Multi-disciplinary support builds resilience in the social impact sector

Following the pandemic, community support programs saw a surge in demand. In November 2020, the NSW Government established a $50 million Social Sector Transformation Fund (SSTF) to help small to medium-sized charities and not-for-profits adapt their operations and invest in new systems and technologies to continue to provide responsive services to their communities. 

The funding includes services that provide digital and information technology, legal advice, governance and strategy, evaluation and service delivery, and leadership and workforce development. The overall objective of the services is to assist small to medium not-for-profits to remain efficient, effective and viable.

As part of the SSTF funding, Infoxchange and the Social Impact Hub worked together over several months to support The Deli Women and Children Centre (The Deli).

Dedicated support for victim-survivors of family violence and abuse

The Deli provides high-quality therapeutic (counselling and case management) and family support services to women and children, particularly those impacted by domestic and family violence and abuse. The small but dedicated charity / not-for-profit based in the Bayside (Botany) and Randwick Local Government areas has been operating within the community since 1979. Focusing on the often long and slow journey of recovery from family violence and abuse, The Deli aims to help women and children live happy, healthy, safe and thriving lives connected with their families and communities. Traditionally the wide-ranging impacts of domestic abuse and trauma have not been well understood by the community and are difficult to fund.

Who helps the helpers? 

The Deli priorities its funding towards addressing its clients' needs and service delivery including 1-on-1 consultations, specialised programs, workshops/groups and parenting support. While experts in their field of domestic abuse and trauma management, they were not governance or technology experts. Using pen and paper for client records had become inefficient and difficult for generating data or reporting impact. Strengthened governance controls were also needed to support the organisation's planned growth. It was time to modernise their technology and management processes but gaining funding was a significant challenge and limiting factor.

"We knew we were falling behind in industry best practice, but we didn't have funding, resources to research or internal expertise to build the understanding." - Lauren Cui, The Deli Board Secretary

Complex services need more than a quick fix

Strong relationships between service providers and clients are essential when designing and implementing technology upgrades across an organisation. Support through the SSTF project began with Infoxchange conducting a long and thorough consultative process over several months, including the Digital Transformation Hub's Health Check. Building trust and working closely together allowed for an accurate review of the organisation's needs and appropriate design of long-term, bespoke solutions. 

"Infoxchange embedded themselves into the needs of the organisation to the point that they were suggesting what we were thinking but couldn't yet articulate." - Lauren Cui, The Deli Board Secretary

With Infoxchange's support, The Deli mapped its needs to streamline internal processes, make information collection of clients more straightforward and secure, achieve efficiencies and improve data capture for articulating its story and support for funding. 

"The SSTF is helping the sustainability of this organisation by allowing better insights into clients, moving us into a space where we can look at the data and demonstrate our impact. It is critical for us to understand client journey, trends, behaviour and trauma patterns. This allows for a greater level of impact in the communities in which we operate, and to identify potential partnerships and opportunities for increased sustainable funding." - Lauren Cui, The Deli Board Secretary

Client confidentially is critical for the safety of victim-survivors. Clients need to trust their support services can privately and securely hold their information before they can share their full story and receive the best support and treatment. Infoxchange supported The Deli in considering an appropriate client case management system and infrastructure migration to secure cloud storage. Moving to secure cloud storage and digital client notes, rather than a pen-and-paper system, allows the team to work more efficiently; meaning more time is available to support women and children.

"It's instilled a lot of confidence in the staff and the voluntary Board to move into this digital space. As a progressive organisation, driven to improve the lives of women and children affected by domestic violence and abuse, we need to remain confident in the security and knowledge, it is best practice and guided by experts. That aligns with our values and reputation as credible sector experts, who work with integrity.  It further supports the organisation remaining current, connected and strong." - Lauren Cui, The Deli Board Secretary

Stronger governance enables sustainable growth

To ensure the technological developments in the organisation were sustainable, the Social Impact Hub, worked alongside Infoxchange to strengthen governance controls and enhance operations. Mapping strategic objectives with governance and management controls identified a prioritised list of improvements to enable sustained growth and governance. Pulling everything into a "plan on the page" helped ensure the organisation's mission could remain focused while also enabling the systemic progress and technological upgrades made with Infoxchange. 

Resilient solutions: the importance of multi-disciplinary support

With both expertise in their respective fields and cross functional industry knowledge, the three parties worked collaboratively, sharing insights and harmonising ideas into robust solutions in alignment with The Deli's strategic direction. 

"The way Social Impact Hub and Infoxchange collaborated, greatly benefited us. Working together, they have amplified our voice. Everybody had their expertise and collaborated on issues, for example, considering both privacy protection, as well as industry compliance, would have been tough for us to do independently.- Lauren Cui, The Deli Board Secretary

Confidence in who they are and how to move forward

A robust community profile would support The Deli in gaining funding and building awareness of the impacts of family violence and abuse in the community. With the collaborative support and education from the Social Impact Hub and Infoxchange, The Deli team feel they can build their profile while maintaining their integrity. 

"We can't just put in a system and hope for the best. We needed the education, understanding, trust and awareness, to build the whole picture. The approaches by both Infoxchange and Social Impact Hub have built the trust and the credibility internally with our staff and the Board, such that we can steer The Deli forward and remain current in our system and practices." - Lauren Cui, The Deli Board Secretary