Family Scholar House uses Red e App to enhance their focus on changing lives
A Case Study
Family Scholar House (FSH) is a nonprofit organization in Louisville, Kentucky that helps single parents move from poverty to self-sufficiency. Its mission is to end the cycle of poverty by providing single parents the support they need to earn a four-year college degree in the form of housing and tutoring.
Approximately 200 families live in-residence at one of FSH’s four facilities, and over 900 families are in FSH’s non-residential program. All families in the program receive services including academic advising, case management, and peer support. A total of 1,548 children in these families depend upon their parents for support, nurturing, and love. FSH gives these parents the ability to provide a better life for themselves and their children.
When hundreds of families depend on you, communication with participants in the program as well as volunteers and employees is key to running a smooth ship. When you have the budget of a non-profit, though, finding an affordable and effective solution can be a chore. As Family Scholar House grew to four locations, Cathe Dykstra, Chief Possibility Officer and President & CEO of FSH, found it harder and harder to keep locations and people connected and safe.
Housing security is a top priority at FSH. When a security gate breaks in the middle of the night, there is a significant gap in safety if email is the only means of notifying maintenance to make the repairs. Even staying on top of minor maintenance became a game of phone tag.
Family Scholar House didn’t just need a solution for their employees though. FSH needed a way to communicate things such as facility updates, reminders, and to share files to volunteers and parents in the program. A phone tree was no longer manageable as FSH grew.
Family Scholar House needed a solution that was intuitive, affordable, and could:
- Communicate important messages in real time to staff
- Send reminders and share files without use of email
- Group families so that each location gets targeted messages
- Get rid of the phone tree and email address management
Family Scholar House needed communications to be so easy and secure that it was an afterthought, so that they could focus on what they do best: changing lives. Red e App provided that solution to Family Scholar House in the form of a mobile communication platform.
Send specific messages to targeted groups to reduce irrelevant noise
Use Case from FSH:
“Our academic advocates love using the application to notify participants of scholarship opportunities and deadlines. At times we receive information that needs to go out quickly and the application allows for a group to be quickly formed and information sent out to only the individuals that need it. For example, there is a scholarship opportunity for criminal justice majors who qualify as sophomores in good standing. Red e App allows the academic advocate to quickly create a group meeting the specific requirements and share the information with them.”
Private channel to connect with families and staff
Use Case from FSH:
“For some of our participants, Red e App is a safer way to communicate with staff. Participants are able to control messaging to protect information from falling into the wrong hands. With 95% of our families having experienced domestic violence, having this application on their personal smartphones is a safe way to send and receive messages. Kristie Adams, our VP of Programs and Services, uses the application in safety planning with participants.”
Volunteer schedules, training videos, and procedures to families
Use Case from FSH:
“We use Red e App to notify our staff of changes to the work schedule. Last winter we had eleven days with weather related schedule changes. Instead of managing email address lists or sending individual texts, we quickly informed everyone of the change through Red e App.”
Keep everyone in the know about events and facility updates
Use Case from FSH:
“Recently one of our campuses had a power outage. Power was out for the entire block. We used Red e App to send out a message to residents of that campus, letting them know that power was out, even if they weren’t currently on campus. Red e App was the only way we had to communicate with them, and the immediate notification allowed residents to better plan for their day. The security gate didn’t have power so we couldn’t open it, so participants with cars on campus could not leave using their own vehicles.
The fast notification using Red e App allowed participants to make other transportation arrangements. The rapid notification also allowed participants to be alerted that as soon as maintenance workers could get to campus, the gates would be manually opened and left open for the duration of the power outage. For those families in situations of ongoing danger due to domestic violence, this allowed them to be aware of safety procedure and gave them a way to contact staff even though landlines and computers on campus were out of commission. Red e App allowed staff members to communicate quickly with the whole group, respond individually to specific needs and concerns, and send out an alert when power came back on.”
With Red e App, Family Scholar House has a digital connection to its employees, families in the program, and volunteers. A significant improvement to the manual system they were using to keep track of personal email addresses and phone numbers. Families in the program rely on Red e App to check the volunteer schedule and see when spots are open and they can fulfill hours.
FSH staff use Red e App to make sure participants are aware of tutoring and scholarship opportunities and deadlines. If there is a security breach on campus, FSH has a way to immediately notify specific residents to help keep families safe. They also get fun messages like basketball ticket giveaways.
Cathe has ditched the phone tree. FSH no longer has to manually manage email addresses, and has a means of accountable communications throughout the non-profit organization. She can send a message to all of her staff, individual staff members, individual locations, or even individual families, all in a couple of seconds on her smartphone. She can focus on families instead of communications management, which is a win for everyone.