What’s the best way to get volunteers out the door, on the ground and — when they’re done — excited to volunteer again? You leverage technology to make the process as smooth and rewarding as possible. Meanwhile, your nonprofit organization saves time, money and other valuable resources.
In only a decade, Team Rubicon grew from eight individuals to over 85,000 volunteers. While historically the nonprofit solved their challenges with limited organizational resources, they came to a point where the systems they were using couldn’t keep up with their growth.
With so many volunteers who need to be organized, deployed and tracked, it became more and more difficult for Team Rubicon to not only measure the dollar-for-dollar impact of their donations but also get volunteers where they need to be in time to respond to a disaster.
It was time to find a new technology system to meet their needs.
But there was no perfect fit in an existing system, so Team Rubicon partnered with Microsoft and Wipfli to build a volunteer management system (VMS) that could do everything they needed it to.
Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Common Data Model (CDM) for Nonprofits as a foundation for the VMS, Wipfli’s goal was to better leverage the skills of Team Rubicon’s volunteers and make deploying them, procuring equipment and training new volunteers much easier and faster. The Wipfli team transformed the data behind Team Rubicon’s operations into a unified system that artificial intelligence (AI) could use to increase automation. The VMS uses AI to determine the logistics of equipment, which volunteers are best suited to provide the type of relief necessary and how best to get them where they need to be.
As exciting as the VMS was, it’s ultimately only as good as the number of people who adopt it. Implementing much-needed technology and process improvements meant change management was an equally important part of Wipfli’s work with Team Rubicon. And that’s an area Wipfli excels in.
With communication being the key to everything, the Wipfli team made Team Rubicon’s employees aware of the coming changes, explained the business purpose of making those changes and how they benefit from using the new technology platform, trained them to use the new system and follow the new processes and, most importantly, ensured Team Rubicon’s leadership continually reinforced these improved ways of getting things done.
Now, Team Rubicon has started to see a high adoption rate. In the past, Team Rubicon’s divisions across the U.S. and abroad all did things a little bit differently, and their internal systems and processes did the best they could to keep up. But now everyone is on the same technology system, with the same efficiency benefits. The VMS — built off of business intelligence and machine learning — helps Team Rubicon respond faster and save more lives. Plus, its insights help them continue to make a difference on an even larger scale.
Team Rubicon is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that uses the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. Founded in 2010, Team Rubicon has deployed across the United States and around the world to provide immediate relief to those impacted by disasters and humanitarian crises.