How Online Forms Can Benefit Community Service Organizations
Community service organizations are about helping. If you are involved with your church’s food pantry program, your child’s athletic league, or an after-school tutoring program, your goal is to help people improve their lives, not to spend more time doing paperwork.
At the same time, however, making the most of what are often limited resources requires that you be organized and not duplicate effort through inefficient practices. Strategic use of business tools, like online forms, can actually help you reduce bureaucracy and save resources, so you have more to devote to those you serve. Here’s how.
Making the Most of Resources
Tracking financial and time resources is essential in community service organizations. You don’t want to waste money buying supplies that have already been purchased and you don’t want to inadvertently lean too hard on some volunteers while leaving others to wonder when you’re going to call them.
Form creation software can be your answer to these issues. With simple online forms, you can keep everyone in the loop about where to find the ball-point pens, and ensure you schedule volunteers well in advance, based on their availability. Imagine your volunteers logging into your website and entering simple information about their schedules over the next month. You can then generate a schedule that’s fair and convenient for the maximum number of people.
Improving Transparency of Bookkeeping
Because community service organizations tend to have limited financial resources, bookkeeping transparency is absolutely essential to prevent misunderstandings and rumors and to ensure money is being spent responsibly. If, say, a donation comes in that’s earmarked for your humane organization’s spay and neuter program, a simple online form can ensure that the money is used for that purpose.
And at the end of the year, the right form creation software will allow you to create financial reports that clearly show where money has come in, and where it has been used. The best part is that all of this can be done with simple online forms and workflows, without costing bookkeeping volunteers excess amounts of their time to untangle different income and spending threads.
Providing Options to Users of Community Services
Often, people with lower incomes use their phones as their sole internet access point. You can make mobile-friendly forms that make it easy for them to apply for aid or schedule a meeting with one of your service workers. Some people will still prefer paper forms, but many people will like and use the option to access community services with a few taps and clicks.
Online options for applying for aid are also easier for your volunteers to manage. There’s no paper to lose, and referring to an application that came in two weeks ago is an instant process, that doesn’t require sifting through a stack of papers. Everyone saves time, and your organization will spend less money on paper, ink, and printing costs.
The ROI Is Surprisingly Swift
The return on investment for form creation software can be swift for your community service organization. With cloud-hosted software, your online forms can be created and put to use right away, and you’ll see time and resource savings almost immediately. The right software will also allow you to create custom forms that make sense to your users. In fact, you can create online forms that look exactly like the paper forms you used to use, down to the colors, fonts, and instructions. That way, people will have an easy time switching from paper to online forms.
PerfectForms is a form creator software that lets you get right to work creating pixel-perfect, custom online forms, without having to program. You can connect your online forms into logical workflows, and include automated notifications. Meanwhile, form data can be gathered automatically, so you can find out at any time how much money is coming in, how many volunteers are helping out, and how many people your organization is serving. Then, at the end of the year, or whenever it’s time to apply to grant programs, you can produce sensible, clear reports that demonstrate how you’re using resources.
Serving the community isn’t about “all business, all the time,” but there are business tools, like online forms, that can make community service organizations run far more efficiently. We encourage you to take a look at some of our many case studies and see how PerfectForms helps businesses and organizations of all types improve efficiency, save money, and work more effectively.