Boys Hope Girls Hope is a Case Study in Pandemic Preparedness
When your daily work is spent serving and nurturing in-need youth, the last thing you need is technology to get in the way of you doing your job and furthering your mission.
Boys Hope Girls Hope is a forward-thinking, agile, international nonprofit that exists to support motivated young people with opportunity, education, and inclusion. With roughly 20% of children in the United States whose families live in poverty (families whose household income is roughly $30,000/year), there’s always much work to be done.
Investing in Technology Before the Pandemic
A few years ago, Boys Hope Girls Hope was unhappy with their technology. Its team couldn’t easily process volunteer and employment applications. They had two separate databases that had to sync, which was done hourly, but often had errors that were hard to troubleshoot without developer support. Getting support for their previous products was difficult and they often experienced very slow response times. The organization’s software didn’t have the capability for Spanish translation options – an issue for a team whose members and clients first language isn’t always English. They were unable to adapt to changing industry requirements for a host of reasons. They felt like they were having to do workarounds or take more time in their work because of one technology bug or another. The only answer to remaining agile and effective was to rebuild their platforms and supercharge their productivity. But how?
The Candoris team of business analysts worked with the Boys Hope Girls Hope Network Headquarters team to identify the following needed solutions: NPSP for development fundraising, relationship management, and volunteer tracking; Service Cloud to be integrated with communities to provide direct support for their community audience; and five different community websites (three utilizing Salesforce Community Partner licenses for HR, scholar management, and volunteer management and two utilizing Salesforce Community Login licenses for employee applicant/onboarding and volunteers).
Working with Boys Hope Girls Hope’s HR team, Candoris was able to re-develop the application and the operations processes into two new separate lightning applications, allowing candidates to be managed, onboarded, and maintained effectively in the system. With Salesforce, all their data is now in one system and accessible by all staff. Service Cloud bolstered by Candoris support gives Boys Hope Girls Hope a robust ticketing system that can be escalated to developers as needed, allowing 16 remote locations around the world to access quick, helpful assistance. Its Spanish-speaking affiliates now have translated Salesforce and Salesforce Communities, as well as a portal for them to effectively manage day-to-day scholar activities. Finally, a Candoris event and donation page package delivers them a completely native Salesforce experience for events.
An Established Robust Environment Made the Difference
When the Coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020, all the attention and budgeting that the organization devoted to ramping up its technology and cloud-based solutions did not leave Boys Hope Girls Hope high and dry. Rather, it enabled them to kick into high gear.
“The work Candoris has done with us over time has been huge. The way we’ve been able to communicate, to pull our network together, has been amazing because of the technological advances our organization has made over the last few years.”
-Kimberly Hines, VP of Marketing at Boys Hope Girls Hope
The investment in cloud-based applications that Boys Hope Girls Hope made in times of normalcy positioned them to be able to quickly pivot to facilitating crisis response and to smoothly transition staff to working remotely.“Technology has been amazing in enabling us to connect. Things didn’t necessarily change a lot; people were able to shift to working from home fairly easily,” commented Hines. With an established Salesforce CRM and various Salesforce communities already built out, comprehensive data is accessible and available to the team. Their platforms allow team members to access scholar case records and volunteer information from anywhere on any device, thereby permitting them to quickly communicate. Boys Hope Girls Hope has also been leveraging Microsoft Office 365 that was integrated with the Salesforce Platform, which enables online meetings and document sharing, and supports new weekly calls among leaders to respond quickly to the pandemic.
Boys Hope Girls Hope’s team is now diving deeper into its dynamic system as they work to solve problems and answer questions.
“The pandemic-forced remote working has driven adoption of tools in a way that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”
-Tom Casey, VP of Operations at Boys Hope Girls Hope
Students, team members, volunteers, and donors have all experienced the remarkable flexibility and accessibility that the Salesforce Platform afforded.
Essentially, Boys Hope Girls Hope was ready to rock and roll when the world came to a halt.
Answering Questions with Questions
Boys Hope Girls Hope is devoting itself almost completely to intensive virtual case management with its scholars and collegians in the current climate. It features a response page on its website that dives into how it’s continuing to support these young people and their families. It’s been a difficult time logistically and emotionally to ensure that everyone had a safe place to go when they were ordered to stay at home. Boys Hope Girls Hope’s typical program model is serving students in residential and academy programs. During the pandemic, the team is now caring for the physical, academic, and emotional needs of scholars virtually by tutoring them remotely, delivering meals to their homes, and offering other virtual resources, such as wellness workshops and opportunities for connection.
Boys Hope Girls Hope is past the initial scramble of moving everything to remote. How does it continue to deliver value and support to its students? It now comes down to technology; technology in the hands of everyone who needs it in order to be well served will prove the next feat. High school scholars typically already have some sort of device, but do their homes have internet access? What about middle schoolers who often don’t have their own devices? And what about Boys Hope Girls Hope team members who had desktop computers in their offices? With the cloud-based Salesforce Platform accessible from all devices they can typically do what needs done from home. But how productive can they be if they don’t have a laptop or a tablet, if they don’t have reliable internet service? Each of these issues are very real and experienced daily by Boys Hope Girls Hope leadership.
Entering a Fundamentally Different World
Boys Hope Girls Hope won’t be slowing down, in fact, its leadership is deliberating on what the new normal will look like and assessing its capacity to meet unforeseen scholar and family needs. One thing is for sure – there will be a greater amount of young people in need once the pandemic is over. “Part of our world is going to be fundamentally different. How does Boys Hope Girls Hope stay on the cutting edge and be able to provide for needs?” asks Hines. Resuming in-person programming will look slightly different than it did in the past. Supporting learning via its cloud platform from Boys Hope Girls Hope headquarters will most likely also shift, as will how the team contacts and supports scholars. Visiting its COVID19 site page lends insight into needed essentials, such as in-kind donations for technology and donated refurbished devices that are extremely useful.
Boys Hope Girls Hope did a tremendous job ensuring that the organization was ready for anything – and it was when the Coronavirus Pandemic hit. Their forward-thinking preparedness affords them the accessibility and transparency, breadth and depth, to continue enabling youth to pursue opportunities and dreams and fostering teams of staff, volunteers, students, and donors alike.