Success Tag Archive

Get the Scoop on How One United Way Manages Their Events

How do you manage your events?

Hear how Aness Symons, Associate Director, Communications & Donor Experience at United Way Elgin Middlesex, manages her organization’s events using Andar i-Attend. In the video, Aness goes into specific event examples, including how they manage registration types, attendance reporting, and how they follow up with attendees after events take place.

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Integrated Software Technology Can Save You Time


Transcript of Video

Customer Success Story

Project: Software Technology Integration
Solution: Andar e-Community, Andar e-Pledge, Andar i-Attend, Andar i-Access, Andar e-Volunteer

Customer: United Way Elgin Middlesex, London, ON
Featuring: Aness Symons, Associate Director, Communications & Donor Experience


My name is Aness, I work for United Way Elgin Middlesex, and I have been here for about eight years now; and I’ve had a number of different roles since I’ve been here. I started out-in Fund Development, I did that for three years, and then we actually had purchased Andar and they wanted somebody with a fundraising background who kind of understood the tool to move into a fulltime Andar position for a couple of years to really look at maximizing and how we were using it. So, I did a two-year secondment, which turned into a fulltime long-term position; and then most recently last year I became Associate Director of Communications.


Which Andar Modules do you use?

We are using just about every module that Andar offers. Obviously, workplace e-Pledge is the one we use the most. We use it with all of our largest accounts. We use it in different ways, so some use the self-registration setup, some have use pre-populate everything for them, others are using the single sign-on (SAML single sign-on), so we are using all of the different options which is really nice; and for a number of our workplaces we actually have all of those options set up. So, even if they’re using SAML and they can log in through their internet, we also have a generic link set up for them, so that if somebody is having problems they can go to that link, self-register; and we’re really working toward a “no wrong point of entry” with e-Pledge which we’re getting really positive feedback on.

This year we did move our individual giving back to Andar, through e-Pledge, which has also been really positive for us because we get that information in real time. The second somebody goes on to give, we know. Likewise, if they go on, they start a pledge and they don’t complete it, we know. So, we can follow up with them that day, and say, “Hey, we noticed you went on, started the pledge process, didn’t finish it, did you need any help? Did the system go down? Did you have questions?” Whereas when we were using another tool, we weren’t getting that type of feedback so we couldn’t be as responsive to what our donors needed.

We’re also doing all of our events now through Andar. So, we’re getting a much broader picture of who’s actually engaging with us, not to mention the data capture that we’re getting. Because now we control what questions are we asking each time somebody signs up for an event. We’re capturing those emails, we’re capturing their interests, all in one place, and we can compare that against, “Have they donated? Have they attended other events?” So, it’s just giving us a much broader picture. So, I would say, having all of those different pieces working together is kind of the real win. We have everything in one spot.


How is Andar’s integrated model useful to you?

We’re such a small shop that, really, even when you look at the time it takes to set up multiple tools, let alone take the time to get that information out of that secondary tool into your system of record, it’s just wasteful. We don’t have the manpower to be doing that and duplicating every single thing we do. Now we’re able to do all of our events through Andar, we’re able to do volunteer management through Andar, our online pledging, and we don’t have to be piecemealing things together.


Do you set up each Andar Module separately?

When you set up the backbone of e-Community, all of the different modules automatically are templated to match. When we set that up for e-Pledge, now it’s already accessible for i-Access, and the volunteer module, and the events module. We don’t have to do it again.


How does Andar e-Community save you time?

It carries over into every area of the tool that we’re using online. So, by setting it up once, it’s now ready for the pledging, for our CB application (investment application, for those who don’t know what CB is), our event registration, and again, it’s all tied into Andar, our system of record, we don’t have to duplicate things. So just by doing it right once, we have it available in every different platform that we might need to use online.


What mistakes have you seen other organizations make?

The things I see a lot is people creating things as one-offs. So, again, going back to the individual giving – I’ve talked to a number of United Ways who I know use Andar and they’re using these third-party platforms to do this, or do that, and then when we get into the conversation of, “Why are you doing that because now you have to manually enter all that information into your system?”

They say, “Oh, we really wanted this function and Andar can’t do that.” “Sure it does. We use that. We have…”

“Oh, well you can’t do perpetual pledging.” “Yes, we have that set up.”

“Oh, well we couldn’t easily do monthly donations.” “Yes, we do that.”

So, I think a lot of times people make an assumption because they don’t have it set up that the system can’t do it, so for me the big thing is ask.

We’re doing things in our system that people have no idea are even possible, but we just asked the question. “Here’s what we’d really like see. We’d like an automated email to go to this person every time this happens.” “Yeah, we can do that.” So, yeah, just ask!


What tips would you give to other organizations?

I would say, take a real look at what you’re already using and what you’re investing in. If you have multiple tools that you’re using to get what you need, I would seriously consider looking at getting the broader modules of Andar. I know even within United Way, there are a number who have the basic Andar, but they don’t have the Executive Plus, they don’t have the e-Community modules and I would say, if you’re spending money on these other tools anyway, it’s definitely worth the investment and the time up front to just get it all in one place. Once it’s set up, it’s done! And there are all kinds of templates, and there’s sharing.

If we’re using this tool over here that nobody’s really heard of, but it’s five cents a transaction cheaper; that’s great, but then as soon as I have a problem, who do I really ask? Whereas, with Andar, there are enough of us using it, there’s a support team; that as soon as something happens, you know you can brainstorm with other people. Whether it’s other United Ways who are having the same issue, or whether it’s customer service coming up with the solution, it just makes sense to have it all in one place. All in one tool that other people are using.


What benefits have you gained from using e-Community?

It has made our analysis of what we’re doing much simpler. We, at one point, were sending emails via Constant Contact, and then directing them to one of our other tools here, or they might bounce to Eventbrite and then back to our system. Now we can trace from the very beginning. So, we send the email, who clicked on the email, who registered, how much did that person give this year, we can get a consistent report for each donor’s experience, which really helps guide how we approach them in the future.

This year, we’ve also implemented surveys into a lot of what we’re doing. A lot of our emails that we send out, even our Thank You email, has a survey on the back end asking people about their experience with us; and we’re able to have that all right on their record in Andar. If they have a preference for getting phone calls as opposed to emails, if they’re particularly interested in one of our impact areas, we have that at our fingertips instead of having to go dig into multiple tools. So, I think it will really be over the next couple of years, as we’re consistently using this information, that we’re going to see that increase.

One of our key focuses right now is donor retention, because it’s the leaky bucket and we’re hearing it everywhere. People are losing donors right, left and centre. So, we’re really looking at, (a) How do we improve the donor experience? So, from the first time that they click on one of our emails, what they see online – Is it easy? Is it intuitive? Down to what do they like? What are their responses and really tracking that, so that year over year we can keep improving it. And really start to cater our communications and donor experience to the individual.

Event Management with Andar i-Attend


Transcript of Video

Customer Success Story

Project: Event Management
Solution: Andar i-Attend

Customer: United Way Elgin Middlesex, London, ON
Featuring: Aness Symons, Associate Director, Communications & Donor Experience


My name is Aness, I work for United Way Elgin Middlesex, and I have been here for about eight years now; and I’ve had a number of different roles since I’ve been here. I started out-in Fund Development, I did that for three years, and then we actually had purchased Andar and they wanted somebody with a fundraising background who kind of understood the tool to move into a fulltime Andar position for a couple of years to really look at maximizing and how we were using it. So, I did a two-year secondment, which turned into a fulltime long-term position; and then most recently last year I became Associate Director of Communications.


How do you manage your events?

We do it all through i-Attend. It’s so nice, we send out our invites through Andar, the link is there, they register, it’s in Andar. We don’t have to go reinvent things. We don’t have to look people up, we don’t have to transfer that into our system, it’s all right in one spot; and it works really well. We have free events, we have events where people pay to register; recently we had our labour appreciation event, and we have numerous coupon codes. So, we have sponsors who get a table of ten included with their sponsorship, they have one coupon code, the register their ten people, there’s no fee. We had guest speakers, who we have a different coupon code for because it’s a different – so we can look back at our data and say, “These hundred people paid for registration, these hundred people were guests of award recipients, these people were sponsors,” it’s all setup on the back end – we don’t have to be picking through that every time somebody registers. They put in the coupon code and it does it for them online.


Can you share an example of how you use i-Attend?

We had an event that happened last night, and today we’re sending out a follow up email announcing how much has been raised to-date, and doing one final solicitation. So, we’re actually sending that out to everybody. Everybody who was at the event, everybody who has donated to the event; and again, because it’s in Andar we can just say, in our data mining operation, who attended, who has a gift against this event and it drops them into a mailing list for us, and we send it out and it connects back to the event again. We don’t have to pick through multiple lists to decide who we’re sending to. It’s already pre-populated in the system.

It’s really nice too, a couple of years ago we were having trouble with people registering for events that we were covering the cost for, and then not showing up. So, we’ve been pretty diligent about keeping track of who actually shows up day off, and in the system we can track ‘registered did not attend,’ or ‘registered attended.’ If somebody is consistently registering and not showing up, then we find a way to not invite them because they’re costing us money and taking a spot somebody else could enjoy. It just makes those things really easy to manage, and because we host the tool ourselves, we can be a lot more nimble as well. You know, if anything changes with the event, we can pop on and change that online, we don’t have to wait for somebody else to do it or get access to another tool to fix it. We just do it on the fly.


Video Success Story: United Way of Broward County Manages their Online Pledges with Andar e-Pledge

Rebekah Osborn from United Way of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, FL shares with us what her online pledge processing tactics are and why she uses Andar e-Pledge to make them happen.

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Video Success Story: United Way of Broward County Runs Their Reading Pals Program

Get close and personal with Natalie Riusech from United Way of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, FL as she gives us insight into how they run their Reading Pals program using Andar Plans. Learn about the program itself, the implementation process and much more.

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How Andar Plans Helped the United Way of Broward County Run Their Reading Pals Program



Transcript of Video

Customer Success Story

Project: Reading Pals Program
Solution: Andar Plans

Customer: United Way of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale
Featuring: Natalie Riusech, Director, Development Operations and Donor Relations



United Way of Broward County is just one of over eighteen-hundred chapters of United Way across the country, we really are a worldwide organization. Here locally, we’ve been around for almost eighty years, our eightieth birthday is next year! We are a proud funder and supporter of many nonprofits in the community. There are about sixty-five/seventy programs that we fund here locally who really truly depend on our support. Our populations is about just shy of two million, so we’re only one county, but we are a very large, a very diverse county with very diverse issues that we face.


Can you tell us about your Reading Pals program?

We have over three-hundred volunteers who are part of that program each year, and it’s just growing! Our program coordinator had to make sure that all of them got their fingerprints done, that they were selecting what school site they wanted to be at. It was a whole application process which she single-handedly had to orchestrate and she would take time out of her nights and weekends to try to coordinate all of this and she had to be on top of remembering to send emails to follow-up with all of these individuals so that they carried through all the steps; so they got from expressing interest to actually becoming a Reading Pal volunteer. There were so many steps in between and so many ways where it could go wrong. I’m sure there was just so much frustration doing all of that manually, not knowing that there was such a better solution, a way to automate all of that.


What was the implementation process like?

The program was already completely built out, we already knew all the steps that needed to be taken for each of our volunteers, it was just a matter of automating them and making them happen seamlessly; and it saved so much time, frustration, calls to volunteers, we already knew where they stood in the process, who had already completed, who was well on their way and we were able to track and monitor that in real-time.


Why did you choose to use Andar Plans?

We decided to go with Plans over any other option that was out there primarily because we already store our donor data, our other volunteer data and so many other aspects of United Way live in Andar. So, it was such a benefit that someone who is looking up this information on a donor to reach out and connect to them can also see their involvement in Reading Pals and see what they are going through there and be able to have just one central hub for all of it.


What’s your favorite aspect of using Andar Plans?

Our favorite feature was the email communication. Definitely the fact that it felt personalized and tailored to the volunteer, it still was coming through perfectly aligned with our timeline.


How was using Andar Plans beneficial to your volunteers?

Plans are pretty much on the backend. It’s what as staff members, it’s what we see, it’s what we look at; however, we want to make sure the volunteers are having the best experience possible. No matter how they interact with us, they’re definitely more inspired and more in touch with United Way if we make this process so seamless, so smooth and we look extra put-together.


How did Andar Plans help you achieve your goals?

The best example of how Plans helped us achieve our goals as an organization was the fact that when we started a new cycle for Reading Pals we didn’t have to re-invent the wheel. It was already there, we had the steps already laid out. We were able to re-evaluate and tweak a little bit our timeline to see if maybe we had to give a little buffer room between steps three and four, or stuff like that. So, we were able to actually just build off of it and have a new team member actually come onboard into the role that was using this Plans specifically so seamlessly. She could interpret it very easily and she knew exactly where to pick up where the other staff member left off.

Automate Your Volunteer Application Process

Organizing large groups of volunteers can be challenging if you don't have a system in place to help you process all the applications and the documentation that goes along with it. See how the United Way of Midland County in Michigan mastered the task and saved hours of time by using Workflow Plans.

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Increase Safety in Schools by Automating the Volunteer Application Process

Logo UW Midland County
United Way of Midland County, Michigan
Fundraising Reach
$6 Million Annually
Workflow Plans
Public School System Volunteer Application Program


One of the many projects that United Way of Midland County is proud to work on is a volunteer program that’s run by the public school system.

Every year, the school system accepts approximately 2,000 volunteers. To maintain a high safety level for students, these volunteers must go through a multi-step application process before being approved for the job. Applicants fall under one of three volunteering tiers depending on the level of security clearance involved, from background checks, fingerprinting and ownership of driver’s license and car insurance. The United Way of Midland County has partnered with the school system to facilitate this complex application process.

Maintaining updated information on thousands of volunteers is no easy task. This process was handled on a school-by-school basis, which meant that there were many application inconsistencies, and there was no overarching program coordination. Upon accepting the volunteer applications, the individual owning the process had to manually sift through the information and determine where to place volunteers. All the qualifiers such as the background checks and fingerprints were collected on an individual basis and stored in each volunteer file. Determining whether documentation like car insurance and driver’s licenses were up to date was time-consuming and prone to mistakes. Also, communicating with candidates during the application process had to be done over the phone or in-person, slowing the process down and leading to communication errors.


"After kicking off the second school year with the program, over 4,000 volunteers have gone through the system.”

Jacob Sinacola, MSCS, Senior Manager of Investor Relations, United Way of Midland County


The United Way of Midland County rose up to the challenge and offered to automate the volunteer application process by using Andar Software’s Workflow Plans solution. They typically use this solution for grant applications, but they reimagined its functionality to handle volunteer applications, document uploads, and communications. Aspiring volunteers kick off the process by signing up online. The Workflow Plans solution receives this application and prompts a series of events depending on the requirements that need to be fulfilled. If a volunteer hasn’t submitted their fingerprints yet, the system will send out an email to remind them that they are required. Maintaining data that’s organized, easy to retrieve and updated is now stress-free because all documentation is received in digital form and administered by the system. Furthermore, communicating complicated instructions or keeping volunteers up to date on important dates is simpler and more convenient than it was before because of the programmed emails the system can automatically send out when predetermined qualifiers are triggered.

Replacing the manual volunteer application process with Workflow Plans increased safety in schools, and saved hours of time. A department of four used to work on the background checks before, now it’s down to one person overseeing the task. The new solution is so successful that it will be used from now on to process all volunteer applicants. Additionally, since implementing this new program for its local schools, the United Way of Midland County has demonstrated their versatility as a community supporter and collaborator. They have stepped beyond their traditionally known role as a fundraising organization and solved a community problem that needed attention.


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Find Out Why United Way of Broward County Manages their Online Pledges with Andar e-Pledge



Transcript of Video

Customer Success Story

Project: Online Pledges
Solution: Andar e-Pledges

Customer: United Way of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale
Featuring: Rebekah Osborn, Administrative Associate



It is a very digital society now a days, many things are online, however, if I was tasked with the responsibility to build a website, where individuals could go and gather information and donate if they wanted to, without Andar’s e-Pledge, I would not be able to do that.


What are some advantages to using Andar e-Pledge?

Advantages to using e-Pledge are the ability to personalize the site, you’re able to customize it to each individual campaign, you get your reports done in real-time, you’re able to really connect with employees and donors on a personal level. Everything is automated so it really works quite well in today’s digital world. Having a digital component along with paper pledges it’s increasing opportunities to reach out to individuals, you’re not limited with e-Pledge.


Rebekah Osborn of United Way of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale - e-Pledge

Above: Rebekah Osborn at the United Way of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, FL office.


What are some benefits of using e-Pledge?

Using e-Pledge definitely saves time. You’re receiving information from individuals immediately, so you’re able to reach out, confirm information if there is a question you’re able to rectify that immediately, so that’s a huge time-saver right there. Also, at that point, you’re really maintaining information and making sure what your employee or your donor entered themselves was accurate rather than making sure it was accurate and then inputting it again.


How does this solution benefit your community?

The site is very intuitive, individuals are able to visit, the information is right there, they’re able to click through the site pages, really learn more, become informed, and it’s 2018! Everything is online and it’s just a really excellent way for the donors to take a few minutes out of their day, become informed, give if they want to, they can also come back to it and modify it, and they have more opportunity to reach out to us, and that gives us more opportunities to reach out to them as well.


How does e-Pledge help you connect with your community?

We can run real-time reports, we’re able to get information, and if we wanted to give them a call five seconds after we receive the information, if they provided that information, we absolutely could reach out to them for the a question, a comment or a thank you.

eClass Training

Please join us for an upcoming eClass. These 2-hour long group trainings will begin at 2pm ET and will cover:

  • Finance: Intro to Andar/360 - November 2, 2018  (Register)
  • Data Mining for a Beginner - November 5, 2018 (Register)
  • Resource Development: Intro to Andar/360 - November 8, 2018 (Register)
  • Data Mining for a Beginner - November 13, 2018 (Register)

To see class descriptions:

If you have questions please let us know.