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Rexdale Women's Centre: Data-driven decison making

With donations from TechSoup Canada we have more time to serve clients and can tailor our services to the community's needs.

May 13, 2011

By: Tierney Smith

The Rexdale Women's Centre is an independent, not-for-profit, voluntary agency that serves immigrant, newcomer and refugee women and their family members residing in the Greater Toronto Area. They work to enhance clients’ individual functioning skills and facilitate their access to resources, agencies and community services. This includes settlement services, English language classes, violence prevention services, children’s services, family support services, and post-settlement services, among others.

Before knowing about TechSoup Canada’s donations program and other charity pricing programs, Rexdale Women’s Centre simply would not be able to afford the technology they needed. According to their IT Manager, “the budget didn’t let us buy good programs, good computers and everything. Right now it’s much, much easier.” Data tracking was limited and mostly done through spreadsheets.

Keeping client data current

With software requested through the donations program, Rexdale Women’s Centre has set up a server with a database that tracks information about their clients and what services they are accessing. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), all front-line staff can access the server from wherever they are - including the Centre’s three main locations and over 30 satellite locations. Allowing staff to enter data without coming back to the main office saves significant time and means that data is always current.

Language Class at Rexdale Women's Centre
Women attend a language class at Rexdale Women's Centre. Computers run Windows XP and Microsoft Office, requested through the donations program.

Sharing contacts

Through the purchase of Microsoft Exchange Server Rexdale Women’s Centre is better able to manage their communication system with internal and external groups, with a global address list available to users from anywhere. This allows the Centre to have greater control of setting customized filters and monitoring usage and flow of communication to and from the Centre.  With the addition of the Policy Patrol the Centre is more efficient at managing spam and inappropriate communication.

Using data to inform decisions

To be able to make sense of all the data that they are collecting, Rexdale Women’s Centre requested Crystal Reports from SAP. The reports that their IT Manager has set up are extremely useful for analysing and visualizing information. The insight provided by these reports helps staff to make better decisions and build relationships with funders through:

  • Sharing quantitative, accurate, detailed and visual data with funders through grant proposals and reports that are based on facts rather than guesses or estimates
  • Understanding the evolving needs of the community and tailoring their services appropriately
  • Comparing the demographic profile of their clients with the latest census data
  • Getting a big picture of the impact they are having in the community

Integrating donated products into their organization has given the Rexdale Women’s Centre access to better data while saving staff time. “We wouldn’t have access to many technologies if not because of TechSoup Canada, so we’re really happy that such an organization exists.”

Donated Products

Rexdale Women’s Centre has received donated products through TechSoup Canada, including: