The Beginning …
BBBS Foundation began operations in Quincy. The building was in rough shape but we managed to make it home.
It wasn’t long before we moved our current location in Holbrook which gave us warehouse as well as office space, a better atmosphere, and much needed upgrades on our computer & phone systems.
In our new digs, outgoing calls increased over 30%.
A decade later, we doubled the number of lines & allowed many staff members to login from home, which reduced turnover and increased production.
We added software to organize the routes and armed drivers with state-of-the-art GPS making residential pickups more efficient than following maps.
Today, we are constantly exploring ways to improve production, serve our donors seamlessly, reduce waste, while also creating a positive and supportive work environment.
Many of our representatives know our donors by name and often hear the sometimes very personal connection they have to BBBS Foundation as a Big or Little Sister or Brother.
We currently have over 230,000 active donors. They donate for all sorts of reasons, but common themes are a belief in the value of mentoring programs and personal experience as a big or little. They also love that we do not only pick up curbside – our drivers will gladly take bags from the lobby, porch or in front of a garage.
In the early days, we often had to explain what the Foundation did as many people thought we were the placement agency, but as our brand has gotten out there more & our big blue trucks are hard to miss on the roads, we don’t get that question much anymore.
We do get questions about where the money goes and we are pleased to explain that all 100% of proceeds help fund the mentoring agencies who match at-risk children with professionally supported mentors.
And our donors are always giving us ideas for our improvement such as the woman who suggested we equip our trucks with snowplows to make it easier for everyone.
We are leaps & bounds beyond our original technology – even using that word is a stretch – our computers were old, not window based and our printers required the paper with holes on the side that you had to line up and jammed all the time.
The monitors were the neon green font & the telemarketing manager had to toggle between four computer! Her staff affectionately referred to her as captain of “the starship enterprise.”
Today, our computers are windows based allowing representatives to make changes such as updating addresses in real time versus manually fill out a form to initiate. And our calling systems, which include 48 lines, are streamlined allowing the manager to go back to and listen to a donor conversation if there is any discrepancy to help navigate a solution or give proper feedback to to staff.
Our new system also allows us to offer telecommuting options which has been instrumental to keeping our donors informed of cancellations due to inclement weather & helping to reduce employee turnover – we currently have a telemarketer who relocated to Arizona but still works with us.
Though it is not always common practice for charities to implement new technologies, we pride ourselves on exploring any method or application that can make us more effective and efficient, and serve our donors better.
In response to donor requests, we are in the process of rolling out our texting program and several mobile apps are in development.
Donors can schedule online, via the 9 million postcards we send annually, email or texting. And they can always call and get a live BBBSF representative.
Our original staff compliment was comprised of retirees & young moms; today our staff is more diverse, but we are happy that we still have young mothers and retirees (some of whom didn’t know how to use a computer mouse when we relocated) and we treasure each & every one of them!