A tech-focused solution for collaboration
DonorsChoose.org is a web-powered charity that lets teachers post classroom needs and donors select specific supplies and projects to fund. Since its founding in 2000, DonorsChoose.org has raised over $300 million for more than 560,000 projects and helped 14 million students.
DonorChoose.org's work includes project fulfilment, not merely cash pass-through, which involves coordinating with countless external partners. When teams noticed that their onsite servers and traditional file-sharing tools were slowing them down and draining resources, DonorsChoose.org decided to move to Box.
"Because the interaction between donors and teachers happens online, technology is at the foundation of what we do," says Oliver Hurst-Hiller, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product at DonorsChoose.org. "Given the amount of social impact we have, it's critical that we use the best tools to collaborate and connect."
Improved file sharing, access and retention
With Box, DonorsChoose.org has transformed the way that they collaborate and share content — both internally and with partners — allowing for easier donations and more giving.
DonorsChoose.org often needs to share high-resolution photos or videos to promote partnerships. Previously, the staff would distribute large files via email, sometimes several emails, to allow for a selection. With Box, DonorsChoose.org simply creates a shareable folder of assets with sponsors. This improvement has helped DonorsChoose.org better respond to existing corporate partners, as well as recruit new ones.
Additionally, before Box, most employees stored files on their local hard drives, rendering them inaccessible to others. With Box, all files are stored centrally and are accessible to everyone who needs them, improving collaboration and transparency.
"Being able to have a shared file system is very important. If a team member is travelling, on holiday or leaves the organisation, we want to have access to those files," says Chief Marketing Officer Katie Bisbee.
Reduction in resource-draining tasks
DonorsChoose.org has a product and engineering team — not an internal IT team. Before they implemented Box, technical staff were inevitably getting saddled with the care of their onsite servers and VPN, which is not part of their normal duties.
Within the first year of implementing Box, DonorsChoose.org have been able to retire their servers and VPN, saving on software, licensing and cooling costs, plus hundreds of hours of staff time spent maintaining hardware. In addition, they've found a secure tool that is simple for technical staff to implement and manage while easy for employees to adopt.
Connecting teams, teachers and students
Beyond content management, Box has also brought improved security to DonorChoose.org. Because users can set their own access permissions on files without requiring the help of IT, teams can securely share documents with the right stakeholders without worry. For example, the finance team can securely share monthly budgets to team managers, or the human resources team can move confidential files into Box.
"We truly have 100% adoption, and that's really when you unlock the power of Box," says Hurst-Hiller. "There's a network effect that comes from that."
In the end, the myriad of ways Box supports work at DonorsChoose.org empowers the organisation's mission, making the teachers and classrooms the real winners.