How 1 iPad Will Change 500 Families Lives!

Furniture Bank continues technical innovation with + iPAD = a paperless Client experience


At Furniture Bank we’ve been busy leveraging technology. As the new Executive Director here at Furniture Bank, we are moving into our 8th month of expanding our use of technology to deliver more social good to people in need in Canada. When I arrived we all quickly saw the benefits of “going digital” and today all staff at Furniture Bank see the impact that technology can have on the charity. From marketing, customer service, accounting to the warehouse the whole organization has been touched by technology. Over the summer we began to look within Furniture Bank for ways to deliver more with the resources we have.

At Furniture Bank, we began to leverage technology to expand our impact back in 2009 with the introduction of to power our Furniture Bank processes, including:

  • Client Appointments & Scheduling
  • Donor requests for Furniture Bank Pickup service
  • Warehouse inventory
  • Logistics and scheduling of truck teams
  • Volunteering coordination
  • Fundraising prospecting and event management Foundation was established to pass on their corporate success to communities around the world  and we continue to leverage this as the cornerstone of our 2014 and 2015 growth and scaling initiatives. Since our first client was added to Salesforce we can report (with accuracy thanks to Salesforce) the following social impact as of July 31st, 2014:

  • 59,917 people have been served by Furniture Bank
  • 21,030 children received furniture through our service
  • 30,092 women were recipients of furniture
  • 11,855 Immigrant & Newcomers to Canada got their start with Furniture Bank
  • 625 Aboriginal Canadians used Furniture Bank.

Our Typical Client Intake Day…

Lots of paper and clipboards…

Time Lost to Paper

Every day Furniture Bank has on average 20 appointments for families in need.
These 20 appointments are staggered throughout the morning.

Currently our 700 showroom volunteers have always been provided with “clipboards” to record our clients Furniture selection. Every sofa, houseware box, bed, table, light, tv, mirror, frame, and other furniture item is manually added, tracked and ultimately handed back to Furniture Bank staff. At that point the entire ‘check out process’ must be hand transferred back into our account before the delivery and checkout can be arranged. Doing basic time and motion studies we see that on an average day there is between 15 and 20 minutes of waiting time for clients to complete their check out process. Time lost to Furniture Bank serving other clients.[/av_one_half]

Time Lost to Paper

Sticking “with paper” we calculated the “Time Lost to Paper”…

  • Average wait time for client check out =    16  Minutes (2013 Median)
  • Average client appointments per day =      20  Appointments per day (2014 Median)
  • lost time per day  =   320 minutes lost each day (that we could use for more clients)
  • lost time per week = 1600  minutes lost each month
  • lost time per year = 80,000  minutes lost each year (50 working weeks)


Bottom-line …

Time lost to Paper  is equivalent to 190 working days worth of appointments. Which means a hypothetical potential of another 3800 more appointments or another 15 appointments per day we could accommodate if we got rid of the paper! 

Local Toronto Salesforce Development firm BigKite Donates their Time to help!


So the great folks at BigKite Consulting, and the team at Furniture Bank are nearing the end of our 60 day project to “digitize” the Paper Clipboard and allow our volunteers to support the check out process of our clients. Our early tests show we can safely assume check outs will go from 16 minutes down to 5 minutes allowing a significant impact on the number of clients we can serve. BigKite is a Salesforce customization expert and they’ve donated their time to allow a very exciting chapter for Furniture Bank to unfold.

Using the iPad married to Salesforce One and Furniture Bank’s Salesforce platform – we will be able to accommodate another 10 appointments per day – a staggering 2600 more appointments in a year. Translate this to our social impact – this project will allow us to serve a potential of 8,000 people each year across the GTA a 50% increase in our key performance indicator – clients served. We are nearing the end of the testing, and here is where we hope our supporters can lend a hand. We need 6 iPads – each iPad can support us taking on another 500 clients a year!

Help Us Get 1 iPad = Help 500 More Clients

We are looking for donations to help us get iPad Airs.

So far (at $500) we’ve only acquired some test units. We need 6 iPad Airs to cover all volunteers – so we are looking for donors who want to help in 1 of 4 ways:

  1. You would like to donate your old iPad Air (knowing Apple is about to release new ones this month?)
  2. You know anyone at Apple Canada that can help us get some of their soon to be “old” iPad Airs for a great charitable cause!
  3. You would like to donate some funds towards our iPad Fund…
  4. Share this post with a friend that thinks Charities should be using more technology for social good!

Once we have all of the iPad’s we will begin training all of our volunteers and start serving more clients! We will keep you updated!


The Furniture Bank Team

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