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E29: Real-World Example With Results – Solving Your Own Problem

by Sean Boyce

I share an example of how I’ve helped a nonprofit scale impact by greater than 300% by solving their own problem with software and technology.

In this episode I talk about:
  • A real-world example of solving your own problem to scale impact
  • Why the organization focused on this problem
  • What we did to solve the problem with software and technology
  • The level of results and return on investment for the organization
  • How other organizations expressed interest in it for themselves
  • What my client did to expand the ROI of this project
If you’d like to learn how to scale impact at your nonprofit by more than double in less than half the time, sign up for my free 5 day email course – https://nxtstep.io/impact/

Episode Transcript

Hey everyone, Sean here and today what I want to talk to you about is sharing an example from the episode that I recorded and shared yesterday regarding solving your own problems and leveraging software to build solutions around solving those problems in order to scale impact. 

Now, the example that I’m going to share is a real world scenario and an application that I helped build with an organization that had a need that they wanted to solve and in particular, again, this was a problem of their own at the organization in terms of something standing in the way of them scaling impact. Now, at this organization, they provide financial services to underrepresented populations of people and helping them essentially with things like financial literacy, asset building, repairing and improving their credit, saving to purchase a home, any number of wonderful things that way too many people need a significant amount of help with so their program is critically important. 

One of the challenges they were having is they were ready to scale and they wanted to expand the program beyond the kind of local and regional areas that they were in. They wanted to go beyond regional they wanted to go national and the challenge with that was they knew how long it was going to take to do with the mechanisms that they were previously the strategies they were using to enroll people into their program, which was largely offline and by that I mean in person. They were running in person events, usually a form of a workshop. Usually after hours, you’re trying to connect with members of the community that were a fit for their program. Now, while this was arguably effective in enrolling people into the program, it was time consuming and expensive, which meant obviously that at scale, those costs were only going to go up potentially exponentially depending on how aggressively they wanted to grow. So seeing as how that was relatively unattractive, they had a different idea in mind. Could they figure out how to scale more efficiently in order to reach a wider audience without increasing their expenses dramatically and that’s where the conversation of technology entered the fold. 

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When you hear things like this, and I want you to take this away from this episode, as well, you’re trying to do something faster, cheaper, easier, more cost effectively, if talking about scale, any of these kinds of buzzwords come up in conversation, where these key words come up in conversation, technology and software, have strengths in all of those areas, and when leveraged appropriately, can help you solve these problems and that’s exactly what was done here. So we figured out a way to build essentially an online enrollment portal that enabled the clients that they were previously enrolling offline to do so now online, which meant that didn’t need to run these expensive and time consuming in person events which required a lot of coordination. A lot of people needed to be involved in order to set those up, make sure those went well. They could still do those, but they could do those relative to the capacity that they had and they can instead rely on the online enrollment portal to reach clients essentially anywhere because it’s digital. As long as we can connect with the right audience virtually. We can advertise the program. We can help educate them in terms of what it can do for them and we can complete the process of enrolling them by getting some information from them and verifying whether or not they might be a fit for the program. So that’s what this project was all about and we leverage software and technology in order to do it. 

Now, before I talk a little bit more about some of the more recent results. I want to talk to you about the performance that this online enrollment portal was capable of achieving so we’ve done a round of interviews relatively recently and to get an idea from the coordinators that were managing the process in terms of what the difference was between having the online enrollment portal and not and the results are surprising even to me in terms of how striking a level of performance was. But the online version, having the opportunity to solve and tackle this problem for them. They’ve been able to enroll up to 300% more clients in less than half the time that it took them before. So if you’re keeping score, and we’re talking about impact, whenever we’re talking about impact, we’re obviously always aiming for something that’s ideally exponential, right? Because then we’re doubling or more the amount of impact that we can deliver. And if we’re enrolling up to three times as many clients and in half the time, we’ve essentially increased impact anywhere from 300% to 600% depending upon how you combine any of those numbers, which is obviously dramatic. And everyone that’s been involved in this process has been pretty profusely complimentary about its level of performance. And that makes me incredibly happy and helps me realize just how powerful software and technology can be when you leverage it in these ways. 

So moving beyond what that organization that I’ve been helping has been capable of doing with this help. And by leveraging those tools to solve this problem. Other organizations started to take note as they were sharing these insights in terms of what they were doing with this project that enabled other organizations to start inquiring about whether or not something like that was available for them as well too, because they also have those problems and challenges. So long story short here. This turned into an opportunity for the organization to build the product they had built for themselves, and then now provide it and sell it externally to other organizations as an opportunity to help them solve their enrollment problems and challenges and expand their program. Plus the revenue that the organization is going to be able to generate from selling access to this software product. They’re now going to be able to reinvest back into scaling impact even further. So this investment has paid off many times over for this organization, not just based on the dramatic improvement in performance they’ve been capable of but the fact that it’s now going to be able to generate revenue for them that they’re also going to be able to reinvest back into scaling impact even further. 

So, I wanted to share with you a real world example in terms of how well this stuff works. When done right. It’s pretty dramatic. I’ve recently come out of a conference that they’ve held, and I sat in the room myself as they were presenting this product, this enrollment portal, and when it’s going to be ready and when everyone can start using it. And it was met with an overwhelming amount of excitement and interest. So it’s very exciting time for a project like this and I’ll keep you posted as it further develops and obviously have any questions about how to do something like this at your organization, feel free to just reach out to me at sean@nxtstep.io.