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Recruit, train, connect with volunteers
16.4% of the total population in Washington D.C. is living in poverty1, and home prices are rising year over year. Thrive DC needs to act fast and at scale to mitigate the risk of increasing homelessness in D.C., currently affecting 7,400 people2.
“When you are raising 3 million dollars to serve thousands of meals a year, help people to get sober, return from incarceration or find a job, the last thing that you want is inefficiency. Google for Nonprofits makes us more efficient.”
Daniel Meloy, Thrive DC’s Development Director.
A typical morning at Thrive DC starts with a hearty breakfast served to 150-200 people, at which point clients can also access laundry facilities and showers. Throughout the week, Thrive DC coordinates substance abuse counseling support, post-incarceration re-entry programs, a food bank, job skills training, access to a computer lab, and a mailing service for 1,000 clients. With a staff of only 16 people, each year Thrive DC serves more than 2,000 clients, coordinates 2,400 volunteers, provides 160,000 meals and distributes over 140,000 pounds of food through its emergency pantry.
Their keys to success are a productive team, a very structured volunteer management system, and an efficient fundraising strategy. When our Google for Nonprofits team visited Thrive DC’s office in Washington, we felt incredibly proud to see how our products are fueling them all!
Efficiency is essential for a small staff whose job changes the lives of thousands. Google Workspace helps Thrive DC to be even more productive. Google Calendar is used to assign hundreds of volunteers to six different programs every week, and events are color-coded to see at a glance which groups are volunteering, and when. Google Drive and Meet are bringing collaboration to the next level: “When we organize our volunteer database, we all work on the same Google Spreadsheet. In two hours, we have finished a task that would otherwise take two weeks” says Kira Lanier, Thrive DC’s Development Manager. “If we are not sitting together, we can communicate on our Hangout group chat.”
“Thanks to Google Workspace, we can get the work done faster and spend more time serving the community.”
Kira Lanier, Thrive DC’s Development Manager
“Serving the community” has a very specific meaning for Thrive DC. It is about offering food and care to a vulnerable group of people every day, but also about developing support programs for the homeless to reintegrate into society, become self-sufficient, find a job and eventually move back to a home. Such an aspiring purpose needs a growing number of resources. Traditional, offline fundraising is still important for Thrive DC, yet direct mail fundraising channels are not growing. As an online tool, Ad Grants has unlocked a new fundraising opportunity. “Supporters know about us more than ever, and this is because we can advertise online [at no charge]. Without Google, we wouldn't have the resources”, mentioned Alicia Horton, Executive Director. Thrive DC's online giving channels are now seeing double-digit percentage growth every year!
Impact of Google for Nonprofits
- Google Workspace has drastically changed the way Thrive DC works, manages volunteers, communicates, and even looks for talent! For the first time, the team hired an employee remotely. Using Meet for video conferencing and Google Drive to share documents, everyone can easily and simultaneously collaborate from different locations.
- Google Workspace and Ad Grants at no charge equal the value of more than 1,000 doctor appointments and an additional 40,000 meals a year for Thrive DC’s clients.
- With Ad Grants:
- Online donations have increased by 38% from 2017 to 2018.
- The website has become so visible that now Thrive DC receives enough volunteer applications online and no longer spends time recruiting. This saves 40 days of work every year, and with the additional resources available, helps Thrive DC match the cost of 5,400 doctor appointments for the community.
1Source: U.S. Census Bureau, District of Columbia, Quick Facts, 2017
2Source: United States Interagency Council on Homelessness