The Volunteer English Program (VEP) will present its 2019 Community Partner of the Year Award to BackOffice Thinking for its outstanding support and commitment to the organization. Founders Paul Keogan and Dave Schafer will accept the award on behalf of the West Chester-based company.
Founded in 2006, BackOffice Thinking focuses on helping nonprofits more effectively use technology to better serve and engage their constituents and missions. Over the past 11 years, the company has provided invaluable pro bono customer relationship management (CRM), website support, and informal strategic advice on using technology in the nonprofit space to VEP.
With very little IT infrastructure in place when he joined VEP’s board in 2008, Keogan saw a partnership between BackOffice Thinking and VEP as a natural fit. (Keogan spent two years on VEP’s Board, including one term as Board President). The company has since helped VEP with everything from migrating its computer systems from desktop-based files to a cloud-based system, installing CiviCRM software and implementing key performance indicators to analyze trends.
With BackOffice Thinking’s guidance, VEP was able to move beyond using CiviCRM primarily for fundraising and management to incorporate its entire educational model and program management for the organization. VEP also contracted with BackOffice Thinking to develop a custom, web-based tutor portal to enable VEP tutors to track their volunteer hours, student goals, and other key information through their mobile devices.
“The biggest thing I want nonprofits to look at today is changing their mindset,” said Keogan. “This is becoming a data-driven society. It used to be that all of these things — programs, donor management, online marketing — were very separate. They may have touched a little in the middle, but now they’re all coming together. People expect personalization. It was like there was a wall between all of these areas, and the walls are coming down.”
“BackOffice Thinking has truly changed the trajectory of our organization,” said Terri Potrako, Executive Director of VEP. “They have continually pushed us in new directions and opened our Board’s eyes to thinking outside the box. Without BackOffice Thinking — without their help implementing Civi, without all of the informal conversations we are able to have as the result of this partnership — we would not be able to provide our tutoring services for free.”
For 33 years, VEP has helped immigrants and refugees throughout Chester County by offering free one-to-one English language instruction. VEP matches trained volunteer tutors with highly motivated students to help them be active participants in our shared community. The organization’s spring celebratory fundraising event will be held on Wednesday, April 24 at The Desmond Hotel in Malvern.
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