STREAMLINE IT TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATION, TRANSPARENCY AND TRUST: RELATIONSHIP CASE STUDY
Company The Grant County Rescue Mission is a nonprofit organization based in Marion, Indiana that is dedicated to serving the homeless. The Mission seeks to meet the needs of homeless individuals in Grant County, including a safe place to stay, a nourishing meal, adequate clothing and hope for the future. The organization provides meal and bed programs for local women and men in need, serving approximately 180 meals a day. The Grant County Rescue Mission also works to address some of the underlying problems of homelessness such as substance abuse, incomplete education and inadequate skill training. The Mission offers individuals some of the tools and training they need to secure and retain jobs. The organization’s ultimate goal is to assist the less fortunate in Grant County in order to serve the greater community as a whole. In May of 2016, Indianapolis Channel 13 released an undercover investigative report concerning the Grant County Rescue Mission. The news report revealed several health code violations, neglected donations and ultimately a mismanagement of resources. These mistakes were egregious and regretful. They were a result of disorganization, a lack of transparency and inadequate leadership. After the news report, the Mission recognized the need to make significant changes to solve internal problems and regain public trust. Board chairman, Tom Mansbarger, and Executive Director, Tom Ballard, tendered their resignations and new leadership was put into place. The Mission worked closely with the Grant County Health Department to meet their recommendations and have continued with routine inspections. In addition, they instituted internal monthly inspections to be performed by a board member and reported to the board. The Mission established a policy to share all excess food and donations with other charitable organizations, transported only in Mission vehicles. Furthermore, the organization made all of their policies and bylaws clear to the public in the interest of complete transparency in the future. The Grant County Rescue Mission ultimately functions to serve their community and has worked to rebuild that relationship by providing better management and accountability of day-to-day operations. Problem Because of previous mismanagement, the Grant County Rescue Mission’s new leadership was dealing with disorganization, a lack of procedure and an out-of-date IT infrastructure. There had been no previous technology updates, and they were paying way too much money to more than one phone company. This environment made it incredibly difficult to streamline internal procedures and to communicate between different locations and with the public generally. The management team was trying to configure an effective system of phones, computers, POS systems and security systems. Essentially, they were an entirely new staff that needed to create an entirely new infrastructure. The Grant County Rescue Mission was on the road to improving internal procedure, increasing transparency and growing public trust. To accomplish this, though, the organization needed to update and improve IT. This effective IT infrastructure would not only serve day-to-day operations but also support the Mission’s future trajectory. However, the new management knew that this wasn’t their area of expertise and that they required professional help to put this infrastructure in place. Solution AIS met with Lori Geller, the new CFO, and Rick Berbereia, the new Executive Director, to discuss the needs of the Mission. With those needs in mind, AIS created both a short-term and long-term plan of attack to help the organization achieve its goals. Rick noted, “With everything that had happened in the past, they could have run away. AIS had done their homework and understood our challenges. They wanted to help us leverage IT to overcome our current difficulties and achieve our future goals. They then presented us with a concrete action plan to do just that.” Because of this, the Grant County Rescue Mission made the decision to partner with AIS. As the Mission’s partner, AIS followed through on their promises. They helped to prioritize the organization’s wish list and began aggressively attacking action points on the plan. AIS was able to keep in mind the organization’s specific needs and their tight budget. They created a simple and affordable phone plan, established a security system, organized the team’s email services and handled all of their updates. AIS listened to the management team’s feedback, took in their direction and created an efficient, professional IT infrastructure to meet their needs. According to Lori, “One of the greatest advantages of working with AIS is the ability to communicate more effectively and professionally with the public. We were able to streamline a convoluted communication system, and now there is one professional who handles all public communication. Encouraging transparency and building trust are top priorities for the Mission moving forward, and AIS has contributed to building that open, communicative environment.” Relationship AIS continues to work with the team to redefine their needs, adapt their wish list and plan for their future trajectory. AIS and the Grant County Mission are continually thinking of the next plan of attack. The organization is focused on constant improvement and refuses to stagnate or get stuck in the past. As Rick put it, “Without AIS we would be in bedrock, frustrated with an ineffective system and struggling to move forward. AIS is focused on helping us achieve our goals and gain momentum for the future. Our partnership continues to grow.” The new management team at the Grant County Rescue Mission faced a unique challenge. However, we feel that their IT needs are not unique. Many organizations struggle to communicate effectively with convoluted and outdated IT infrastructures. Those organizations then face the daunting prospect of a complete IT overhaul. AIS can help streamline your IT infrastructure to improve communication, transparency and trust in your business. We are committed to building partnerships that strive for improvement and growth for the future. If you want to build a true partnership and implement proactive, strategic IT solutions, it can all start today with a conversation.