North Hills Community Outreach
RingCentral’s SMS Texting Helps This Nonprofit Improve the Lives of At-Risk Families
Allison Park, PA
Allison Park, PA
Between allowing us to exchange documents with clients who don’t have email and letting us communicate easily with non-English speakers, RingCentral’s SMS texting consistently helps North Hills Community Outreach deliver much-needed services to our community’s most vulnerable residents.
of families helped each year through the organization’s social services
mobile communications platform for business texting, calling, and faxing
languages used to communicate with clients via SMS text translation
When they opened the doors to their social-services nonprofit in 1987, the founders of North Hills Community Outreach had a big vision: To make their home county of North Alleghany, Pennsylvania, a community in which no one goes hungry, cold, or alone.
With the organization now providing services to thousands of people each year—from emergency food and utility assistance to transportation and check-in calls for seniors—NHCO has clearly gone a long way toward achieving its bold mission.
During the 2020 pandemic, the organization found its services in even greater need than usual. But NHCO delivered for the region’s at-risk residents—providing food and other emergency aid to more than 2,000 families, as well as health and safety services to hundreds of local seniors.
Finding ingenious ways to serve clients using RingCentral texting
Abby Kelly, NHCO’s Development Coordinator, explains that the organization’s dedicated employees need to be in frequent communication with the clients they serve—to let a senior know the shuttle bus is on the way to take them to their doctor’s appointment, for example, or to request documents needed to help a client pay their utility bill.
“Before RingCentral, we really didn’t have a reliable or consistent tool for those client communications,” Abby says. “A lot of our clients don’t speak English, so phone calls could be difficult. Also, if we needed a photo ID or some other paperwork, that could be a challenge as well because many of our clients don’t have computers or email.”
NHCO solved these challenges—and improved many other workflows—when they rolled out RingCentral’s unified communications solution to all employees. Today, the favorite communication format for staff and clients is SMS text messaging.
“The text feature on our RingCentral apps has been so useful and versatile,” Abby explains. “We use it all the time for those little back-and-forth chats with clients—to update them on services, request information, or answer their questions. We also use texting to exchange documents, such as forms or photos, with our clients who don’t have email and don’t want to have to bring paperwork to our offices.”
One of the best things about RingCentral’s texting feature is the language translation. We have a lot of non-English-speaking clients—and being able to automatically translate their messages and our messages back to them means we can be responsive and helpful whenever they need us.
“I like RingCentral’s texting feature for several reasons,” says Dan Wonders, Team Leader of NHCO’s Transportation Assistance Program. “Some of my clients are hard to reach by phone. I can [use the texting feature to] send clients links to other resources. [Texting through the RingCentral app] allows me to reach people in a shorter amount of time than going back and forth with voicemails.
Dan adds: “I can even group-text if a client is working with more than one [NHCO] staff member and keep everyone in the loop.”
Improving operations with RingCentral’s phone, voicemail, and fax features
Texting isn’t the only feature in RingCentral’s unified communications platform that NHCO’s employees are using to improve their daily workflows.
As Abby points out, the staff leverages several other tools on their RingCentral apps to stay productive and efficient, and even to maintain a reasonable work-life balance.
“Because we’re all on the same RingCentral phone system, it’s so much easier to transfer calls between offices or from an office to a coworker who’s on the road,” she says. “Now those are all internal calls, and we can just dial the person’s RingCentral extension or even just click their name to reach them.”
NHCO is also making use of RingCentral’s built-in online fax solution. “One of the services we provide is helping our clients pay their utility bills,” Abby explains. “During the lockdowns, we had to work from home, but we also had to send letters of intent and other documents to the utility companies on behalf our clients, and those companies still ask for faxes. Having the ability to electronically send a fax from our business number from anywhere, without needing a fax machine, is a huge convenience for us—and it helps us help our clients more quickly.”
NHCO’s employees are also improving efficiencies with RingCentral’s voicemail transcription feature, Abby says. “We can quickly skim our voicemails to see which calls need addressing right away, which ones we can get to later, and which are just spam calls we can delete. Thanks to RingCentral, we no longer need to listen to every voicemail. That feature alone is saving us a lot of time and hassle.”
Finally, Abby notes, having RingCentral on their computers and mobile phones is even helping NHCO’s staff improve work-life balance.
“It’s easy to go into the RingCentral dashboard and set or change our hours of operation, and that means I can tell RingCentral to ring through only during business hours and then send after-hours calls to my voicemail. That has been a great addition to my job because it allows me to decompress when I’m off, so I can always come back to work fresh and ready to serve.”
RingCentral provides us with an effective and extremely useful tool—so we can continue to be people helping people.