Lightening an NPO Manager’s Workload Thanks to Digital Technology

Lightening an NPO Manager’s Workload Thanks to Digital Technology
Many NPO managers dream of reducing their administrative load and making work easier for their volunteers. The team of volunteers at Choeurs sans frontières uses Yapla to manage its organization. They are the perfect example of an organization that’s lightening their members’ workload significantly thanks to digital technology. Happy reading!

 

Solène: Hi Alain! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. Why don’t you start by telling us about your NPO and your role.
 

Alain:​ Nice to be here, Solène! My name is Alain Lanctôt, president of the board of directors for the Quebec-based organization Chœurs sans frontières. Since 2006, our mission has been to develop and promote francophone choral music, specifically modern harmonized choral music. At our organization, we are all volunteers. Our members come from all over Quebec, other Canadian provinces and even France. We have more than 1,200 individuals registered in our Yapla database. The number of members changes a bit each year, but we always have a database of at least 600 people.
 

Solène:​ How active is your organization throughout the year?
 

Alain​: We offer a number of events. First, during the third week in January, we normally organize a conference with fifty or so choir directors where we hold workshops, discussions, and so on. ​Every year, we also organize a large weekend choral event​ that attracts between 450 and 525 participants. Choir directors and our participants arrive on Saturday morning and we work on a new repertoire together with new harmonizations. Monday morning, we record everything on a souvenir CD.
 

Solène: ​What a great way to build strong relationships with your members!
 

Alain​: You’re right, we have a great time together and I really enjoy it. The sheet music is then published through our publishing house, who also distributes it. We sign agreements with publishers and songwriters to sell their material and pay royalties to them on the production as a whole.
 

Solène: ​This is a pretty restrictive time for the events sector. How have you organized yourselves internally as a result?
 

Alain​: It’s unfortunately true that the pandemic has directly impacted our events. That’s why, in March 2020, all of our events were virtual. The advantage to virtual events is that it doesn't matter how far away you are, we can host directors from western Canada, France, and even further away.
 

Solène: ​That leads right into my next question. In your opinion, does digital technology lighten your workload, or not?
 

Alain​: Yes, it does, especially when it comes to communications. Yapla manages and automates everything. We regularly send newsletters to our contacts using the​ Yapla Newsletters​ application. We also have a digital version of our liaison newsletter now, which we send out four times a year.
The same goes for the sheet music that we sell to our members. Our members can place their order via Yapla and we send them a PDF automatically. It does take a bit of time to get it all set up but, since we've been using Yapla, we haven’t had to send out anything in paper form. So in addition to alleviating our impact on the environment, Yapla also takes a big weight off our shoulders by reducing our workload!
 

Solène: ​Well done! How did Yapla become your go-to management platform?
 

Alain​: I found out about Yapla from Charles Decroix, who is the former general director of the ​Alliance Chorale du Québec [Quebec’s alliance for choral music]. I was looking for a platform to re-build our website. Charles was very familiar and happy with Yapla. I took a quick look at it, got in touch with you, and we’ve been using Yapla for four years already!
 

Solène: We're very happy to have you as one of our users. Based on your experience, does Yapla adapt to your NPO’s needs?
 

Alain​: Absolutely. The way we configured our Yapla account is unusual because we have very specific needs. Two of us manage our Yapla account, the other person being a member of our board of directors. We divided up the tasks: she manages registrations, dues, and the like, and I handle the newsletters, for example. We also get a lot of support from your client success team. When we request it, the team organizes meetings and trainings. We also know that we can call on your technical support team at any time, which is extremely helpful. It's the cherry on top! Based on our questions, the team makes improvements to the platform to make it better meet our needs.
 

"It’s the cherry on top! Based on our questions, the team makes improvements to the platform to make it better meet our needs."
 

Solène​: That’s a priority for us: to provide a flexible tool that can be adapted to all types of organizations. What’s your next step with respect to how you use the platform?
 

Alain: We already use many of Yapla’s applications, including the ​newsletters​, ​database​, ​memberships, ​events​, and ​website applications. Now we’d really like to leverage all of Yapla’s advanced functions, specifically for accounting. We don’t have the budget for it right now, especially this year given the current context, with less funds coming in.
But I was talking with one of my colleagues recently about developing a new member category to be more precise in how we manage the organization and our database. That will also allow us to customize our communications even more by integrating the addition of documents intended for specific people.
 

Solène: ​I can only encourage you to continue to move toward fully digital operations. What does your organization have planned for the near future?
 

Alain​: We would like to develop an online training program for music theory courses, sessions on copyright, or trainings for the directors of different organizations. The digital format is a great alternative in the context of a pandemic. It meant that people from as far away as Montreal could get involved.
 

Solène: Thank you for telling us about your experience with Yapla, Alain! Our whole team is here for you to ensure that your initiatives are a success. Let us know how things are going! Any last words?
 

Alain​: We are very happy we are using a platform that was developed in Canada. Plus, the platform is priced very reasonably... Thanks Yapla!

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