Growing Non-Profit Streamlines Tasks with GQueues and Google Apps
Teen Challenge International is a non-profit that seeks to provide youth, adults and families with an effective and comprehensive Christian faith-based solution to life-controlling drug and alcohol problems in order to become productive members of society. Since its first center opened in New York in 1960, Teen Challenge has grown to over 170 residential centers in 48 states and nearly 250 centers in 80 countries. Teen Challenge Southeast, headquartered in Columbus, Georgia, is the largest US region within the organization managing 350 employees across 21 centers in 5 states.
As a growing non-profit with residential centers opening across the region, Teen Challenge Southeast faced the inherent challenges of managing a decentralized organization on a limited budget. Initially running a Microsoft Exchange server on-site in their Columbus, Georgia headquarters without a full-time IT administrator, secure and reliable email was never a guarantee. In 2010 Teen Challenge switched to Google Apps and they haven't looked back since. In addition to Google Apps Mail and Calendar, Teen Challenge relies heavily on Google Drive to collaborate with employees in the field, and they recently started using Google Hangouts on Air to conduct webinars and online training events.
In 2012 Deric Cain was hired as Teen Challenge's first full-time IT Manager and was inundated with projects and tasks from the organization that finally had a chance of being addressed. His existing system of tracking everything on paper lists was inefficient and disorganized, though. Tasks were susceptible to falling through the cracks since he didn't always have his notepad with him and had to rely on remembering what people said when they caught him in the hall. Cain quickly started looking for a tool to help, and ended up choosing GQueues because of its ease of use and deep integration with Google Apps.
Tracking Everything with GQueues
Cain now relies heavily on GQueues' integration with Google Calendar to track task deadlines, and the reminders feature helps him keep everything on schedule. He also manages the more mundane, but important repeating tasks in GQueues, but the feature he finds most valuable is the GQueues Android app. "Now when I get stopped in the hall and someone asks, 'Hey can you do this?' I enter it directly in GQueues on my phone, right then," explained Cain. "And people know if it goes into GQueues then it's going to get done." Besides being more organized and more productive, he feels less stressed and no longer worries about having to remember everything. "Now GQueues is an integral part of really everything I do."
Helping Others Get Organized
Cain's success using GQueues began to spread throughout the organization. When the Corporate Training Team was looking for a better way to plan events they heeded team-member Cain's suggestion and adopted GQueues. "We needed a way to streamline the process and stop digging through emails," he noted. With team members working remotely it was even more critical that everyone stay on the same page. "Whenever we plan an event now, we create actionable tasks in GQueues that are assigned to the correct person." Collaborating on task lists and assigning work to specific people is simple with GQueues' integration with Google Contacts. The increased efficiency and productivity has been noticed by other groups within Teen Challenge as well. Recently the Southeast region's president began using GQueues with his senior management team, and Global Teen Challenge is now collaborating with GQueues too.