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CHIP Young Professionals Case Study
Engaging young professionals and fighting homelessness.

Nearly 1,700 people experience homelessness each night in Indianapolis. But the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) believes homelessness isn’t only a solvable problem, but a preventable one.

By mobilizing its community partners and empowering collaboration, the organization aims to make homelessness “rare, short-lived, and recoverable.” Recently, CHIP collaborate with the Indianapolis Continuum of Care to generate The Indianapolis Community Plan to End Homelessness: 2018-2023, which lays out an ambitious strategy toward doubling supportive housing in five years. The mission will require the resources of groups and individuals from across the Indianapolis community.

It’s a mission that Zachary Alexander, Community Relations and Events Manager for CHIP, has taken on for nearly three years. His work includes external communications, event planning, generating all website and social media content, and offering administrative support to the board. He also helped re-found CHIP’s Young Professionals Group (CHIP YP), designed to encourage community members in their 20s and 30s to get involved with the organization.

Community Plan – CHIP uses data and research to inform the community on homelessness trends, system needs, and performance outcomes. CHIP then collaborates with the Indianapolis Continuum of Care to develop and implement the Indianapolis Community Plan to End Homelessness. (Photo courtesy of CHIP.)

Community Plan – CHIP uses data and research to inform the community on homelessness trends, system needs, and performance outcomes. CHIP then collaborates with the Indianapolis Continuum of Care to develop and implement the Indianapolis Community Plan to End Homelessness. (Photo courtesy of CHIP.)

The challenge of re-founding a board

CHIP YP Group began as informal “community connectors,” a rotating group composed mostly of interns whose involvement depended on their availability. Zachary’s goal was to re-launch the group and make it a more integral part of CHIP’s larger mission.

Zachary spent months researching and meeting with local nonprofit groups like IndyHub to determine how to move forward. “We were communicating a lot through email, which was very difficult as members were already managing flooded inboxes,” he said. “It was also hard to ensure nothing slipped through the cracks.” The casual nature of the group also meant it was tough to track membership length and communication preferences.

It was clear that Zachary and CHIP needed more than an inbox to manage the YP Group. He began to search for a solution that would allow him to keep a clear member roster, manage communications and events, and offer flexibility across devices.

A new solution for an enduring mission

One of the CHIP YP Group members suggested Boardable to Zachary. He sought to achieve the following through the use of software:

  • Manage calendars: “At CHIP, we use Outlook,” Zachary said. “So many others use Gmail, so Boardable is a nice equalizer.”
  • Increase productivity: “A lot of times we have board meetings and it feels as though they’re productive,” he said. “But there’s no movement made between monthly meetings.” Boardable makes it easier to stay on top of tasks in a single place.
  • Offer opt-out capabilities: Members can opt out of segmented or sub-committee-specific communications, allowing them to be more engaged with the projects that they care about.

“The beauty of Boardable is that I don’t have to use it on a daily basis,” Zachary said. Everything from emails to meeting minutes can be stored in a central location. “I can check on RSVPs for a meeting and archive all comments and past minutes. It makes it much easier to inform and plan the next meeting.”

Email clutter is also a thing of the past for the Young Professionals. “We use the messaging feature to keep a pulse on current happenings so that we don’t have to scroll through an inbox,” Zachary said.

“It’s so much easier to keep tabs on everything. Instead of spending 20 minutes digging through emails, it takes less than five to stay updated, and nothing ever slips through the cracks.”
-Zachary Alexander, CHIP YP Community Relations and Events Manager

Memorial Service – Every Winter Solstice, CHIP organizes and hosts a Memorial Service to commemorate the lives of those who have experienced homelessness and have passed away during the course of the year. (Photo courtesy of CHIP.)

Memorial Service – Every Winter Solstice, CHIP organizes and hosts a Memorial Service to commemorate the lives of those who have experienced homelessness and have passed away during the course of the year. (Photo courtesy of CHIP.)

 

Yielding measurable results

Outreach is one of the most important goals of CHIP YP Group. That means time is at a premium—the faster messaging can be created, the better. The group wanted to deliver a one-page YP Group infographic sheet, a project that would typically take about three months to complete without a project management solution.

“We created the document solely through the Boardable platform,” Zachary said. “Quotes from YP Group members, stats, design, we shared it all there. Then, we were able to use the discussion feature to finesse it.”

“In less than two weeks, it was sent off to the printer. All of it was done digitally through Boardable. Without Boardable, it would have taken at least two or three meetings—or about three months—to create the document.”

Time-saving benefits

That boost in productivity has extended to everyday management of the group. “I used to spend hours of my job on the YP Group,” Zachary said. “As a liaison, I should be involved when I need to be, but I shouldn’t be involved on a daily basis. Boardable allows me to let the members run the show, but still stay up to date.”

CHIP Case Study - YP - Boardable board management software

YP – Community Relations and Events Manager Zachary Alexander stands with several ChYPsters (CHIP YP Group members) at IndyVolved to engage more members. CHIP YP Group offers opportunities for young professionals to network and collaborate with one another to make an impact on homelessness in Indianapolis. (Photo courtesy of CHIP.)

Vision for the future of CHIP and beyond

After working with Boardable’s nonprofit software platform for a little more than a year, Zachary is still impressed by the impact it has on his ability to get things done. He’s hoping to introduce the CHIP Board of Directors to Boardable.

“We already do amazing work with it through the YP Group,” he said. “Boardable is so user friendly—even those folks who aren’t tech savvy will be able to use it. It’s also eco-friendly: We currently print a lot of things, so empowering people to bring tablets, phones, laptops will be incredibly helpful.”

With a broad network of organizations joining the fight against homelessness, Zachary believes the wider community could benefit from Boardable as well. He wants to introduce it to other organizations to further their missions.

For Zachary, Boardable is an active partner in his organization’s success. The product and the people who create it combine for an excellent customer experience.

“The folks at Boardable are so awesome. They really understand nonprofit culture, and they want to help each nonprofit they serve thrive in their mission. I know most of the team by first name—and that is something that won’t change as Boardable continues to grow and as they impact more and more nonprofits.”

RELATED: United Way of Central Indiana Success Story

Interested in how to make your nonprofit board of directors more productive through the effective use of technology? Boardable is a board-management software platform that centralizes all communication between you and your board. Find the best meeting times, securely store all of your documents, archive discussion threads, and more—all in one place. Click below to start your free trial of Boardable.

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