Furniture Bank brings life-changing furnishings to families in need, while giving new life to unwanted items around the home. Their goal is to improve lives by collecting all the unwanted furniture, housewares, kitchen items, electronics, and more that are cluttering up homes in and around Toronto. As the charity’s work expanded, they discovered they needed Skedulo to gain visibility into the field and improve customer satisfaction.
Furniture Bank has been delivering hope to families in Toronto for 20 years. Until three years ago, they were handling everything manually. They would dispatch their five trucks using clipboards which included times and address. Drivers would get a briefing on where to go, what to pick up and where the drop off was. Then the drivers left the building at 7:30 in the morning and went about their routes, often without a way to contact the office. Managers had to just hope that everything proceeded according to plan.
Clearly, there were problems with that approach. Sometimes deliveries wouldn’t occur or pickups wouldn’t go as scheduled. There were surprises and delays. The majority of the time, the home office had absolutely no way of knowing what was actually going on in the road until the end of the day. In the end, it was the families in need that were hurt the worst by breakdowns. There were men, women and children in dire circumstances who weren’t receiving the furniture they were expecting. These individuals are at a critical juncture in their lives and timing is everything. For those who have been traumatized, it is extremely difficult to put the pieces back together if they can’t turn an empty space into a home.
Furniture Bank knew they had to operate more effectively. Unlike many smaller charities, they embraced new technology by implementing the Salesforce platform in 2009. This helped them manage two very distinct sets of customers – the ones donating the furniture and the ones who needed it. Mixing and matching needs with what was available across the city was growing incredibly complex.
While Salesforce did a good job of managing customer accounts, Furniture Bank saw that scheduling was their next challenge as they added trucks and drivers. They needed to move beyond manual scheduling and upgrade their communications with their drivers in the field at the same time.
Skedulo understood that a charity has very different objectives than a profit-driven business. Skedulo enabled Furniture Bank to do more without adding unjustified capital expenditures. Charities are responsible for explaining how every dollar is spent and making sure that long-term growth is supported by short-term ROI. Another big difference is that for Furniture Bank, half of their staff are in the field. The charity had absolutely no way to measure and improve their performance. Skedulo brought an easy mobile solution to performance management. Now anybody in the office, including donors or other volunteers can see what’s happening in real time, evaluate the situation and communicate with other stakeholders immediately. That proved to be fundamental for their decision-making process.
They standardized mobile devices across their field operations and are now evaluating how the next generation of tablets will help the charity scale up and do more for a greater population.
"Skedulo has changed the life of our charity and I can’t say enough about what it can do for another organization."
What matters most to a charity is actually helping people in need. Skedulo has helped them do that with a better experience for everyone involved. Families are starting new lives, donors are proud of what Furniture Bank is doing and the management team can speak with greater confidence about how well their staff and volunteers are performing.
Skedulo’s analytics reveal deeper insights into what’s happening in the field, what practices are the most productive, and where they can collect more furnishing.
Furniture Bank reported that they were able to double their social impact in the community. They have ramped up their potential by empowering the staff. The most important metric of all is that now more families are empowered to reestablish their lives with dignity. Furniture Bank plans on using Salesforce and Skedulo to continuously improve their execution and expand across Canada, perhaps even around the world. There’s nothing holding them back anymore.