Success Tag Archive

Successfully Transitioning a 60-year-old Charitable Campaign from Paper Pledge Form to Online Using e-Pledge: How Our Promise Went Digital in 4 Short Months


United Way of California Capital Region, Sacramento, CA
Fundraising Reach
$10 million


Why e-Pledge?

Old habits die hard. Though  United Way California Capital Region's  Our Promise  campaign had been using paper pledge forms since 1957, the system was far from perfect. What was already a long and arduous process (distributing and collecting 290,000 paper pledge forms from across the large State of California presented many difficulties in itself) was only highlighted when the pandemic hit. As 80% of the state workforce went remote overnight, the time to go digital was more apparent than ever. 

With the nudge of necessity from the pandemic, United Way California Capital Region (UWCCR) chose Andar Software's e-Pledge solution to offer donors a way to give safely from the comfort of their own homes.

Building e-Pledge 

It was a complex undertaking to switch from paper to digital, and relationship management was crucial to launching e-Pledge. Tabitha Angel, Senior Director at UWCCR, credits a strong relationship with Andar (as well as the State) for helping them get up and running as quickly as possible – in what was an impressive four-month launch! 

As they built out the donor portal within e-Pledge, they wanted to prioritize ease of use and donation. They worked closely with Andar Software developers to customize e-Pledge to suit their requirements, design and specific security needs. "They have really great developers at Andar," says Tabitha. UWCCR decided to offer three different pledge types: a payroll deduction, one-time gift, or a "do not wish to give at this time" option. Though the goal of a campaign is always to raise funds, they never wanted employees to feel forced or pressured to give. Giving this option was a great solution to this situation.

UWCCR decided to keep the pledge section as one page for straightforward use and used hyperlinking and search features to allow donors the flexibility to find the specific nonprofits that they wanted to donate to. They could also accept credit card payment – a huge upgrade from the previous cash or check donation limitation.

Additionally, before e-Pledge, donors never had the ability to update personal information on their account, like a simple change of address. This portal allowed them this important flexibility and the ability to check and track their own donation history.

Giving is as easy as 1-2-3 with e-Pledge

The Results

So, the big question is: was it worth it?

The answer from UWCCR was a resounding yes. And the results speak for themselves. 

Our Promise Final Campaign Stats 

  • Raised $5.3 million dollars 
  • 28,000 donors, 11% participation rate
  • $5 minimum monthly deduction
  • Ability to give to any nonprofit of personal choice

Though it was large undertaking upfront, making the move to e-Pledge ultimately played out to be an incredible investment of both time and money. Not only were they able to save money on processing, but also on the pure amount of labor that was previously needed for data entry. e-Pledge also helped take human error out of the equation; the digital system eliminated the occasional mistakes that happen when humans are the ones responsible for data entry. And, to make things even better, the process was an incredible efficiency improvement, drastically decreasing the timeline of processing. 

"We created a better system for us - it was awesome! It saved us so much time and labor and was a huge win for us", says Tabitha.

Thanks to the online shift with e-Pledge, Our Promise is better set up to serve both its donors and employees while continuing their incredible charitable giving work. 


Quickly Adapting to a Pandemic and a Devastating Flood: How United Way of Midland County Processed $11 Million and Signed Up 3000+ Volunteers

United Way Midland
United Way of Midland County, Midland, MI
Fundraising Reach
$5.1 million for local campaigns, $4 million in local Disaster Relief dollar, $2 million in out of area campaigns


Quickly Adapting to a Pandemic and a Devastating Flood: How United Way of Midland County Processed $11 Million and Signed Up 3000+ Volunteers

Kali Cochran, Director of Investor Relations at United Way of Midland County says that having Andar/360—a highly customizable CRM system—was crucial to adapt and respond to a pandemic and a devastating flood.

Not One Crisis, but Two 

The pandemic took its toll on Midland County, leaving about a third of the state's workforce unemployed. The schools and community program closures left vulnerable students, seniors, and homeless populations without meals. 

In May 2020—with precarious timing amidst the pandemic—heavy rain resulted in catastrophic failures of two dams northwest of Midland. This once-in-500-years flood led to 10,000 Midland County residents evacuating their homes. 

Midland Flood

Flood waters tore through a house. Photo credit: The Midland Sun

These two crises created new needs in the most vulnerable populations like never before. Kali says, "we are facing steep increases in health and human services need at the highest level in our generation. At the time of great economic uncertainty, many nonprofits are facing cuts in funding, suspension of revenue-generating programming, and doing more with less. We are committed to ensuring the 56 vital programs through our 25 partner agencies survive and thrive."

When a crisis strikes, United Way of Midland County does not buckle. They rise together because they are built for this.

In 2020, United Way of Midland County's campaign results and volunteer support were remarkable:

  • They processed $11 million through Andar/360 in 2020
  • They raised $5.1 million for their local campaign, $4 million in local Disaster Relief dollar, and another $2 million in out of area campaigns
  • They brought in more than $1.5 million in donated supplies
  • They had 3,346 volunteer registrations and more than 2,00 people sign up for volunteer text and alert emails.

So, how did they do it?

"Having all the data and tools in one place is crucial to managing the multiple facets of an effort like that effectively. What we did for the pandemic relief and the flood wouldn't be possible without Andar/360. Andar is so adaptable as a CRM system, so we were able to leverage the tools that we are familiar with and tweak them slightly to create a completely new experience for our corporate partners". 

Kali Cochran, Director of Investor Relations, United Way of Midland County

Volunteer Signups and Driving Donations with Andar/360

"As part of the disaster planning committee for our community, we are responsible for bringing in financial and in-kind donations and recruiting volunteers to assist with disaster relief efforts," says Kali. 

In March, United Way of Midland acted fast. They utilized Andar/360 to create an event registration portal for volunteers, emergency relief pages to process donations, and custom webpages for key companies in the area. They strengthened their corporate sponsorships by managing all COVID-19 donations for Dow, DuPont, and Corteva and tracking and distributing funds from all over the world with e-Pledge. After recruiting volunteers to pack and deliver meals safely, Andar/360 texting made it possible to communicate clearly and effectively while coordinating volunteers. 

e-Pledge Success

Above are two examples of custom webpages to strengthen corporate engagement created by United Way of Midland using e-Pledge.

In May, the flood occurred; United Way of Midland ran two different volunteer websites, one for pandemic relief and one for flood relief efforts. Working with emergency response, they recruited volunteers to help manage emergency shelters and eventually rebuild homes destroyed by the flood. 

Volunteer Sign-up.png

The above picture is from a United Way of Midland volunteer sign up page. They dynamically show how many spots are remaining as volunteers signup.

Kali remarks, "having all the data and tools in one place is crucial to managing the multiple facets of an effort like that effectively. What we did for the pandemic relief and the flood wouldn't be possible without Andar/360. Andar is so adaptable as a CRM system, so we were able to leverage the tools that we are familiar with and tweak them slightly to create a completely new experience for our corporate partners". 

With Andar/360, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and marketing are all in one system. "We were able to communicate to the right person at the right time, and it was critical to respond promptly through both of these disasters," says Kali. 

United Way of Midland used Andar/360 to drive volunteer signups, communicate with and text volunteers, process donations, and strengthen corporate partnerships leading to a year of surpassing campaign goals and mobilizing thousands of volunteers.

Pictured above is a screenshot from the Rise Together Fund page created by United Way of Midland County and powered by Andar/360.

Andar Software Customer Support: A True Partnership

During the demanding time of quickly responding to the pandemic and the flood, Kali says that the Andar/360 Customer Support team was there for her. She says, "Andar as a CRM system is amazing, but your team is also amazing! Your team understands the importance of United Way's work and never hesitates to jump in and help when thousands of people are suffering. When our community needs United Way, you are there for us".

Receive More Donations by Putting a Moves Management Strategy in Place

Logo UW Broward County
United Way of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fundraising Reach
$18 Million Annually
Andar MIG (Major Individual Gift)
Moves Management


United Way of Broward County implemented a Moves Management strategy to increase their donations.

It was becoming really hard to manage such a large base of prospect donors, and this United Way knew they had to change how they outreach in order to increase their impact power.



There were little strategy and structure behind how United Way of Broward County approached individuals in companies. It was common for them to decide on who to contact, but there wasn’t much data backing up their decision-making. For instance, they were able to see that if only 15% of employees in a company donated, there was the potential for outreach to the remaining 85% of employees, but that was too vague of a number to be strategic. Of that 85%, they didn’t know what level those individuals were and what strategy to use to approach them. They needed to look deeper into their data.

United Way of Broward County also realized that their presentation potential had dwindled over the years. Where in the past they would do fifty or sixty presentations at each company, now they were only going in for the big leadership kickoff meeting — this meant that their in-person reach was much smaller, and they needed a new plan of action for outreach.


"By using Moves Management, we are now strategic about who we have on the database, and the next move that we need to make. It’s keeping us more focused.”

Tony Hopper, VP, Workplace Development, United Way of Broward County



United Way of Broward County implemented Moves Management meetings which they didn’t have before. These meetings occur every couple of weeks, and only once a month during campaign season. During the sessions, they pull reports from Data Mining Operations from Andar and then assign Moves Management lists to managers that can focus on who they are looking at moving through their companies and cultivating.

Thanks to the data in Moves Management, they were able to identify people who were good candidates for in-person events. Instead of sending out an impersonal email blast to the entire database, they concentrated on calling prospective donors from their Moves Management lists to personally invite them. Doing this made their outreach more effective because they targeted individuals who had a high potential of interest. They also used the Moves Management data to identify individuals that were good candidates to speak at events because they had a history of participation and giving.


"Where we used to send out a full email blast to the full database, we’re now using Moves Management to identify prospective donors that we should call to invite them to events. This makes our outreach more targeted and personalized.”

Tony Hopper, VP, Workplace Development, United Way of Broward County



The new Moves Management strategy enabled United Way of Broward County to switch their focus from individual giving to major giving. As an example, they run the report of individuals who give $2,500 or above, and add them to the Moves Management list as “Cultivators,” so that during the summertime even if the campaign isn’t running, they are reaching out to those people to meet with them one-on-one and invite them to events.

They also carefully analyzed what being in the “leadership” level meant for donors and why they donated. This change in focus resulted in substantial growth in their three highest leader levels. They noted a 30% increase in Signature donations ($7,500), a 20% increase in Pillar donations ($5,000), and a 9.5% increase in Alexis de Tocqueville donations ($10,000 and above.)

What’s next for United Way of Broward County? They’ll start using prospecting codes to segment and personalize their outreach, which will maximize their Moves Management process even further.


Download PDF of Case Study

Using Donor Data to Personalize the Donor Experience


Transcript of Video

Customer Success Story

Project: Using Donor Data 
Solution: Andar/360, Andar e-Pledge, Andar Texting, Andar i-Attend

Customer: United Way of Central Minnesota, Minnesota, USA
Featuring: Chris Gutterud, Data Systems Manager


Hi, my name is Christopher Gutterud. I am the Data Systems Manager at United Way of Central Minnesota.


What are some of your organization’s challenges?

Our struggles have been kind of interesting over the last year. We’ve had staff turnover, a new CEO, we’ve had slightly declining campaigns, we’ve just had a struggle with the different mediums we use for communication; and for actually focusing on our donor engagement, to get them to want to donate. The numbers were going down so we needed to find a way to turn around and make everything work to a positive and flip this around, to get a better campaign, to provide better communication and understanding to our community of what United Way does.

What changes did you want to make?

To go to three focus areas instead of five. To change the way that we go from a campaign fundraiser to a cause fundraiser, to look at how we are focusing our data on our donors and making that into a priority and organizing all of our ways of knowing how to contact them.

How did you make those changes?

Well the first thing we had to do was, we had to have all of our information in the same place. We used other third-party vendors, Constant Contact, Mobile Cause, Galaxy Solutions for volunteering. We used all these, and they would do their job, but they wouldn’t communicate into the database of Andar. So, the vision was, we’re going to move everything into Andar, we’re going to utilize Andar and use Andar to contact the people better. To have a better understanding of who we’re contacting and why we’re contacting, get real on the donor information that we have, use the data that we have – because we have a lot of data! – but actually use it in ways that we can contact these donors and make it more of a personalized vision.

What was the process like?

Our whole staff had Andar training for a week. Somebody came in and taught the staff the functionality of Andar. That was kind of the first step in getting us to where everyone is utilizing the system. From there we went to creating a lot more dashboards and focusing what we were getting out of Andar in the dashboards and realizing DMOs, automatic letters going out for Thank Yous, just making our processes better. You know, work smarter, not harder.

We have done so many different things. We’ve got the texting module that we can do text-to-give, we just purchased the i-Attend module, we’ve actually done the attendance for events in Andar. We’ve done all these things that we used to use spreadsheets for, that we used to use other third-parties for, and now we’re integrating it all into Andar, and by doing that we’re just making our processes that much smoother, that much easier – and we can do more with less.

Donor Texting at Events Hosted by United Way of Central Minnesota


Transcript of Video

Customer Success Story

Project: Text Donations at Events
Solution: Andar Texting

Customer: United Way of Central Minnesota, Minnesota, USA
Featuring: Chris Gutterud, Data Systems Manager


Hi, my name is Christopher Gutterud. I am the Data Systems Manager at United Way of Central Minnesota.


Aside from emails, how do you gather donor data?

We’re actually collecting cell phone numbers and we’re utilizing that in our system. We can now go to an event, and say, “Text the keyword to our number 85511.” They’ll send the text, they’ll get an automatic link back to them to go to our webpage and make a donation for what we just talked about at that event.

We had fair success in our first attempt at this. At our spring celebration we had over one hundred people respond of the two hundred and fifty people that attended. So, it was a great success for us to have that response of people that actually took their phone out and texted the keyword. It’s something we had in the past with Mobile Cause, but now it’s all through us and all through Andar — and we can track it, and it’s in our system, and we can use that.

How do you use the new donor information?

In the other platform we had, we only knew if they gave. We would never know if they went out to the webpage. We would never be able to track, you know, sometimes you get people that go out there and say, “I’m going to do it a little bit later. I’m going to actually donate later.” We now can track how many people actually went to the webpage, and then they can see how many people actually donated from that. So, we have traction, not just about the dollars, we have the traction of who has the interest, which puts them on that donor journey saying you cared; we’re going to use that information down the road. Even if you didn’t donate this time, of those hundred, even if they didn’t donate, now they’re on that journey that says, “We care about food for children in the summer time,” whatever that event that we do it at is at, and that’s what we had it for.

Integrated Software Technology Can Save You Time and Output Better Data


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 full-time 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 issues 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.


Fundraising Campaign Vs. Giving for a Cause


Transcript of Video

Customer Success Story

Project: Giving for a Cause
Solution: Andar i-Attend, Andar e-Pledge, Andar Texting

Customer: United Way of Central Minnesota, Minnesota, USA
Featuring: Chris Gutterud, Data Systems Manager


We’re not doing fundraising campaigns. We’re doing “giving for a cause.” Yeah, because a campaign has a beginning and an end. Giving is constant.

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.

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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