WRILC's Growth From Microsoft

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Western Reserve ILC
City & State:
Warren , 
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The Western Reserve Independent Living Center (WRILC) shall be committed to promoting a philosophy of independent living, which includes a philosophy of consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access and individual and systems advocacy, in order to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of individuals with disabilities, and the integration and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of American society.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

As a non-profit organization helping persons with disabilities we needed to upgrade our outdated technology. We had never been able to even consider this until the discovery of TechSoup and the Microsoft Corporation’s generosity. We were able to purchase several software packages at a price we could afford in our tight budget including Microsoft Office and Microsoft Publisher. With these purchases we were able to provide a better quality of service, increase our range of service, and enable new services.

Some may not feel that a relatively common program could make a major difference to a business, we could not disagree more. By purchasing the software we were able to be more presentable and marketable to fellow agencies, but more importantly to our consumers. We have been able to actually increase the number of consumers with simple improvements that some may take for granted. We now have new brochures, business cards, flyers and letterheads. All of this has been made easy by Microsoft Publisher. We were able to input and save our contact information, logo, tagline, and even the colors we use for projects. This has simplified the process to the point we can open a new project and it is almost complete. Although we still have much to learn about the program, we feel confident in the new technology. We now have quality publications from our office that look professional. We had never imagined this possible on our tight budget.

There is also the use of the new Microsoft Office package. Tasks have now become much easier to accomplish. We can now use Microsoft Excel when working on the budgets and other financial tasks. The different ribbons of Excel have made it easy to take a normal spreadsheet into a professional business budget. With Excel we can plan out new project costs and purchases to determine if it can fit into our budget. Also with Excel we have used the pivot table feature to help show our progress and growth in new areas of the community.

Likewise, Microsoft Word has made things in the office much easier. The new 2007 Word has made tasks take much less time to complete, which has given us more time to work for our consumers. Having a limited staff makes any little improvement that much more effective. We have created a letterhead template that makes our letters not only look professional, but also are completed much faster. The new Word has increased productivity and ease of use within the office and have a better quality outreach.

We have also taken advantage of using Microsoft Access. We have created a database that will host all of out housing information and information on grants. The database was created with a user friendly form as a start up page. It has several command buttons that will take you to the intake forms, different reports, and to different query results. This has all been accomplished with the easy to use Microsoft Access. This has greatly increased our range of service by having an easy way to help a person find affordable housing and also help us find new grants easier.

Lastly from Microsoft Office we have taken great advantage of PowerPoint. This program has made our presentations much more effective. Having the visual of the PowerPoint has increased our quality of service and our range of service. By having several presentations ready we can use any of them on a moments notice. This was almost impossible before because we would not have the time to prepare a full presentation. This program will greatly increase our range of service in the future, by doing more presentations we can introduce our organization to many more people and provide help to more in the community.

Currently we are working on a few new projects. The first is organizing an Information Fair, where many local organizations will come together to help serve the community. We have never attempted a task like this before, but with the Microsoft software we have been able to advertise in a cost efficient way, and invite many more other organizations by sending flyers. The fair should be a great success in providing the community more information about our organization, and provide a wealth of knowledge from all of the agencies to the community. Also while providing this service to the community; we will gain a greater exposure and new contacts with organizations. This Information Fair will greatly improve our range of services.

Another project is providing our disabled and elderly consumers a computer class. Now they can become proficient on computers and our Microsoft products. The consumers have showed a great enjoyment in the classes and always want to learn more. Hopefully in the near future we can purchase newer technology for them to use and make the classes better. We also hope to buy software to make the computer lab more accessible to all and have more advanced classes. The consumers are responding very well and more people want to take part.

If we would receive this grant, we would be able to provide more to our consumers. With the cash grant portion, we can invest in new computers for the office and the computer lab. This will be a much needed improvement and increase productivity. Our current computers were donated to us and have needed updated for years, but we have never had the funding to be able to do this. The added Microsoft software would help increase our ability to serve the community. We could do so much more with added Microsoft products; we could improve every stage of the organization. The consumers could use the products at no cost to them in the computer lab, this would increase their knowledge and productivity. Most importantly new computers and software would greatly increase our range of service. We could do much more for the consumers because we will not be stuck working with old technology that is slowing down our progress. We can focus more time where it counts, on the consumers.

Along with this submission are a few examples of works we have composed. Each is a screenshot of the document, in order to limit space. One of the files is our new business cards, which have are now much more professional. Included also is a PowerPoint slide and the opening page to a database made on Access to show what was talked about in the essay.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
Supporting Work Files