- Coordinating social services
- Digital communications & marketing
- Fundraising ideas
- Human services
In a webinar hosted by Bonterra Program Management (formerly Social Solutions), nonprofit organizations that support violence survivors came together to discuss topics relevant to their work, including how they use data and case management tools to better serve their participants.
We learned that creativity is critical in helping survivors, having a centralized database is important, and easy-to-use reporting capabilities help teams run more efficiently.
Keep reading for our key takeaways.
Rethinking your outreach is critical in sensitive situations
Violence survivors are in delicate, deeply personal circumstances. Organizations serving this vulnerable population must often take a creative and mindful approach when reaching and supporting this group. Jo Estrada, director of social services for Harris County in the Houston area, learned this firsthand in her former role as community impact director in Bexar County near San Antonio.
How case management software helped victims in Bexar County
While working in Bexar County, her department started using Bonterra Case Management to collect online applications and documentation for utility assistance from low-income residents. In one application, Jo suspected the resident was trying to get help for something entirely different from utilities.
“When they uploaded the documents, they uploaded photos of injuries,” Jo said. “Obviously, that person was trying to seek assistance—they were trying to find help.”
This application led her to try an experiment with Harris County’s online form for utility assistance. She added a question to the application form that asked, “Are you a victim of intimate partner violence?” If the resident answered “yes” to the question, a pop-up would appear in the software asking the resident if they wanted to be contacted.
“It was shocking,” Jo said. “We started seeing a lot of people answer the question, and we were able to get resources for several people who were too afraid to go to a traditional hotline. What we heard over and over was that it was easier for them to disguise that outreach through a utility assistance application.”
By using Case Management, the Bexar County department worked with other departments such as Child Protective Services (CPS) and the justice system. This allowed staffers in their department to cross-reference the applications with data in the system. This powerful story shows how online software impacts the ability to meet people in some of the most sensitive situations.
Additional case management software benefits
With case management software, Jo’s team was also able to monitor the impact their services had on those people.
“Everything is about data, right? We have to be able to prove outcomes so that we can ask for funding,” Jo said. “We could say, ‘We helped 5,000 people,’ but now we have to show what the outcomes were.”
That’s where tracking comes in. Jo mentions a few of the ways the organization can prove its efficacy.
“How long were they able to stay free from violence? Were they able to build financial capability?” Jo said. “And the only way that we can show that is by tracking the data and partnering with other organizations and departments in the community.”
Keeping track of your data is easier with case management software
With comprehensive software like Bonterra Case Management, you can ensure there are no gaps in the data points you want to track. Case Management keeps everything in a central place so you can gain insight into your organization’s outcomes, and reporting capabilities make it easier than ever to conceptualize that data.
Nike Blue—who oversees client data management system compliance, reporting, and quality assurance and improvement activities at Houston Area Women’s Center—attested to the visualization tools’ ability to create effective management reports.
“The management report gives leaders a quick snapshot of all of their team members, how many clients the case managers are serving, and because of its flexibility, they can drill down into specific team members,” Nike said. “It’s helped our supervisors better assess their team as a whole and then even drill down into the strengths or the areas of improvement for individual team members.”
Getting staff buy-in is the key to creating a data-first culture
Creating databases and reporting systems is important on the management level, and it’s also critical to get your frontline workers to embrace those systems. Robert Lopez works in the client services department at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, which supports LGBTQ violence survivors and survivors who are living with HIV. Lopez noted that he strives to ensure that every frontline staffer understands and believes that utilizing data will help them in their role.
“Data is not a hindrance. It feels sometimes like it’s this extra, ominous thing that has to be done, but everything that they put into the database is a benefit to them,” he said. “It has to be easy for your employees to use. It has to make sense. It’s got to flow, and it’s got to remind your staffers to do things.”
The intuitive nature of Bonterra’s Case Management solution makes it easy for you to get your staff on board. And once you get buy-in from your staff members, you can let our software help you measure outcomes to better serve your community.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can call 1-800-799-7233 or chat with a representative from the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7.