The last few years have been a whirlwind of change and challenges that have required a massive revamp in processes, needs, and technology for all industries, including the nonprofit world.
In a group panel hosted by Social Solutions, we convened three leading voices in the aging and disabilities space of the social services industry to discuss how they are revamping their technology processes to better track and manage participants, make seamless internal referrals, and even increase funding. You can listen to the entire conversation here:
Keep reading to learn more about how updated technology and reporting processes allowed these nonprofits to serve more people.
Like so many other nonprofits, the last two years were challenging for Easterseals Southern Georgia (Easterseals). Enrollment for programs and services declined, and, as a result, so did funding. Now that their programs are returning to pre-pandemic levels, Lesia Irvin, technology coordinator, hopes to update processes electronically, including digitizing the organization’s application process. With Connect, a feature by Social Solutions, individuals can fill out applications for services online if the nonprofit is using the software. That information is automatically saved to the database, reducing time spent on data entry and freeing up staff for other initiatives, like upcoming events, which Easterseals is eager to get back to.
For Casey Maloney, the data coordinator at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center (the Center), Apricot, Connect, and digital intake made the transition to virtual services during the pandemic fairly easy. While the Center did experience a decline in services for about six months, demand has skyrocketed since then, especially as it has kept virtual service offerings in addition to providing in-person services.
Looking ahead, Maloney hopes to rebuild the Center’s system to incorporate all the new case management features and capabilities—like Role-Based Permissions—that have been added since the system was initially built five years ago. And as the Center continues to grow as an organization, leaders are developing their own metric KPIs in order to evaluate their success. As they define these KPIs, they can build the system to support that data.
As for All Hours Adult Care (AHAC), at one point during the pandemic, their entire service was at a standstill for about six months. They couldn’t submit applications and were limited in how they could provide help, Rachel Lewis, the program administrator, says. However, AHAC was also able to transition its case management and assessments to virtual rather quickly. And when that happened, AHAC could then incorporate nurses from everywhere. This has led to an influx of services AHAC can provide. As a result, AHAC has been able to reach and help more people since 2019. Now they are working to ensure that case managers and nurses are available in every county they service to keep up with demand.
AHAC now plans to revamp Apricot Social Solutions software. AHAC initially implemented Apricot to replicate previous processes in Excel spreadsheets with the goal of getting everything in one place. Fast forward a few years, they are more familiar with the system and how it works specifically for their organization, case managers, and members. With that knowledge, AHAC is now working out processes and procedures to streamline as much as they can.
Prior to adopting Social Solutions case management software, Irvin said when staff or funders would come to her at Easterseals and say, “I need to know X, Y, and Z,” the report was nearly impossible to provide without hours of digging to find answers. Now, with customized reporting by Social Solutions, Irvin can go into the software and create any report that staff or funders need in a matter of minutes.
In addition, Easterseals uses reporting to track participant enrollment. Irvin has created a report in the database that staff can filter by date to quickly see who needs to be contacted for re-enrollment.
Easterseal’s creative reporting use has even helped the organization increase its funding. Because Irvin can confidently track how much money is spent on providing specific services for people, reports are more accurate. And this accuracy has led to an increase in the organization’s ability to receive more funding and grants.
“Reporting has changed dramatically since we went to [Social Solutions] software. It’s just so amazing, and my stress level has dropped unbelievably. I love that I can go in there and modify not only what funders are looking for or requesting, but also for our needs.”—Lesia Irvin, Technology Coordinator, Easterseals Southern Georgia
AHAC primarily uses reporting to gather information on the current population in their system and ensure that all relevant data is captured in each participant case folder so that nothing important falls through the cracks. This ongoing project has helped keep AHAC organized as a company. AHAC staff members are constantly looking at reports, trying to figure out new ways to utilize them, like setting up email triggers to send out timely reminders. For example, AHAC aims to assess and reassess participants to monitor progress. So, they’ve built their reports to help them keep up by gathering as much information as possible, down to “When was this assessment done?” “Who did this assessment?” and “When does it expire?” By tracking all of this, Lewis and AHAC feel confident that services are being delivered on time and participant needs are being met.
In addition to email triggers, the Center uses Bulletins in Apricot workflows to keep employees organized. This reporting style helps staffers manage all of their internal agency referrals, as so many services are under one roof. So, for example, Maloney said when a staffer in adult services is doing intake with a client, and they identify that it’s been over three months since their last HIV test, they can ping the sexual health programs and say, “Hey, we have somebody in right now who needs an HIV test.” By using alerts and reports within the agency, the Center can ensure people get the help they need when they need it. Tracking all this information will also enable the Center to see improvements in people’s lives over time.
And Maloney can’t say enough about templatizing reports, which he advises all organizations to implement. Rather than rebuilding the same report repeatedly, the Center builds one template to provide the metrics they want before duplicating it and adding a date range. According to Maloney, that is the easiest way to accurately compare your reporting over time.
Are you inspired by how these organizations are modifying and customizing technology to make their processes more seamless? That’s exactly what software should do—help you work smarter, not harder. If you’re ready to see how Apricot case management software can help you revamp your processes and deliver more impact, attend an upcoming live group demo or request a personalized demo for your organization today.
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