“‘Can do’ makes life so much easier.”
ParentHelp is a resource to help parents with everyday challenges through to serious issues like child abuse – in the form of a phone helpline, counselling, and parenting courses.
They realised they needed a client database(CRM) because they were getting more and more work, plus the growing demands of government compliance.
Dale Powles tells us how things panned out for them…
The quest began
“We had one firm come in for a user-needs assessment but we weren’t impressed with comments like ‘you won’t understand”(even though we didn’t!)
We had two problems that at least two database companies were unable to solve. Firstly the Ministry of Social Development required us to record first time callers versus follow-up callers, and secondly, our work-from-home volunteers needed to have access to the system via Remote Desktop. One company was proposing an adaptation to an existing system – but the system was far too complicated.
Then we found Dominique and he said ‘we can work around that, leave it with me’. He took time to sit down with us and really listen to what we needed, how it should work, and the look/presentation.”
Walking through the transition
The design process was very good with things being clarified as we went along, and it all happened quite quickly.”
We’d say ‘can we do this; is this possible?’ and he’d say ‘we can do that a better way’ or ‘you might like to think about this’.
We started with the helpline database and then moved on to counselling records. We were then able to link invoices to our accounting system which saved a very laborious manual process.
Things were looking promising…
How it worked for us
The result is a system that is easy and intuitive to use, and even our volunteers who hadn’t used a computer before were quite comfortable with it.
The entry screens have built-in checks and balances to ensure volunteers and staff put data in correctly and completely, before they can move onto the next screen.
We’ve also been able to capture online registration information from our website for parent education courses.
It’s been great to align our reports to our clients’ needs, such as using a modified version of Oranga Tamariki’s risk assessment forms.
As we’ve gained experience, we’ve been able to tweak a few things to accommodate different needs of our volunteers. We can do day-to-day things ourselves like registering new volunteers.
Massive time saving
“It used to take me 10 – 12 laborious hours a month to calculate statistics, by manually counting new calls in the logbook and checking call sheets for each one. It took that much time again for AGMs. We can now pull out reports for different clients and formats, and even filter calls for certain common factors and conditions – in a few minutes. We can also include notes on family systems.
It’s incredibly time-saving and makes life so much easier, with complete control of our data.”
Always there to keep things humming
“Dominique understands our needs very well, with a good knowledge of our operation. I’m not a technical person but he is very approachable and good at explaining things, so I’ve learned a lot about databases as a user, without the need to be an expert.”
“He is incredibly receptive and obliging in fixing problems and delivering what we need. We can ring him any time and things can sometimes be sorted out overnight. Nothing is too small or too much trouble for him.
He is very generous with his time and doesn’t bill us for some small things – even when we ask him to!
We have a great ongoing relationship, taking care of our ever-changing needs. Smart technology is great, but if you don’t know how you use it properly, it’s not much good. Dominique’s hand-holding has enabled us to get the very best from our system.
I’ve recommended Dominique to several other NGOs who have significant information and compliance requirements.”
…Dale Powles, ParentHelp (www.parent help.org.nz)
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