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Contributed by
Stowmarket Relief Trust

Overview

Since 1523, Stowmarket Relief Trust has been supporting those facing hardship in Stowmarket. The charity gives grants to people struggling to heat their homes, pay their rent, or buy essentials for themselves and their children.

They also fund costs such as bankruptcy fees, removal costs and travel expenses. Approximately 100 families receive help per year.

The charity introduced an online grant application form to meet GDPR requirements. The results far exceeded expectations. Not only was special category data dealt with correctly but service providers found it so easy to apply to the Trust that applications increased by 50%.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since July 2019.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe Stowmarket Relief Trust’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a service user, I need an easy, reliable, and efficient method of applying to the Trust for grants for my clients
  • As the Trust’s administrator, I need a timesaving and foolproof method of archiving data and deleting special category data

Software and tools used

Junari CRM

Junari is a provider of specialised, and often bespoked Business Systems (ERP), including Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Cost

Pricing is available upon request from Junari. They create bespoke Business Systems based on the Odoo platform.

Considerations

Junari offers options for customisation.

Migrating information via the platform is easy.

Organisations can get an email alert when a completed form comes in.

Recipe steps

1. Have a dedicated ‘superuser’

Appoint someone in your team to have full responsibility for the system – the ‘superuser’.

Then allocate several members who can support this user, who will together form a team that attends training and cascades it to other staff members and volunteers. As a result, you’ll have a core group of people who know the system inside out.

This team can plan and consider how the customisation will be implemented and used.

2. Figure out priorities

Be strict about what you must have, could have, and should have. It’s easy to want to try and get lots of information from the user. However, there may be data that you don’t need.

Be specific about what you want in open text fields – perhaps think about dropdown lists. Think about how the information you’re asking for - and the way it’s laid out - will affect your reporting.

Be aware of what fields you are making mandatory, as this can cause repercussions down the line. Examine your working methods before deciding what should be mandatory.

3. Approach a software company

Make things easy for yourself and work with your current CRM provider if possible.

A good provider will ask the right questions, but it would still be useful to have a a clear and concise shopping list prior to engagement in order to ensure you will get what you need.

Try to get training from your provider so that your team is comfortable working with the new form.

Re-visit your needs alongside your team one final time before confirming the customisation. Realising something else needed to be tailored after confirming the customisation can result in additional fees.

4. Measure the impact

You’ll know if this has made a positive change to your users’ journey based on how many additional interactions you have with your form.

You can gather feedback through focus groups and conversations with your users to see where any changes may need to be implemented.

Guidance

Charities need to make sure that part of their budgeting is for IT.

You need to make sure that your software is regularly updated.

Futureproof your work as software shouldn’t stay stagnant.

Give support to those people who feel uncomfortable using new features.

Risks

The risk is that people won’t use your system or customisation – whether that’s service providers or your team. You have to make sure that your team is involved. Provide training and guidance to those who don’t know how to use it.

Points of contact

For further information about this recipe, you can contact:

Philippa Richardson

Thanks

Many thanks to Stowmarket Relief Trust for contributing this recipe.

Licence

This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Stowmarket Relief Trust and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on April 16th, 2021. Last updated April 16th, 2021