Key Points of Value:
All of the Internet Evangelism ministry volunteers are now on the platform, servicing eight languages. The platform has also given them access to new data. Overall, they expect it to save them many hours of work. RoleModel Software’s craftsmanship and commitment to their work are instrumental in the project’s success.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world through every effective means. BGEA's Internet Evangelism ministry needed a solution that would help them manage the lifecycle of their 1500+ volunteers; from application and onboarding to training coordination and ongoing management processes. BGEA’s volunteer base also covers many nations and languages, so the solution needed to dynamically accommodate multiple languages.
BGEA needed the resulting software to be self-hosted in their data centers, not through cloud service providers. They used many different individual systems to make up their current platform which interacted in different ways. Some were fully custom while others were customized off-the-shelf solutions. The team needed to find out the best way to get each integration to work together within the new software.
The language hurdle also presented more of a challenge than just translating different labels within the application. BGEA volunteers are scattered across the world, including nations where the primary language is read right-to-left (e.g Arabic), which introduced the necessity for deep multilingual support and the ability for translations to be updated regularly.
Additionally, BGEA desired the ability to implement data analytics and reporting into their software. But they wanted to explore a more economical alternative to some of the well-known options.
RoleModel’s solution for BGEA started with building a “walking skeleton” that showed working software and helped BGEA understand how their goals could be met through further iterations.
BGEA’s unique “walking skeleton” consisted of a configurable application flow that pulled in data from one of their systems and provided admin definable automations to guide incoming potential volunteers through a series of different stages. The development team demonstrated the basic functionality live with the client by moving a mock volunteer through the flow.
From this effort, the development team established a roadmap for how the project would successfully be completed. RoleModel designers put together design mockups showing vision for the user experience. Altogether, this successful Explore phase helped BGEA understand the size and scope of the project a lot better, and they felt confident as they proceeded with the partnership into the development of their minimum viable product (MVP).
RoleModel’s team began developing the MVP for the Internet Evangelism ministry. BGEA’s existing system was not all housed on one platform, but instead employed a wide array of individual systems that would need to be seamlessly integrated within the new platform since they interacted together for BGEA’s operations. This effort was one of the most diverse integration stacks RoleModel has ever encountered. BGEA used separate systems for background checks, learning management, single sign on, interest forms, a user portal, and more. Each of these needed to be able to communicate seamlessly with the software since they all work together.
After some preliminary research, RoleModel employed an open source web interface that empowers robust internationalization by admins in the system. It allowed the team to provide a high-quality translation front-end which also left room for configuration after the fact.
RoleModel developers also researched the best alternatives for big-name expensive reporting solutions and integrated an open-source reporting engine which they were able to build into the app to generate custom reports. It was a great option for BGEA and quickly became one of the most leveraged parts of the system as new reporting needs could be addressed without development involvement.
Good results start with a happy customer, and that was the result of this project. The MVP was completed inside of the projected timeline and budget while delivering everything that was expected at the beginning of the process. BGEA’s product owner had this to say about the impact the new software has had on their workflow:
Based on the configurability of the automations and the reports within the platform, we estimate that the platform will save our team hundreds of man-hours per week. On top of that, the built-in customization of the platform will let us expand our work more quickly than what would have been previously possible.
BGEA's Internet Evangelism leadership and volunteers are able to manage nearly every aspect of their interaction with the ministry all from the comfort of their custom software platform. When asked about ways RoleModel could improve the process, BGEA’s product manager said: "No, there aren’t any. That’s because RoleModel is committed to continuous learning and improvement. Because of their retrospective practices, any areas of improvement we’ve seen throughout the project have been raised to the team’s awareness and improved upon quickly."
That’s what we like to hear. We‘re going to keep improving anyway, but it’s fulfilling to know that the work we’re doing is helping clients realize their goals by giving them the software and service they need through an effective, collaborative process.