment and that volunteers can provide the quality of services that are expected from our programs.
In a video about our system, Bruce MacDonald, our President and CEO, put it best when he said that “[Microsoft Dynamics CRM] was the system that clearly met our needs.” And that couldn’t be truer. We wanted a system that could help give us at-a-glance information in an instant. We got it. We needed a system that could help ensure accountability, so that we could maintain safe programs. We got it. And what’s neat about the not-for-profit space is that all the efficiencies we’re now achieving with Microsoft Dynamics CRM don’t translate into layoffs. Instead, we’re able to take that time saved and invest it back into figuring out how to serve more kids, better.
Post originally written for Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/microsoftdynamics/2013/03/06/big-brothers-big-sisters-of-canada-serves-more-kids-better-with-help-from-microsoft-dynamics-crm/