Icarol Is Built Specifically For The Needs Of Nonprofit Helplines

by Neil McKechnie - Date: 2010-06-19 - Word Count: 758 Share This!

There are many 'off the shelf' or 'home-grown' Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and some would likely do an adequate job to track your clients.

Most however are not specifically designed to meet the needs of non-profit help lines.There are a variety of reasons why iCarol would be far more beneficial to the specific needs of help lines like yours:

Volunteer-oriented interface - powerful and intuitive.

Generic CRM packages are intended for for-profit corporations that pay their staff and can mandate them to use certain tools, and give lengthy and recurring training for those tools. They make tradeoffs in favor of complicated screens and behaviors, rather than ease of use. If a person does not (or will not) learn how to use the system in all of its detail, their manager can reassign them or terminate their employment.

By comparison, iCarol has been designed and documented in every regard to be very easy to use, even for computer novices, while still being extremely powerful. This "intuitiveness" has been honed by use over more than five years and with over 14,000 real volunteers using it on a steady basis. We routinely hear stories about elderly volunteers who never used a computer before, but quickly learned iCarol and went on to do email with their grandchildren because of the comfort they gained from iCarol. We are certain that amongst your volunteer base you have a large number of such computer novices who are there to serve callers, not learn how to use a complicated software package.

Built-in best practices from non-profit help lines around the world.
To get a generic CRM customised to work adequately for you will take extensive initial and ongoing effort from expensive and highly-trained experts - who are software experts, not non-profit help line experts. So you will have to do most of the hard work in planning out how you want it to work, communicating that clearly to these experts, then waiting while they hopefully implement what you want. If it does not meet your needs, you have more and more cycles of revision, communication, waiting and implementation. By contrast, the iCarol team only serves non-profit help lines - not only does it already have highly refined features that matches how agencies like yours work, it continues to grow and evolve based on our daily contact with new and existing clients around the world. It will work better when you initially deploy and will keep getting better even if you don't actively ask us for enhancements. And when you do ask for enhancements, our expertise in working with agencies like yours means we're much more likely to really understand what you're asking for.

Integration of many needed help line features, not just one or two.

A generic CRM really only serves a one component of what you do: track clients and log calls. With some hard work, you might coax it into doing a few other things, but likely not very well. By contrast, iCarol is designed to serve you in a whole spectrum of vital functions beyond this, like volunteer and staff management, online shift scheduling, resource database and referrals, messaging (like live chat, email and SMS), and charts & reports. That's one intuitive software package, not five or six standalone or cobbled-together packages, to deploy, train on, use, and maintain. As well, we have already built and deployed features that make it easy to knit together independent branch-level iCarol systems into regional and national networks to facilitate controlled data sharing and reporting. And we can integrate with other existing packages you may have, like Service Finder.

Heightened sensitivity to confidentiality.

We are keenly aware how important the protection of your data is. That's why we take extreme measures to do so, like subject iCarol to daily electronic third-party security audits, and encrypt sensitive caller data all the way into our database. Even our technicians cannot see or read this information without your permission.

So even if the generic CRM offered absolutely free licensing, instead with iCarol you would get a system that is much more likely to be embraced by your existing and new volunteers, highly tuned to the way you work, meets a much broader range of your operational needs, is better designed to protect your data from unauthorized eyes, and reflects the best practices of non-profit help lines around the world. These significant advantages will translate into better service to your callers, higher volunteer retention, and a lower cost and time to implement (either via direct costs paid to external experts, time spent by internal salaried staff, or a combination of both).

Related Tags: referrals, call centre, help line software, helpline software, volunteer scheduling software, non profit software, shift scheduling

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