“At the start of the pandemic, we organized volunteers to check on the well-being of older adults in our community. The Pro Bono Program helped us build a system our volunteers used to call 18,000 vulnerable people.” - Hayley Ross, Service Manager, Age UK

How Age UK Mobilized Volunteers to Reach 18,000 Vulnerable People

Since 1975, Age UK Hythe and Lyminge has provided services to promote independence in later life – whether that’s helping a grandmother with chores around the house or keeping a widower from becoming socially isolated. When the pandemic struck the UK in March, the nonprofit partnered with local physicians to contact patients 70 years of age and older to make sure they were safe and had their basic needs met while sheltering in place. The challenge was mobilizing volunteers to contact thousands of patients.

Originally volunteers used only spreadsheets, pen, and paper to keep track of who they called and the services patients needed. Patient contact information is highly sensitive, so volunteers made phone calls from a list kept at the nonprofit’s office. Only 10 volunteers were allowed onsite at a time to protect them from COVID-19. This was not a scalable arrangement. 

“We had already worked with a Salesforce volunteer through the Pro Bono Program when the lockdown started,” explained Hayley Ross, Service Manager. “Isabel [the volunteer] got in touch to see how Salesforce could support us through this challenge.”

Isabel Wenzl-Arellano, Customer Success Manager, and Jonny Elliot, Nonprofit Strategic Industry Advisor, teamed up to help Age UK scale their volunteer outreach using Nonprofit Cloud. With pro bono support, the organization was able to securely centralize patient contact information, provide flow-based call scripts, and automate follow up tasks in Salesforce, enabling volunteers to access the system from home to quickly and safely contact 18,000 vulnerable people.

“I think we’re considered digital leaders now,” said Hayley. “I wouldn’t haven’t believed that a few years ago. Our chief officer was even acknowledged by the Queen. Isabel and Johnny’s work helped enable that to happen.”

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