Embracing digital technology has become vital to any business. But even though many corporations have been using it in their sales or customer success departments, many still have a manual process when it comes to their corporate social responsibility activities. That was the case of three years ago before they met Optimy.
Getting to know the Alstom Foundation
The Alstom Foundation was created to improve the quality of life of communities that live close to where Alstom operates. This means that the foundation supports projects around the world that focus on raising living standards and have a sustainability dimension. Since its creation in 2007, the foundation has supported initiatives led by its employees. The projects are divided into four main pillars: Economic, social development & support; Environmental protection; Access to energy and water; and Access to mobility.
In order to choose the best partners for their CSR activities, every year, the Alstom Foundation selects the most original and attractive ideas that reflect its diversity characteristics. Projects such as the improvement of farm commodity transportation in Vietnam and the development of solar energy for a children’s village in Algeria have been chosen to receive funds in recent years.
Before using Optimy, the selection of projects was made mechanically by email and Excel files, with each NGO responding to a questionnaire and adding whatever information they judged relevant. That made the process of selecting the right partners complicated and time-consuming.
Since Alstom Foundation started using Optimy’s grant management software, any NGO that submits a request has a central repository with clear guidelines, which allows the foundation to collect consistent responses and extract summaries that will be used for further reports.
According to Alstom Foundation’s Secretary General, Barry Howe, moving into a digital platform to select partners for the foundation’s philanthropic activities has not only improved the process of choosing the best projects based on the correct information, but it has also increased the number of organizations submitting requests:
“The online submission tool has broadened the level of awareness, and we significantly increased the number of good projects submitted, they could easily find us and submit to us. Previously, by email, we received less than half of what we receive today.”
Besides being able to streamline the decision-making process of choosing partners, and having a data-driven selection, Barry Howe also points out that while using Optimy’s software the foundation also saved money: “Before, we had to hire an intern to support the process, but now with the Optimy tool there is no need to have someone working on it full time.”
He also highlights the fact that the software can be used in the whole cycle of corporate giving and mentions that the next step is to manage every phase of project’s implementation via Optimy’s platform. “We moved away from the old/traditional way of doing things, and we realized that doing things online can facilitate every part of the process, both for the Foundation and for our NGO partners.”
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