How to ensure a very successful social initiative can smoothly meet the fast-growing demand? How to keep focusing on your ambitions and ideals without getting distracted by all kinds of administrative tasks? And how to make sure thousands of volunteers get the most out of themselves and each other?
The answer is simple: by using a platform that is available everywhere. Together with Stichting VoorleesExpress, PAQT developed an application that helps volunteers collaborate more efficiently and makes for a different way of working. They now have easy and quick access to all information.
About the VoorleesExpress
Stichting VoorleesExpress ensures that children who struggle with language receive extra attention. Volunteers provide help to these children (and their families) — not only by reading to them, but also through language games, videos, useful websites, and other ways to incorporate reading and language into a family’s life. This is done during 20 weekly sessions, which are held at home, online, or in a public location. Stichting VoorleesExpress has been around for about 15 years, and during that period it has supported approximately 40,000 families.
From modest start to resounding success
What started with a handful of volunteers and 10 families in the Utrecht district of Kanaleneiland 15 years ago has now evolved into an organization with 400 locations and more than 6,000 volunteers who support thousands of families. And demand is only increasing.
Therefore, it was high time for Stichting VoorleesExpress to find a solution that would better facilitate volunteers. The existing platform has been renewed and is also available as an application. The result is a place where volunteers can easily get in touch with each other and share information with project leaders and where materials are available in an accessible manner.
PAQT has all the expertise required to implement a custom platform — integrated with existing systems where necessary (thanks to smart API connections). It’s comprehensible for everyone and easy to use, and the responsive design makes it accessible everywhere. Of course, it is also GDPR proof and highly secured.
Within PAQT, this assignment was right up Team Falcon’s alley, as this team specializes in the implementation of mobile apps and custom software solutions for nonprofit organizations (among other things).
User-friendly application, online community
Right from the start, it was clear that it should be easy for volunteers to use the application — even on the go. Of course, it’s impossible to know how digitally skilled those thousands of volunteers are. So, maximum ease of use was paramount.
API connections with other systems were required, as volunteers use the application to share information with families. Furthermore, this platform gives volunteers all the room they need to form a real digital community — one where people can learn, share tips and experiences, and inspire each other.
Insights, reports, accountability
On the renewed platform, the project leaders at Stichting VoorleesExpress can more efficiently and easily map out volunteer recruitment, family registrations, experiences and ratings, and departures.
This provides Stichting VoorleesExpress with important management information regarding the organization’s progress and performance. Moreover, nearly all clients are municipalities that want to know how many families receive support, how many projects have been successfully completed, and what the lead times are.
Cross-platform technology, API connections
We’ve used the Ionic Vue framework to develop this mobile app. Thanks to this cross-platform technology, the app runs on both Android and iOS smartphones from one and the same codebase, but it can also be rolled out as a Progressive Web App on your desktop or in your browser.
To avoid reinventing the wheel time and again, we have used external services to quickly implement commonly used features. For example, we’ve created a modern API connection for managing content with headless CMS Contentful. This allows you to write and maintain texts and images in a logical, user-friendly manner.
To ensure people can log in to and out of the app securely, we’ve created a link with Auth0, instantly realizing the highest level of security when it comes to authentication.
Figures at a glance
- 6,000 volunteers
- 400 locations
- Thousands of families
- Front end: Ionic Vue
- Back end: Laravel
- API connections: Contentful
- Auth0 authentication