In this blog series, we are exploring five capacity drivers that support the growth of social good organizations. First up is online intake.
The program enrollment process can be an emotional, tense and critical time for those seeking help. There are stories to tell, forms to fill out and changes to navigate in real time. Nonprofits are experts at assisting. But, sometimes, conducting participant intake can become a challenging and time-consuming process.
Many nonprofit organizations are still using paper to conduct intake, which bogs down the process and overruns storage space. Paper also leaves room for human error—mistakes can happen when manually transferring data from paper to a spreadsheet or database, making updating status changes cumbersome.
What can be done to make the enrollment and intake process as smooth as possible for everyone involved? Allowing participants to enroll online makes the process of getting help less stressful for them and frees up more time for you to connect one-on-one while serving more people.
Have you ever tried to create a comprehensive and accurate participant document based on handwritten information, transcribed notes, or documents that are incomplete or include mistakes? It’s like a word puzzle with no end in sight. With online intake forms, participants don’t have to help case managers decipher answers that may be stressful to discuss over and over again. Participants also have the freedom to go “beyond the page” and include a deep dive on personal information that paper may not easily accommodate and is emotional to discuss.
Additionally, there is far less room for error. Information is clear, which allows organizations to determine fit quickly and improves the overall data quality of your program.
What if one (or more) of an organization’s intake forms got into the wrong hands? Simply by the nature of the services participants request, intake forms can include highly sensitive information that could jeopardize anything from job opportunities to housing prospects to family safety. Gone are the days when paper was considered the safest option for intake. Like money in a bank, precious information needs to be expertly managed and kept secure. Online intake form access can be limited to only certain service team members to keep sensitive information protected.
When organizations invest in automating processes, they give their participants and themselves the gift of time—more time for participants to take care of themselves and their families and more time for organizations to intake and serve more people. For example, we’ve seen online intake save 85 days’ worth of time by removing the need to transfer data and allowing staff to upload data into a customized platform with multiple uses.
Want to learn about how online intake works and more ways to support the growth of your social good organization? Check out our 5 Capacity Drivers eBook.
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