Submitted by admin on Tue, 2011-12-13 16:59
Written by Matthew Carter
The national charity for homeless people has seen volunteer applications soar this festive season - and much of the credit for the movement is being handed to the adoption of a new web app.
Crisis has pushed forward with its charity communications through the Crisis at Christmas Volunteer Community - an online portal that offers people a simple way to offer their services to the good cause at yuletide.
As a result of the internet initiative - which was developed by web-enabled technology specialist Totally Communications - the organisation's annual Crisis at Christmas event has received over 30 per cent more applications this year than it did at the same time in 2010.
The net-based scheme was launched a month ago and record numbers have since been visiting the portal to offer help in their droves - which will mean Christmas is delivered to increasing numbers of people without a place to stay over the festive season.
Applications for the programme were processed manually in the past, but the switch to a technology-based setup has served to speed up the process, resulting in the charity currently being one month ahead of last year with regard to volunteer numbers.
Indeed, the progression in charity communications means this total now stands at more than 7,300.
Ashley Bladon, project manager and IT and systems coordinator for Crisis at Christmas, said the new system is testament to all the hard work put in by both the technical team at Crisis and the workers from Totally Communications.
The industry figure stated: "We had nearly as many applications on the first day as we have previously got in two weeks we have already processed and accepted around 90 per cent of the applications, which is unheard of."
"Typically this time every year the staff at the Crisis head office are extremely busy processing applications manually, but because everything is automated this year, we have been able to plough many more resources into the event itself," the representative added.
As part of the new approach, both prospective and existing volunteers have the opportunity to search and apply for roles, view their schedules and make any requests for changes that would better suit their diary.
In addition, people have the chance to correspond and get to know other individuals who have signed up to lend their time and support for the cause.
Managing director of Totally Communications Andy Margolis observed: "Crisis has already experienced some true measurable success since the portal went live – and there is more to come."
He added the new system has also resulted in a drastic reduction in paperwork, while the Crisis centres are able to monitor attendance and gain access to operational data in real time.
Totally Communications was selected by Crisis - which was founded in 1967 in response to the release of the Ken Loach film Cathy Come Home one year earlier - to develop the software in June this year and the ease of the system has resulted in all queries being reduced by 60 per cent.