Since our inception in 1998, Furniture Bank has strived to make our activities more streamlined to ensure we serve as many clients as possible. We seek to minimize wastage of effort and to speed up activities by automation, because we realize that efficiencies we gain within our organization have a compound effect on the impact we have in the community. We believe passionately that the effective use of technology empowers us to meet our challenges head on. In fact, it is the use of these technologies that helped turn our financially struggling charity into one whose social enterprise generated $1.15M in 2014, enabling us to extend our social impact.
Part of this drive for efficiency has seen us embrace digital and cloud technologies. We are constantly learning and trying new things. Here we showcase our 12 favourite productivity tools currently in operation at Furniture Bank. Many of them have been donated to us by the companies or foundations associated with the products, or by individual / corporate donors, or are free. Where we have made an investment in a certain product, it is because we believe the financial and efficiency gains outweigh the cost outlay.
- Salesforce – In use at Furniture Bank since 2009 and probably the single biggest reason for our success in scaling to date (handling over 500,000 transactions in the last 5 years alone). All contact and organization data is centralized in Salesforce including client, donor, volunteer, furniture pickup, warehouse stock and delivery data.
- Apple iPads – Using the Salesforce1 app on Apple iPads have increased the efficiency of client appointments by allowing the client’s choice of furniture to be updated into Salesforce in real time rather than manually.
- SQUARE – Together with Apple iPhones to assist with navigation and communication, our pickups drivers are equipped with Square readers to enable the efficient processing of credit card payments during furniture pickups.
- Google Apps for Work – The Google Apps platform powers Furniture Bank’s email, cloud storage, and online security and fosters collaboration between employees via Google calendar, Docs and more.
- WordPress – Our website is built and managed on WordPress software and is at the forefront of our online efforts to increase awareness and reach of our charity and social enterprise.
- HubSpot – Hubspot powers all our inbound and email marketing automation efforts. We believe passionately in the inbound marketing philosophy and strive to continually attract, convert and delight our social enterprise customer personas.
- Google Analytics – Google Analytics powers our understanding of what is and what’s not working on our website, and helps us continually improve our online efforts to attract more donors and volunteers.
- Adobe Creative Cloud – Our marketing and promotions creatives are all done in-house with the use of Adobe’s suite of creative products. A challenge to master, but we enjoy challenges!
- Primus – Primus’ hosted phone system powers our telecommunications and enables our Call Centre to effectively and efficiently take inbound calls and assist our social enterprise customers and our clients.
- TINYpulse – We are passionate believers in giving our employees a voice. We use TINYpulse to enable all employees to share feedback anonymously, thereby helping to shape our organizational culture and improve our results.
- Asana – Ensures our growing team is able to collaborate, plan and track the dozens of projects, partnerships, promotions, events and programs happening simultaneously at Furniture Bank.
- Survey Monkey – Allows us to regularly collect feedback from clients, donors and volunteers to ensure we serve all our stakeholders as best as we can, stay ‘on track’ and improve our results year over year.
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