Solutions

Feeding Families in Need

The Food Connection

The Food Connection is a non–profit organization that supplies supplemental groceries to families in need in Pierce County in the state of Washington. Serving between 150 and 200 families per day, The Food Connection gives many families the assistance they need to get back on their feet, as well as providing education in the areas of nutrition, gardening, canning and other money–saving practices.

Overview

  • The Food Connection provides groceries to as many as 200 needy families in Pierce County, Washington. To track information on those families — a task necessary in order for the Food Connection to receive local government funding — The Food Connection uses FileMaker Pro, a perfect fit for a non–profit with a large volunteer turnover rate.

Industry

  • Non–Profit
  • Food/Beverage

We chose to go with FileMaker Pro. It was the simplest package to learn, and with most of our workforce being volunteer, the turnover rate prohibited a steep learning curve.

— Susan Sackinger, The Food Connection

Business Challenge

Funding for The Food Connection is provided in part by the City of Tacoma as well as by a large number of private donors. In order to receive city funding, the organization must provide information on a number of different aspects of their operations. Susan Sackinger explains, 'We must collect information, such as the number of families that we provide assistance to, ages of the family members, areas in which they live and the number of first time visitors' in order to receive this funding.'

Recording this information can be quite tedious, especially if it is being done by hand. So when the first opportunity to automate this process appeared, the organization jumped on it.

Successful Solution

'We chose to go with FileMaker Pro. It was the simplest package to learn, and with most of our workforce being volunteer, the turnover rate prohibited a steep learning curve. A Macintosh was donated to us, which we lugged downstairs and back up again each day. We started putting our client base on the computer with an in–house solution we called DeskMaster. It immediately increased our productivity enough to dispense with the then two–day hiatus it took each week to organize our records.'

As FileMaker evolved, so too did the organization's use of it. 'With the current relational capabilities of FileMaker Pro, we have added a donor tracking package that we call VIP. We are now able to send personalized thank you letters to our more than 5,000 individual donors with just a click of a mouse. In addition, we also include donation information for tax purposes. The time savings over writing all these by hand has allowed us to even publish a newsletter.'

Such efficiencies have not gone unnoticed. 'The tools that were developed at the Food Connection have gone on to become integral parts of several other non–profit organizations.' These organizations include The Neighborhood Clinic, which is a free clinic for low–income households, St. Leo church, which provides household goods to families in need, and The Hospitality Kitchen, a hot meal site.

With the current relational capabilities of FileMaker Pro, we have added a donor tracking package that we call VIP. We are now able to send personalized thank you letters to our more than 5,000 individual donors with just a click of a mouse.

— Susan Sackinger, The Food Connection

Customer Benefits

As the tool of choice, FileMaker Pro has helped The Food Connection make a difference in the lives of the families of Pierce County, Washington.

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com