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SUCCESS STORIES - OXFAM


Background

Whether donating, fundraising, campaigning, volunteering, or working 'on the ground' to implement project activities, Oxfam donors, supporters, staff, project partners, and participants are working together to overcome poverty and injustice.

OXfam have numerous volunteers that give their time to help campaign at various events throughout the UK.

Problem

Oxfam needed a way to manage the contact details of their thousands of volunteers. As the data they already hold has been gathered over a number of years,. much of it is out of date and potential volunteers are now uncontactable. They need to find a solution to deal with a number of issues, including:
  • Reducing the administrative overhead involved with organising events
  • Maintaining up to date contact information for their volunteers
  • Building an online community for their volunteers to interact with each other
  • Improving communications with their volunteers


Considerations

A primary concern for Oxfam was that the Data Protection Act would be complied with. All confidential user data must be held securely.

Oxfam are in the process of developing a CMS system for their website, in the meantime this system would have to be hosted externally and built in such a way that migration to their own servers and integration with their CMS system would be swift and trouble-free.

Solution

We proposed and developed a community website where Oxfam's volunteers could register their details and update the details themselves. This solved the problem of maintaining accurate user data.

Oxfam staff are able to log on to the website and post details of upcoming events along with details of shift times, location, volunteer requirements, etc. Users can then register for the events by clicking on a link. They can un-register just as easily. This saved hours of administrative work for every event as there was no longer any need to manually compile and maintain attendance lists based on phone calls and emails.

With just a few clicks Oxfam staff can now send an email to every user that is registered for any particular event. As well as saving time, this system has also allowed Oxfam to more accurately determine how many volunteers will be helping out at any given event. Volunteers can be reminded of their commitment the day before an event and any volunteers that suddenly find they can't make it just need to log on to the site and un-register for the event. On the morning of the event Oxfam staff can log in to the site and click a link to download a list of all volunteers attending, along with up to the minute contact information.

The volunteers have their own discussion forums on the site which they can use to post messages to each other to create threaded conversations. All other volunteers can see these conversations and join in. There is also an option to have private conversations with each other and the volunteers are able to view the profile, along with a photograph, of every other registered volunteer.

The system is very secure. No information is available to unregistered members of the public and only volunteers issued with a PIN number are able to join the site and register. The administrative functions and confidential information is only available to approved Oxfam employees. The discussion forums have a set of easy to use administrative tools that allow the staff at Oxfam to moderate the discussions and also create new boards for specific topics.

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