Keela Stories: How The Writers’ Exchange Tracks 44,000 Volunteer Hours

Tobi Nifesi • Jul 28, 2022
A blog header depicting a group of children playing with a skipping rope.

Using Keela, The Writers’ Exchange has successfully streamlined its volunteer management program, secured more monthly donations, and significantly improved its donor retention rate. 

Key Metrics

44,000

Volunteer Hours Tracked

56%

Donor Retention Rate after using Keela

How Keela Supports The Writers’ Exchange

1. Volunteer Management 

The Writers’ Exchange uses Keela Automation to streamline volunteer intake, communications, management, and reporting processes. 

2. Personalized Donor Communications 

The Writers’ Exchange uses Keela to segment contacts and send targeted, personalized, visually-appealing emails to donors.

3. Monthly, Recurring Donations

The Writers’ Exchange team leverages Keela Forms to attract and acquire monthly donors by encouraging them to give regularly and over a longer period. 

4. Donor Retention

The Writers’ Exchange team has retained more donors since they started using Keela.

A team member at The Writers' Exchange laughing with a young child

We realized we were spending a lot of time on repetitive tasks that could be better streamlined, specifically within the volunteer intake process. […] With Keela Automation, we now have an automated email workflow to engage people on our volunteer waitlist. We can strategically segment applicants and send automated emails for various reminders and paperwork status updates, freeing up time to personally support individuals and build relationships instead.

Elizabeth Ellis, Co-ordinator of Volunteer Engagement at The Writers’ Exchange.

The Challenge

Streamline Volunteer Management Strategy, Attract Monthly Donors and Retain More Donors

The Writers’ Exchange is a volunteer-run, Vancouver-based organization committed to helping under-resourced kids and youth realize their potential. They offer literary programs, educational resources, and mentorship support to help young people be more confident in reading and writing. 

Each year, over 200 kids participate in the nonprofit’s free creative literacy projects and individualized learning initiatives. The success of these projects, programs, and initiatives is due to the massive contributions of volunteers and the support of the organization’s generous donors.

Considering how essential volunteers are to The Writers’ Exchange, the nonprofit team needed the right tools to streamline their volunteer intake, management, and reporting process. They hoped to build more long-term relationships with their existing volunteers and donors by introducing a monthly giving program.

“The Writers’ Exchange has built a community full of supporters who share our passion for accessible literacy and make our work possible. These include people who contribute their time, skills, money, or food and supplies for programs. A challenge has been to keep the support we rely on going—and growing—so we can make all of the kids and youth’s fun ideas happen in programs.”

Solution and Results

Using Keela, The Writers’ Exchange simplified its volunteer acquisition, engagement, and tracking process while improving its donor retention rate to 56% (higher than the industry average of 36%)

As more volunteers signed up to contribute their time and skills to the Writers’ Exchange, the team turned to Keela’s nonprofit management software to get the support needed to scale their volunteer program and fundraising campaigns. 

Having a fundraising tool that could be used to manage donors, improve volunteer engagement, and track the performance of every program run by the organization would be an excellent way to streamline their operations and work more efficiently. 

One of the nonprofit’s board members introduced the team to Keela Automation, and soon after, they integrated this tool into their organization’s tech stack. 

With Keela Automation, the team can now create smart workflows that automatically track volunteer intake forms, segment volunteers based on their location, availability, and other preferences using custom fields and tags, and send timely emails to keep volunteers engaged and in the loop.

“We are thrilled to have many people who want to volunteer and provide literacy support to kids and youth. But we don’t always have room for everyone! With Keela Automation, we’ve automated the volunteer application process, making it easy for them to apply when it’s time. We can now send reminders, paperwork status updates, and orientation event announcements.”

A group Volunteers from The Writers' Exchange wearing costumes

Using Keela, the team at The Writers’ Exchange can track and report on more than 44,000 volunteer hours that have been contributed to the organization over the years. They can easily look back and see who had volunteered, when, and where they volunteered and visualize the impact of each contribution through a dashboard or presentation-ready report. 

Ellis notes that having an intuitive, time-saving system to record and report on their volunteer engagement has been particularly useful when submitting grant applications, sharing annual reports, or providing a volunteer with a reference for a job application. Most importantly, it helps the team learn how to keep growing the connection and relationships between volunteers and the kids and youths. 

The Writers’ Exchange team has also added 56 new monthly donors since they started Keela Forms, which gives donors an option to contribute monthly. This unique feature on Keela Forms is essential because it encourages donors who may be hesitant to contribute a small gift size to donate whatever they can right now and continue to do so regularly. 

For donors, selecting the monthly giving option on Keela Form is an opportunity to give a larger gift amount in smaller sizes over time. For The Writers’ Exchange, it is an opportunity to retain more donors over time—a goal that the team has successfully achieved with Keela.

Our annual donation retention rate is now at 56%. We use the filters in Keela to segment donors (i.e., current, monthly, lapsed) and send targeted campaigns. Keela’s Interactions feature helps us keep detailed records of these personalized connections as we build relationships and thank people for their generosity.”

Looking Ahead

The Writers’ Exchange will continue to explore Keela Automation to streamline its operations and internal communications. 

The Writers’ Exchange team plans to continue learning more about Keela Automation and its many benefits to better apply the tool to their work. They will leverage Keela’s Knowledge Base, Webinars, and library of educational resources to ensure they’re getting the most out of their Keela usage and staying up to date with trends in the sector.

You can learn more about The Writers’ Exchange’s impact here


Grow Your Nonprofit with Keela

Like The Writers’ Exchange team, you can start attracting monthly donors, deepening relationships with volunteers, and providing more value for your beneficiaries. 

Keela’s complete suite of nonprofit tools has all the templates, automation, smart codes, and donor insights you need to share your story, send targeted, personalize appeals, steward and retain donors and volunteers and track your success. 

Now’s the time to turn your routine nonprofit operations into meaningful outcomes and progress.