YWCA Seattle, King & Snohomish County - Technology for Good

Organization Name
YWCA Seattle, King & Snohomish County
Mission Statement

The YWCA's mission is to advance the quality of life for women of all ages, races and faiths, and their families. In support of this mission, the YWCA provides services to meet critical needs, promote self-sufficiency, reduce violence, eliminate racism and achieve equal opportunities for all people.

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: In 2008, the YWCA Seattle, King & Snohomish County consisted of 32 geographical locations over two counties. Although the organization was using technology (Office XP and a few legacy applications), only a handful of the locations were networked and there was no collaboration, no sharing of information and although they were using electronic tools and pc's, the work was in essence being done manually. And in separate information islands, much of the work was being duplicated with no coordination of efforts. This isolation and lack of collaborative technology resulted in many, many wasted manhours and quite a bit of inefficiency.

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)
Other: Communicator, Infopath

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: After we brought all the locations into the Active Directory network, we implemented an intranet utilizing Windows SharePoint Services (since upgraded to SharePoint 2010). The ability to bring all locations into a centralized medium for information, document sharing, and collaborative tools has revolutionized this organization. We've converted approximately 50% of our paper forms to Infopath "smart" forms, and through the use of SharePoint, Infopath and VBA, we've automated many processes. No longer do we have the disparate "islands" in our agency. Now staff in one county that works in a particular field such as Domestic Violence is able to collaborate with the DV staff in another sharing good ideas, standardizing their approaches and becoming much more efficient.

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: SharePoint, by far, has been the biggest game changer at the YWCA. For us to provide the greatest service to our clients and our community, especially in these tough economic times, our internal practices much be as efficient as possible. Every minute wasted looking for a file, every minute spent recreating a file, document or process which has already been created by another staff member, everytime a staff member is unaware of critical information to do their job is time wasted from the service of our clients.

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: Our Grants Department has utilized SharePoint to track their grants. In the past, each location would pursue grants with no coordination of efforts. In many cases this resulted in two YWCA offices going after the same grant, competing against each other. Now this information is shared on the intranet and there are no conflicts. With SharePoint 2010, we have begun to build dashboards and for the first time our Senior Management is able to get a snapshot view of the operations of their departments... everything from managing the budgets, to client demographics, to donor information.

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