Charities often lack the financial resources to invest in technology. So, when Matthew House Ottawa: Furniture Bank saw a chance to leverage a Salesforce customization dedicated to furniture bank operations, it jumped at the opportunity.
For the last ten years, Matthew House Ottawa: Furniture Bank (MHO: Furniture Bank) has managed on a “very rudimentary system,” but its intention has always been to improve. By joining the Furniture Bank Support Service (FBSS), MHO: Furniture Bank will go from relying heavily on Google programs to having a single source of information via Salesforce.
“We’ve always been looking for a way to have all our information in one place,” said David Botha, Program Director, Furniture Bank. “But we lacked the technical infrastructure and financial resources to create any new programs that incorporate all these aspects. So, I’m excited about getting onto the Salesforce platform.”
What is the Furniture Bank Support Service?
The FBSS was created to offer furniture banks across Canada a way to expand its technology offerings and increase capacity with the shared goal of eliminating furniture poverty. Its cloud-based support model enables other furniture banks to easily plug into the customized platform. Once onboard, they’ll be able to accept and track agency referrals, track in-kind donations, and access comprehensive operational and social impact reports that highlight the benefit of furniture banks within local communities.
Matthew House Ottawa: Furniture Bank is set to become the first existing furniture bank to join the Furniture Bank Support Services.
WHY DID MATTHEW HOUSE OTTAWA: FURNITURE BANK WANT TO JOIN FBSS?
Joining the Furniture Bank Support Service moves MHO: Furniture Bank toward its goal of improving its operations. Currently, one volunteer accepts and schedules pickups for their in-kind donations. Additionally, it has one volunteer dedicated to all aspects of accepting and scheduling referrals. While these volunteers are still necessary, by implementing Salesforce (and Furniture Bank Toronto’s sales team), these volunteers can focus on more specific tasks.
“Personpower and finance are true struggles,” said David. MHO: Furniture Bank hopes to do more with less by streamlining processes – saving costs while increasing capacity and revenue. By doing this, MHO: Furniture Bank hopes to reinvest whatever it can to expand its capabilities – helping more clients, picking up more furniture, and growing its presence in Ottawa.
“Donors and clients – that’s what drives the organization. If we don’t have either, then [we] shut down,” said David. And that statement is the heart of the situation. There are too many people in Canada suffering from furniture poverty. There is too much furniture waste in our landfills. Increasing capacity allows MHO: Furniture Bank to help more clients and accept more furniture donations.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Located in Kanata, MHO: Furniture Bank’s long-term plans are to move to a more centralized location close to Ottawa’s core. Moving to this area puts the organization closer to where most of its clients reside. But, compared to finance and personpower, space and location are secondary concerns.
Matthew House Ottawa: Furniture Banks has steadily grown over its ten years. In 2020, more than 530 homes were furnished thanks to MHO: Furniture Bank. Ultimately, they want to continue to grow. But they “need a whole lot more to keep growing.”
Joining the Furniture Bank Support Service is just the first step.