Pacifica Senior Services has been serving older adults in the Bay Area, especially those with disabilities, for over 40 years. From transportation services, referral services, and nutrition programs to activities such as creative writing and ballroom dancing, Pacifica Senior Services strives to promote socialization and improve well-being among senior citizens in their community.
Pacifica Senior Services—a program within the city’s Parks, Beaches, and Recreation Department—has 700 members and, over the course of a year, about 200 active Meals on Wheels clients. Additionally, they have 300–400 members that come to their congregant lunches held at their senior services center as well as hundreds of members that come to participate in more than 40 classes—from jewelry making to Zumba—offered at the center.
As an organization seated in the only city of 26 cities in their county with a Meals on Wheels program, Pacifica Senior Services relies heavily on dedicated volunteers.
Immediately after becoming the organization’s Development Director, Ann Cooney put her 30 years of nonprofit experience to work by setting a goal to streamline the database and processes. She knew that achieving success meant they should spend less time organizing and managing their data, and more time delivering valuable services to the community.
Volunteers were recording activities on to spreadsheets that resided on their desktop which created disjointed silos of data and made the process cumbersome to manage.
The organization did not have any form of centralized database that allowed users to form a complete picture of the organization and its donors, members, and volunteers. Because of the disconnected method of record keeping, Pacifica struggled to enrich their relationships with its stakeholders.
In her discussions with Jim Lange, Pacifica’s Executive Director, she was asked for her recommendations for software that could help the organization manage their data better.
She suggested Exceed Beyond—a platform she had come to know well as a user of the full suite of Exceed products (Exceed! Basic, Exceed! Premier, and Exceed Beyond) throughout her 30 years in the industry. She knew Exceed Beyond could steer Pacifica Senior Services in the right direction.
“We're a modest program but this tool is taking us to a level we wish were at a long time ago,” Ann said.
"“There’s a lot of reporting and invoicing that I do on a monthly basis for federal monies so now I can pull up these reports immediately, which I would not have otherwise without a personal journal. Having that [capability] with the history connected by person or by program has just been awesome.”
Once Ann had Exceed Beyond set up for her team, she established a training lab to provide hands-on guidance for her volunteers in a way that made sense to them. This training was essential for getting her staff onboard with the upcoming shift in the way they organize data and communicate effectively.
Introducing technology that was easy to use was important for Ann when preparing her team for the transition. Pacifica could not operate without the help of its volunteers, some of whom are in their 80s. Yet even the eldest of their volunteers was able understand how to enter data into Exceed Beyond’s thanks to a combination of Arreva’s trainers and Ann’s detailed process documents.
The first success Ann and her team experienced using Exceed Beyond was their annual membership drive. While the previous process had been limited to desktop spreadsheets, their new method for entering each transaction into Exceed Beyond allowed multiple users to enter new members from any computer in their office.
At the end of two weeks, they had input 500 new and renewing members to their community and, they could account for every transaction and each batch balance; no small feat for the newly networked team at Pacifica.
In addition to organizing membership management, Jim finds Exceed Beyond’s reporting tools useful, allowing him to send revenue reports to commissioners on a quarterly basis for the first time.
“There’s a lot of reporting and invoicing that I do on a monthly basis for federal monies so now I can pull up these reports immediately, which I would not have otherwise without a personal journal. Having that [capability] with the history connected by person or by program has just been awesome.”
With the new software, Pacifica Senior Services was able to:
- Send special thank you letters to “legacy” volunteers who have dedicated consecutive years of service.
- Thank donors in a timely fashion.
- Quickly generate revenue reports for commissioners, federal monies, and other uses.
- Feel confident about having successful audits.
Ann and other staff members have also received rapid and professional feedback from Exceed Beyond’s customer service team, which allows them to spend less time onboarding and more time helping senior citizens live a happy life.
Although Pacifica needed an organizational culture shift, the transition to a fully cloud-based, centralized donor relationship management software solution was remarkably smooth due in great part to the training and effort managed by a strong, thoughtful leader.
As they continue to maximize their potential with Exceed Beyond, Ann expects to see higher retention among Pacifica members and a she very much hopes to get the entire Parks and Recreation department shored up to the same level of efficiency and organization that the team was able to accomplish within Pacifica’s Senior Services department.
“The database we’re building in Exceed is as great an asset as our buildings and our city’s good name,” explains Ann.
An asset that Pacifica Senior Services will continue to build upon in the years to come.