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How ECHO Helped CoachArt Scale Its Nonprofit with a Two-Sided Marketplace

If I needed a ride home, a place to stay when I’m travelling, or even a date on Friday night, I can open up an app on my phone and immediately be connected to people willing to pick me up, let me crash in their spare bedroom, or go for a night on the town. How crazy is that? The reality is that this two-sided online marketplace has been one of the biggest business disruptions over the last decade, changing the way we connect with people who, let’s face it, are complete strangers!

This is exciting news for nonprofits. Think about it, nonprofits connect people in need with those willing to help through their time, money, or expertise. The downside is that up until recently, matching the right person in need with the right person to help has been a completely manual process, and for CoachArt, this was no different.

CoachArt matches volunteers with children living with chronic illness for one-on-one or group lessons in arts and athletics. For these children, frequent hospital visits and deficient immune systems often cause them to miss time in school and recreational activities. Expensive hospital bills mean their families can’t afford to enroll them in extracurricular activities. CoachArt supports these families by providing free lessons for their child to learn how to cook, sing, play tennis, and ultimately contribute to improving their quality of life overall.

How does CoachArt do this? In order to find the perfect match for a family, CoachArt staff have to compare skills, interests, proximity, and availability between its volunteers and the families it supports. That’s a lot of information to sift through. Since 2001, staff relied on a paper-heavy and manual process to individually match each family. Just one match could take up to 7 hours of staff time!

With the explosion of two-sided online marketplaces, CoachArt knew the technology was out there but didn’t know where to start. With support from our Software Development team here at ECHO Technology Solutions, CoachArt leveraged the power of Salesforce and Community Cloud to build CoachArt Connect, its own platform where the matching process is put in the hands of volunteers to connect directly with families in need. Volunteers can log onto CoachArt Connect, and based on their coaching interests and location, find matching families with children who want to learn.

What does this look like, and how does it work? Join CoachArt and ECHO at Dreamforce this Thursday, September 27, at 11am for our session, Restructuring your Nonprofit to the Lyft, AirBnB, and Match.com Model. Afterwards, grab your lunch and meet us in the Essex Room at the Westin St. Francis at 12pm noon, near the Salesforce.org Lodge.

The outcome? CoachArt staff took themselves out of the equation and built an online community for its stakeholders. The time to make a match now just takes 17 minutes, and staff can focus on providing more training and resources to serve thousands more children with chronic illness. As a result, the possibilities for scaling CoachArt’s organization are endless.

 

Not at Dreamforce this year? Email us at clientsuccess@echots.com and learn how your organization can directly connect people in need with those willing to help.