When Covid Killed Travel, this NGO Got Efficient & Scaled Through ProductivityBy
Sara Davis is the Head of Growth at Workast.
Sara Davis is the Head of Growth at Workast.
Medical Missions Outreach is a 501c3 nonprofit that builds pop-up medical clinics all around the world to deliver high-quality healthcare to communities in need. For over 15 years, Medical Missions Outreach has brought together volunteers from all around the world to underdeveloped areas to support their mission. Volunteer dentists, doctors, nurses, surgeons, optometrists, pharmacists, and non-medical personnel come together to bring these clinics to life multiple times a year.
The logistics of planning these trips is complex, to say the least. Everything from vaccines, flights, pharmaceutical needs, lodging, passports, etc., need to be accounted for. Plus, these trips aren’t possible without the volunteers, equipment, and supplies needed in order to make them happen.
With so many moving parts involved in each mission, and so many critical aspects of planning these trips - how Medical Missions Outreach manages these projects is essential. Due to expansion - Christine Ellis, the General Director realized that it was getting difficult to manage operations internally - and in order to continue to grow they needed new processes put in place.
Prior to choosing Workast as a project management solution, Medical Missions Outreach was managing their operations with a combination of hanging file-folders, pencils and paper, and a whiteboard for ticketing. None of these solutions were ideal. The ticketing board alone presented unique opportunities since volunteers travel from all over the world. As the organization was seeing rapid growth and hiring new team members, Christine started looking into potential project management solutions.
She needed to be able to hand some of her workload off to her staff, but still be able to oversee it. By being able to delegate, Christine could spend more time expanding the organization, which would simultaneously allow more people to get involved with their cause.
With a team of 18 members, who were used to the file-folder method and may not be thrilled about learning new processes or tools, Christine needed a solution that was:
Easy to use
Easy to adopt
Easy to get buy-in from her team members
Able to organize and safely store lots of files associated with each mission
Because of the orchestration required to plan each trip, the Medical Outreach team received massive amounts of emails on a daily basis. Volunteers keep in touch with them to arrange hotels, and flights, and the email-load was overwhelming. They moved to Slack to be able to cut down on emails. Slack made it easy for them to properly organize and make the email-flow manageable. Since the team had mastered #Channels already, she thought transitioning to a to-do list app that integrated with Slack would be an easier transition.
The executive team found Workast and tested the functionality, and made the decision to roll it out to the whole team during the next staff meeting. Due to covid, they weren’t able to travel the way they had been - so rather than waste precious time, they decided to get better at doing what they do instead. By implementing Workast with Slack they were able to spread out the workload and streamline processes.
“Everyone was willing to learn together because it added value, helped with communications, and made sure projects didn’t die.”
Once the team was up and running in Workast, they started taking full advantage of the software. For instance, they use forms for media, and finance - like a PO request. And their previous paper and pen checklists have been replaced with task solutions for:
Managing pricing for hotels and flights
Create a packing list for custom
Develop a formulary of medicine
Letting the US government know where they are with each trip
This allowed them to make sure everything was arranged, and in one centric location.
“As we grow and hire more employees, I value the insights I’m able to have from Workast that allow me to see what my team is working and where we are at with our projects. It’s been really helpful for me to have that high-level overview.”
In 2021, Medical Missions Outreach has increased the number of trips they typically take (around 12-13) to over 20 trips planned around the world! As the organization is able to do more with their new systems and processes, they are able to help provide healthcare to more people that need it the most. They are excited to continually be able to increase the number of missions they do each year.
Christine and her team are continuing their growth, increasing their volunteer pool, and expanding their missions. Especially in these uncertain times, it’s so critical that people have access to solid healthcare. We’re proud to be able to highlight their success and are excited to see them continue expanding.
“We’re thankful for the ways Workast has helped us with our mission.”
Are you looking to improve your nonprofit’s project management setup? We’re here to help. Send us a line or tweet us @Workast to see how Workast can help you do more of what matters.