Transforming lives by building capacity

Organization Name
Life Works
Mission Statement

Transforming lives by building the capacity of individuals, families, organizations, and the community to thrive and achieve their goals regardless of personal challenge, promoting self determination, dignity and respect, creating opportunities for living, learning, working, and personal growth.

City & State
Question 1
The Before: What was the challenge, issue or problem your organization was facing? Or, what was the opportunity you were not able to take advantage of before you put a technology solution in place?

Answer: Prior to 2008, Life Works struggled with how to match agency growth with the need to increase technological solutions. As a result of extensive long range strategic planning, and the help of community members with technological experience, we have been able to more effectively bridge this gap. We now have a server that will accomodate growth now and in the immediate future that is safe, and provides people with disabilities and disadvantages the opportunity to take part in using computers as a part of their daily lives. Clients use computers to look for employment, find educational opportunities, or create items they can use in their daily lives. Technology also helps Life Works' staff and volunteers to serve people in need, such as families with children that have autism that cannot afford services. Each year, our technology team (2 staff) review the needs of the agency to determine the best options to take to continue to fulfill our mission. In the last year, Life Works made the most impact evet in our 30 year history in Cowlitz County, serving over 8,000 children and adults in a variety of capacities.

Question 2
What Microsoft software have you used/are you using in your organization to more effectively engage your beneficiaries, donors and/or volunteers and/or to make a difference in your community?

Answer: Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 (Includes any of the following: Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, OneNote, Outlook, and Word)

Question 3
The After: How have these Microsoft products allowed you to engage your stakeholders more efficiently or effectively to make a difference in your community?

Answer: Microsoft products allow Life Works staff and clients to communicate with the world. Staff use these products to complete the daily tasks needed to support children and adults with disabilities and disadvantages with everything from health care (communicating with medical professionals), to connecting people with their families and friends. We also use the technology to research funding opportunities, maintain contractual services, find employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and continually maintain the daily operations of a vital social service organization. Microsoft software allows Life Works to grow and meet the needs of the community without overwhelming changes or continual trainings to ensure that staff can use the software.

Question 4
What about these products (the features or the way you used them) made them particularly helpful in enabling your organization to expand and improve upon its community impact?

Answer: Outlook helps Life Works to partner with other providers throughout the community for trainings and service dissemination. We use PowerPoint on a regular basis to educate the community about our services. We also use the program to disseminate information to staff for trainings, such as Bloodborne Pathogens. Excell spreadsheets are used in a variety of ways - to show financial impact, for mailing lists, for medication worksheets for clients, to name a few. Publisher is used to create marketing items, announcements, calendars, and labels. If we had to have all of these items created at a printer, our agency budget would be severely impacted.

Question 5
Please provide any examples, stories or data that illustrate the difference the use of Microsoft software has enabled you to make (i.e., # of new clients reached, new program added, increased dollars raised, increased volunteers, etc.

Answer: Microsoft software has allowed Life Works to increase its fundraising capacity exponentially. Starting in 2008, Life Works began a capital campaign for approximately $2 million. To date, we have raised over $1.3 for the campaign. It would not have been possible without the use of Outlook, Internet Explorer, and Publisher. In 2009, Life Works hosted its first annual fundraising event, Jeans & Jewels. Without the use of Outlook, Publisher, Word, and Excell, we would not have been able to raise over $50,000. Our second event in raised over $93,000.

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