Nonprofit Case Studies
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Caring Connections for Seniors
Best Practice: Digital Divide
“Caring Connections for Seniors has a ‘friendly visitor’ program for matching volunteers with seniors who are isolated or homebound and need assistance. When our seniors expressed that they lacked the Internet access needed for researching medical issues, finding and applying for benefits programs, staying in touch with friends and family or shopping for basics, we sought out Mobile Citizen so we could extend our program by offering an affordable Internet option. Our digital literacy program combines low-cost mobile Internet with refurbished equipment and 1:1 in-home tutoring by volunteer-friendly visitors so low-income seniors can stay connected and take full advantage of all the Internet has to offer. For those of us leveraging technology in our work, it’s easy to take having Internet access for granted. Watching a senior receiving family photos via the Internet for the very first time makes connectivity meaningful and certainly puts things into perspective. Internet access through Mobile Citizen has also enhanced pARTicipation in inter-generational arts workshops by enabling us to including a digital storytelling component that combines creativity with our computer literacy program.”
-André Petty, Executive Director, Caring Connections for Seniors
University of Illinois-Chicago College of Education
Best Practice: Staff and Student Mobility
“Nearly all of the doctoral students in our urban education leadership program work full-time; and their work tends to be mobile. Reliable Internet access means they can stay connected to their work as well as their coaches, both of which are critical to achieving success in our program and in their schools. In addition to enabling both students and coaches, we quickly learned that our staff also benefits greatly from staying connected to these very important stakeholders.”
- Katonja Webb, Associate Director, Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois-Chicago
Best Practice: Saving Money
“Aspiritech is a QA/software testing company that trains and employs adults with high-functioning autism. As an nonprofit IT provider, having affordable, reliable wireless Internet is essential. Being connected means we can meet the needs of our growing list of clients. Saving money helps us grow our organization so we can provide even more services to the adults we train, employ and serve.”
-Moshe Weitzberg, Director of Operations, Aspiritech
Best Practice: Staff Mobility
Feeding America's mission is to feed the hungry through a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Through food pantries, soup kitchens and other agencies, Feeding America helps secure and distribute more than 3 billion pounds of food and grocery products annually with a highly mobile staff. In fact, approximately one third of Feeding America’s national office staff are on the go, working with food banks, agencies and advocates on the road to raise awareness of the issue of hunger in the United States.
And with all those devices and all that mobility, mobile Internet costs were adding up.
Feeding America Senior Vice President Kevin Lutz looked at the organization’s mobile Internet bills and realized he could save 75% by working with Mobile Citizen, a low-cost mobile Internet provider for nonprofits.
“Our research shows that for every dollar raised, we can provide eight meals to the people we serve. That also means for every dollar saved by reducing our mobile Internet costs, that's money that can go to help feed someone in need in our community - and that is our ultimate goal.”
— Kevin Lutz, Senior Vice President, Feeding America
Learn more about Feeding America's success on our blog.
Best Practice: Staff Mobility, Capital Budget Relief
The Anti-Cruelty Society, Chicago’s largest and oldest, open-admission humane society, received a grant from Humana Chicago Benefits, enabling them to upgrade their animal intake and tracking process. Great news if they had the infrastructure to support it. Unfortunately their 1933 office building, with a poor data infrastructure, presented a challenge. The renovation needed to implement traditional technology was going to cost up to $55,000. Mobile Internet access was the only affordable solution on which to deploy their new, and much needed intake/tracking system.
With CLEAR from Mobile Citizen, The Anti-Cruelty Society not only saved the organization thousands of dollars in unnecessary implementation and renovation costs, but added productivity worth more than $100,000 annually . Their six veterinarians, who are paid $50/hour, gained more than 1.5 hours of productive time each day due to the efficiency of real-time, mobile access to data and resources.
The benefits didn’t stop there. More than 30 veterinary assistants enjoy increased productivity because of this shared access. The Society’s Field service investigators, who are called upon to pick up unwanted animals and investigate complaints of cruelty, neglect and abuse, also benefit from access to mobile Internet, particularly in emergency situations.www.anticruelty.org
Ronald McDonald House
Las Vegas NV
Best Practice: Affordable (and healthy) telecommuting
Believing that every child deserves a safe and supportive place to grow, Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) of Greater Las Vegas creates and supports programs that directly improve the health, education and well-being of children in their community. And they do that thanks to a very dedicated and an increasingly mobile staff. Families and children staying at the Ronald McDonald House can be extremely susceptible to illness, and as a result they have a very strict health policy for staff -- stay home if you’re sick to help prevent transmission and protect the families in the House. CLEAR from Mobile Citizen gives them the ability to have a ‘mobile office’ and necessary Internet access ensuring staffers have the same access to applications as they had in the office and enabling them to work productively off-site. In addition to benefitting from ongoing productivity of their staff, RMHC of Greater Las Vegas will be able to extend mobile broadband benefits to their families so they can connect with loved ones back home, whether they are at the House or in a hospital caring for their child.
Best Practices: Digital Inclusion
Philadelphia FIGHT, like many nonprofits, sees the provision of consumer education as a key component of the social services they deliver in the community. So what happens when nearly half of the individuals you serve do not have access to the Internet, one of the most powerful information gathering, consumer education tools available?
You bring the Internet to them!
That is what Philadelphia FIGHT did as a part of its Critical Path Project. Since 1987, Critical Path Project has harnessed the power of the Internet to get the latest information to the wider community. Having access to the Internet and the Critical Path AIDS Project website means easy access to the full range of potentially life-extending or life-saving HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and referral information. Research showed that more than 40% of Philadelphia residents did not have Internet access. To complement their 27 public computer centers providing digital literacy training and information, Philadelphia FIGHT knew that a large percentage of people still did not have access to education and the reliable health information and resources they provide. Low-cost mobile Internet from Mobile Citizen helped FIGHT’s Critical Path Project roll out two mobile computer labs bringing services to these underserved communities.
“Information is a powerful tool, but only when you have access to it. Because of Mobile Citizen, we now bring Internet access to the people and places where it wouldn’t otherwise exist.”
— Deaglan Daugherty, Philadelphia FIGHT Digital Inclusion Supervisor
Philadelphia FIGHT shares more of their story on our blog.
Community Counseling Centers of Chicago
Best Practices: Community Outreach
The Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4) is a community based mental health provider helping clients in crisis or simply needing assistance navigating in the community. More than 20 licensed clinical social workers crisscross the city delivery counseling and support services on a daily basis so their work is more ‘on the go’ then in the office.
C4’s CIO, Danielle Byron, knew that mobile Internet connectivity was a must for enabling productivity and true community outreach, but it came at a cost. That is why when C4 learned they could cut their costs from $60 a month to only $10 a month, the business case was an easy one.
C4 originally signed up for mobile Internet because it gave clinicians instant access to information they needed to effectively do their jobs: internal databases, medical records and case histories. When responding to clients in crisis, it is never in the office, at their desk, tied to their computers. It is at a school, a home or even the hospital. Clinicians now access information when, and where, they need it. And they log service notes immediately so there was no need to drive back to the office to do so.
As soon as clinicians were given mobile Internet, they found new and innovative ways to use it. In working with clients, they could now connect them with 'safety net' resources such as shelter or food bank locations and information such as rules and steps for applying for Medicare and Medicaid.
“With low-cost mobile Internet from Mobile Citizen, not only could we expand our program to more clinicians and clients, we could afford additional netbooks. Together, these tools make life easier for our clinicians and better for our clients.”
— Danielle Byron, C4 Chief Information Officer
Read the rest of C4's story on our blog.
Quest for Tech
Best Practices: Virtual Office, Mobile Programs
Quest for Tech had an office and a classroom in downtown Philadelphia but gave it up when they realized more fundraising dollars could be directed to programs by reinventing the nonprofit as a virtual organization. With a completely volunteer staff, and low cost mobile Internet from Mobile Citizen, Quest for Tech keeps costs down so they can focus on their mission: pairing education with access to technology for underserved populations.
Quest for Tech's unique program pairs one teacher per student for technology education and provides an 80% subsidized discount for new laptop computers. Teachers sync up with students in all parts of the city, so having their own personal mobile hot spots gives them the flexibility to turn a coffee shop or library or even a park bench into a classroom equipped with high-speed mobile Internet access.
“For us, it's all about education and access. With Mobile Citizen, we're not only showing our students all the Internet has to offer - Google documents, web-based email, a world of information and services - we're giving them access to it.”
— Matthew Becker, Quest for Tech Chairman & Executive Director
Read the rest of Quest for Tech's Mobile CItizen experience on our blog.
Healthy Schools Campaign
Best Practice: Business Continuity, Maximizing Digital Communications
The Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) knows that healthy children make better learners. That is why they advocate for policies and programs that allow students, faculty and staff to learn and work in a healthy environment. For HSC, having reliable Internet access is mission critical.
For basic Internet access, they had 1 DSL line for years and it was vulnerable to outages. Even the shortest amount of downtime disrupted their business and resulted in decreased productivity and lost opportunities. So they set out to find a reliable back up. Adding a 2nd line was cost prohibitive so affordable and reliable mobile broadband with CLEAR from Mobile Citizen, saved them more than $5,000 on service. In addition to cost savings, the service provided the redundancy HSC needed for its Internet access for employees accessing cloud computing databases such as Google email, and their CRM databases: Salesforce.com,databank.com and events.org . The service also doubled reliability for inbound communications allowing employees access to HSC’s internal server.
Having 4G service also meant increased capacity or bandwidth. For an organization dependent on communicating news and best practices to its constituents, being able to make daily website changes -- including uploading and downloading of graphics and large files -- was important. Having the fastest Internet service available allows HSC to take full advantage of today’s latest digital mediums like video. www.healthyschoolscampaign.org
Heart of Hope
Best Practice: Powerful Fundraising Tool
When Heart of Hope Ministries International needed mobile Internet capabilities to boost marketing and fundraising activities, they came to Mobile Citizen.
Mobile broadband made Skype, an application allowing for phone calls over the Internet, possible, connecting fundraiser attendees with beneficiaries of their program – Romanian orphans, widows and families in desperate need of social services.
Heart of Hope also uses mobile broadband in its outreach efforts with potential volunteers. With CLEAR service from Mobile Citizen, Heart of Hope staff can make a more personal connection with volunteers by having access to the organization's website, program information and success stories while meeting outside the office.