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Nonprofit Cradle-to-College Initiative Uses RingCentral to Communicate More Effectively with Community Families and Serve More Students

Summary
Needed a phone solution that would work easily on day one, scale easily later.
Cloud-based RingCentral enabled easy office expansion and frictionless growth.
Continuing to benefit from RingCentral’s ease of use and cost-effectiveness.
Summary
“Configuring phone trees and call queues used to be a nightmare with our previous phone systems. With RingCentral, tasks like these are so easy that I actually enjoy doing them.”
Alicia Jaromin
Senior Helpdesk Network Engineer
Company profile
Company profile:
Oakland Promise is a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring every child in Oakland, California, graduates high school with the expectations, resources, and skills to complete college and be successful in the career of their choice. The cradle-to-career organization carries out this mission through its four programs: Brilliant Baby, Kindergarten to College (K2C), College Access–Future Centers, and College Scholarship & Completion.
Year founded:
2016
EMPLOYEES:
40+
Headquarters:
Oakland, CA

Since its launch in 2016, the Oakland Promise nonprofit has made significant progress toward its mission to help children in Oakland, California, acquire the resources and skills they need to attend college on their way to creating successful, fulfilling careers.

With a presence in 65 Oakland public schools, the organization has helped more than 850 families start college savings accounts for their children and has provided more than $8 million in scholarships to more than 1,000 students. In fact, 93% of the first graduating class of Oakland Promise scholars have persisted through their first year of college.

Of course, running an initiative as complex as Oakland Promise—which offers financial coaching to families, provides mentoring services to young scholars, and coordinates the fundraising and distribution of millions in scholarship money—requires a reliable, flexible communications infrastructure.

RingCentral is thrilled to be helping an organization like Oakland Promise carry out such an important and admirable mission.

When mobile communications for business calling and texting is a must

“We spend a lot of our time out in the community—at libraries, clinics, schools—so it’s great to have a phone service that lets us use our work numbers on our own smartphones,” says Reshonda Williams, Brilliant Baby Operations Associate at Oakland Promise. “All we had to do was download the RingCentral app onto our phones and our laptops, and we were up and running with our business lines, wherever we were.”

“One of my favorite features of the RingCentral app is business texting,” Williams adds. “Our Brilliant Baby program hosts a couple of events each

month for families, and I like to send them text reminders of the upcoming events. I can bring up the app on my laptop, open a new text message for one of our participants, and copy and paste a standard reminder message from a file saved on my computer. It’s much easier sending these texts this way than having to do it on my phone. And with RingCentral, I can use my Oakland Promise business number to send and receive all of my texts, so I never have to give out my personal phone number.”

For a nonprofit, every dollar counts

“We’re a nonprofit, so we want to direct as much of our operating budget as we can to helping students and their families,” says Le’Ana Powell, Family Engagement Specialist for Oakland Promise’s Future Center, the

organization’s college access program. “Being able to have our personal phones double as our work phones when we’re in the field is a great way to help the organization save money.” 

Discovering more ways RingCentral can benefit the organization

“Oakland Promise signed up with RingCentral for reliable and mobile phone service,” Powell explains. “But we realized there’s a lot more to the solution than we knew we were getting, and we’re just now starting to see how RingCentral can benefit our organization.”

“For example, we loved that we were able to set up our own customized automated greetings so callers could easily get themselves connected to the right program or the right person. But we realize only later that RingCentral will also record those auto-greetings for us in multiple languages. That’s huge for us because we have a lot of families here in the Bay Area who speak other languages, such as Spanish and Chinese. Being able to greet those families with a phone greeting in their language is going to create a much better experience.”

“We’re also excited about RingCentral Meetings, which is also integrated into our plan,” says Williams. “We’ve always hosted our financial coaching workshops on site. Many of our families have to take public transportation—sometimes several different bus lines—to get to those workshops. With Meetings, we could start making some of these events online webinars, saving both these families and our own organization time and money. In fact, because we can record these webinars, we can then make them available online to even more families.”

“We’re very pleased with how RingCentral is already helping Oakland Promise’s operations, and we’re looking forward to rolling out even more of these useful communications services across our organization.”

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