Educational Nonprofit Gives its New Unified Communications Solution an A+
The Mexican American Opportunity Foundation provides for the socio-economic betterment of the greater Latino community of California, while preserving the pride, values and heritage of the Mexican American culture. MAOF offers a wide range of social services—including education, childcare, and senior lifestyle development—through dozens of service locations across California.
When it comes to helping those in need, few nonprofit organizations have done as much good for as many people as the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation.
Founded in 1963 to help socially and economically disadvantaged communities in the Los Angeles area, the MAOF has become the largest Latino-oriented, family services organization in the US. Today MAOF’s 1,000 employees provide much-needed social services across the state.
How many people in underserved communities does the MAOF help, in how many different ways? Here are just a few examples of the nonprofit’s many accomplishments.
Each year the MAOF provides free and low-cost services—from early education, to job training, to tax preparation—for 100,000 low-income Californians. The organization’s childcare and early-education programs serve 8,000 families every day. And through its home delivered meals program, the MAOF provides tens of thousands of meals annually to seniors in need.
With that many people counting on them, and thousands calling into the organization’s dozens of service locations every day for help, MAOF could no longer rely on a deteriorating phone system.
“Every single location we’ve migrated to RingCentral has experienced cost savings as a result. For a nonprofit, that’s a big deal.”
“Considering the thousands of people counting on us every day, all across California, we needed a phone system that was capable of a lot more.”
“It’s easy to adjust our call queues daily, changing who gets which calls, whether they ring to several people at once… we’re so much more flexible now.”
A mission that deserved a better phone system
Over time, MAOF has expanded its operations to serve counties across California: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Orange, Monterey, and others. As the organization grew its operations to more than 60 service locations statewide, maintaining reliable phone communications became increasingly difficult.
As IT Director Earl Williams explains, “With our old system, I spent every day putting out fires: keeping exchange boxes running, making manual changes to the proprietary code, and whatever I had to do to keep our phones from going down.”
Moreover, for MAOF, reliable phone service was crucial not only for internal communications but also to ensure the organization’s social services were always accessible to the people who needed them most.
Any unanswered call at an MAOF location—because employees couldn’t forward business calls to their mobile phones, or because the office’s phone system simply failed—might have been a family urgently seeking affordable childcare or a senior in need of a food bank.
Cloud communications: when accessibility is mission-critical
When MAOF began replacing its phone system with RingCentral’s cloud communications, the organization solved its reliability challenges. Rather than having to actively troubleshoot phone service across dozens of schools, daycare centers, and other service locations, Earl and his team now had a centralized communications environment managed in the cloud, one they could easily oversee and update from a user-friendly online dashboard.
But as they rolled the RingCentral solution to more MAOF teams and locations, Earl’s team found that a unified communications platform offered far more than highly reliable phone service. And these additional benefits are having a truly positive impact on MAOF’s operations.
Technology enables even more ways to serve
Because they have the RingCentral all-in-one app on their computers and phones, teachers at MAOF’s school environments now have much more flexibility in communicating with students’ parents than they’ve ever had.
In the past these teachers would have to give out their personal cell or home numbers, or they couldn’t communicate with parents outside the office. That’s no longer the case. Now they’re using the RingCentral app to make and take calls, and exchange SMS texts, with parents right from their MAOF RingCentral numbers, even from their personal smartphones.
“We’re also able to keep records of these texts because they all flow through our RingCentral account,” Earl says. “That makes it a lot easier to reimburse staff for their work communications than if I had to review hundreds of people’s personal phone bills.”
MAOF can also now quickly activate sophisticated phone services such as automated greetings, phone directories, and even language options for callers. As Earl explains, this gives the organization opportunities to provide better service to callers than they could before.
“We used to have just one receptionist answering every call at headquarters. Now she has a lot of help from RingCentral. Callers hear a message directing them to press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish, then to an extension menu, and then—if they spend any time on hold—we even have a periodic message that reminds them they’re in our queue and someone will be with them soon.”
MAOF is also getting tremendous value from RingCentral’s built-in team messaging platform, which provides both instant messaging and file sharing capabilities. “We’re using it all the time to have quick chats online with coworkers,” Earl explains. “And it’s also proving a great way for our teachers to share files online with families.”
Meeting a top priority for any nonprofit: cost savings
With RingCentral, MAOF is also experiencing reduced telephony and digital communications costs by 30 - 50%.
Earl’s team is still in the process of rolling out RingCentral across the organization. But as a result of several factors—no longer needing to pay to maintain and repair on-prem phone hardware, eliminating long-distance charges for interoffice calls via internal direct dial extensions—the organization is already seeing a significant cost-saving.