Organization: United Way of Madison County
Location: Anderson, Indiana
Contact: Karen Hemberger, Vice President of Impact
Madison County has a population of about 130,000 and is located northeast of Indianapolis. We’ve been slowly shifting from a fundraising organization to really figuring out what the needs are in our community and then developing strategies to address them. There are a lot of people in our region who have lost hope and feel disconnected. When some of our big automotive manufacturing companies left our community and took jobs with them, that left a huge void. The jobs that were left were lower-paying, primarily service industry jobs. About two years ago, we were approached by a partner who was looking at the Centers for Working Families (CWF) model, which employs coaches that help individuals achieve their goals. It’s a relationship-based model with no time limit on how long you work with clients. We did more research and really liked the philosophy and particularly the results that the model achieves. Based upon the needs and capacity of our community, we felt this was an approach that would give hope and support to the many families and individuals who have been working hard, yet still not making ends meet. Because our community is much smaller and as a result does not have the capacity or much of the infrastructure in place that larger cities with CWF have, we could not replicate the model exactly, but we have developed a network, the THRIVE Network, that we believe will deliver comparable results. We’ve been working on it for the past year, building our THRIVE Network together with community partners. Through THRIVE, clients can meet with coaches for income support, family support, benefit eligibility, budgeting, credit repair and building, and employment.
What attracted you to MPOWR?
I did a lot of research on databases, and some of them were just too expensive for us. Our budget is small, and we didn’t have the ability to pay for a huge system that some of the larger organizations with similar programs/initiatives are using. I came across some research about MPOWR and spoke with a representative from the company at the United Way conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I got some information I needed at the time, and there was prompt follow-up after that, so we figured out how to afford MPOWR. At the time, MPOWR, by far, had the best customer service.
When did you implement MPOWR? Spring 2017
How are you using MPOWR to support your organization?
All the people working in the THRIVE Network know each other, but they’ve never worked on the same page with the same clients with the same goals, or effectively communicated the work. Our coaches have been trained to use the system, and they’ve been inputting client data. MPOWR will give us a system where everybody can see necessary information for clients. We hope it will allow us to communicate even better. Goal setting and tracking is a big issue for us and being able to track activities and pull reports to see where we are as a network is critical. One of my goals from the system is to pull reports that we can use to determine where there are systemic barriers and unmet needs so we can develop strategies to address them. I also want to be able to show our board, donors, volunteers and the community as a whole the results we’ve been able to achieve—and celebrate the successes we are having with our partners.