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Showing posts with label Take Root. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Take Root. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Logical Design helps non-profit find a logical solution with Alpha Five

I'm happy to say that one of the great benefits of supplying a database development platform at a cost that everyone can afford is that we are fortunate to see our work help those with big needs, but little budgets, such as churches (Merlin & Fletcher United Churches), hospitals (St. Luke's), and non-profit organizations (Take Root), among many others.

In fact, our VARs often tell us that they are pleased they can provide a service to not for profit organizations without problem. That's exactly what happened recently with Logical Design Database Solutions.

Read on to see how Keven Thibeault, Founder of Logical Design, used Alpha Five to create an all-encompassing database application for a New York State-based non-profit. Or, have a look at the snazzy PDF version.

Customer Name
Logical Design Database Solutions

Customer Profile
Logical Design has been making complex database applications affordable for small- and medium-sized businesses since 2006. The company takes pride in its personal touch to every project, and helping customers take advantage of the latest technologies to grow their business with a logical database strategy and high-performing operational systems.

Location
Boston

Industries
Database development

Situation

A New York State-based non-profit was using MS Excel to manage all of its member, donor, and event information. But with new data steadily streaming in and constantly changing, employees had difficulty keeping donor information updated and in order. Data stored in the Excel spreadsheet could accidentally be lost. Without that information, the non-profit would have no record of who donated what, when. Employees found it nearly impossible to succinctly record, organize, and recall all of the information they needed to keep the organization running efficiently. Because the non-profit's database was only desktop-based, it could only be accessed from the office. So remote and traveling employees would have to call the office and ask someone to look up the information they needed, which was tedious and time consuming. The non-profit needed a database to connect its people with the organization's various events and activities so they could rapidly mobilize community leaders when issues arose in their area. The application would also have to allow simultaneous multi-user accessibly and use. The non-profit came to Logical Design looking for a solution that would fit its restricted budget. It also needed to target specific groups of contacts within the database for various campaigns and fundraising outreaches. As the organization worked with municipalities, churches, and schools, it needed to mobilize certain sub-sets of contacts based on geography, past activity participation, and donation history. The ability to send an e-mail to several hundred targeted contacts, followed up by a personal phone invitation to the same group was a key requirement, as was the ability to go back to that same targeted group for future campaigns.

Solution

Keven Thibeault, Founder of Logical Design Database Solutions, knew Alpha Five was the only way he could create a customized solution that addressed all the needs of the non-profit for less than what it would cost to buy a generic, off-the-shelf application. Alpha's array of Web component editors made it possible to create a Web-enabled back end office application that could be accessed by multiple users from any Internet-connected computer. The non-profit's niche requirements were easily supported by Alpha's development tools. Thibeault built a multi-level relational model, which allows multiple contacts for a single name. For example, a single contact might be a member of a church and on the school board at the PTA. And because Alpha's toolsets were so simple and efficient, Thibeault was able to complete a working prototype in one month. The system uses a MySQL backend database with an Alpha Web component based front end.

Benefits

Thibeault was able to deliver a complete system that tracked pledges, events, members, donations, and communications, within budget. The new application lets employees pull up a list of everyone in a certain geographic area who follows a certain political issue, and alert them of news of interest. For instance, the non-profit could rapidly generate a list of local educators, politicians, and pastors, and notify them of a new education item on the area's ballot. This makes it possible to quickly connect to and mobilize the community for support. Donations are tracked, and thank you cards are printed out at the click of a button. Employees can e-mail directly from the application, eliminating tedious copy and pasting of e-mail addresses from the database's 4,000 contact entries. The application has an unlimited number of highly specific, customized searches, all of which can be saved for later use. Because of Alpha's fast learning curve, employees of the non-profit were up and running within days. And Alpha's low cost kept Logical Design's cost within its means.

For More Information
Alpha Software, Inc.
781-229-4500
www.AlphaSoftware.com

Logical Design Database Solutions
617-418-1107
www.LogicalDesignDBS.com

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Take Root blossoms with Alpha Software

Working with Alpha Software, I've come across a wide variety of clients and businesses. Few, though, have shared such touching stories as that of Liss Hart-Haviv's organization, Take Root. I'm honored that Alpha was able to help Take Root do what it takes to help others.

Customer Profile
Take Root was established by a collective of former abducted children to address a startling paradox in the field of missing child services: Direct services and resources were available to families searching for missing children, but not to abduction victims themselves. Take Root is a national non-profit organization funded by the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The organization administers the first and only direct support program available to victims of child abduction; engages in advocacy for child-victims; and provides landmark education on the victimology of child-abduction for multidisciplinary professionals, impacted families, and the public. Take Root's vision is to expand the nation's missing-child response beyond recovering missing children, to helping missing children recover.

Location
Kalama, Wash.

Industries
Non-profit, child services, victim services, missing and exploited children

Situation
Take Root was struggling to manage hundreds of contacts and cases annually. Everything was documented on paper, in handwritten files, or in disjointed electronic files. Searching data, cases, and contacts was tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone. It took quite a bit of time to keep case files organized. Sharing information between consultants was painful, as most telecommuted. Documents often had to be scanned and e-mailed, faxed, or copied and snail-mailed. Take Root needed a way to computerize all its information about its membership of former abducted children; case data on families in the process of recovery; and contacts from law enforcement, lawyers, judges, mental health professionals, and media. Whatever system they built or bought had to be easy to use, operate over the Web, and centralize and correlate the data. It also had to securely search and share the data among consultants. Lastly, the system had to fit Take Root's modest budget.

Solution
Take Root executive director Liss Hart-Haviv found Alpha Five through TechSoup, a program for non-profits that provides commercial software at cut rates. In just one eight-hour work day, Hart-Haviv built a fully functional relational database using Alpha Five that could store, organize, and sort membership, contact, and case data. Her new application could operate on a local network or over the Web, and provided facilities for secure login and access. She set about populating the database with demographic data, membership profiles, case records, and contact information.

Benefits
Alpha Five transformed Take Root's information management and, in the process, made the organization much more agile and effective. Hart-Haviv was shocked at how easy it was for her to design and build a complex Web database application that, in the end, met every requirement the organization established for it. Take Root saved the time and cost of hiring a programmer or buying a canned solution. The organization did not have to invest in employee training and IT staffing, because the resulting database solution is easy enough for novices to use. Alpha Five's genies helped Hart-Haviv express complex application logic to automate all of Take Root's business processes, eliminating the need to use paper forms and centralizing the agency's data into one database. Consultants who telecommute can access the application and data over the Web, giving them more time to focus on helping formerly abducted children, instead of filling out forms and pushing paper around. And because the database is Web-based, the organization's services are now available around the clock, around the globe.

For More Information
Alpha Software, Inc.
781-229-4500
www.AlphaSoftware.com

Take Root
1-800-ROOT-ORG
www.TakeRoot.org

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