How Better Food Bank Intake Drives Efficiency

The user experience is a crucial consideration for food banks to continue providing safe, efficient support to their communities.

Key Takeaways

  • 55% more people have been depending on food banks since the pandemic began
  • Customer intake has shifted to be safer and faster
  • SMS texting helps food banks improve their approach
  • A great intake strategy helps food banks become more efficient overall
  • Mobilize offers a comprehensive platform to help food banks improve client intake and communication

Your food bank’s top priority is serving your customers. Doing so effectively requires continuous updating and revisiting of your intake strategy to meet their needs, whatever they may look like in the current moment.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced nonprofit organizations of all kinds to reevaluate their safety procedures and find ways to reach their constituencies while working within safety guidelines. For food banks, these restrictions and precautions forced a shift in their client intake and distribution processes. It required both creativity and technology to find a new way to serve those in need.

Feeding America data shows that food banks are serving 55% more people now than before the pandemic, so it’s crucial that they continue to adapt to meet growing demand.

Here’s how your food bank intake process can drive efficiency and how technologies like SMS texting helps you keep supporting those in need of your services.


Food bank customer intake

Before the pandemic, your food bank may have depended on very different methods to gather customer information and distribute food, like in-person interviews or simply assisting people who showed up in person looking for food.

COVID-19 changed these intake processes, and parts of those changes will probably stick around for the long haul. Food banks now must learn to integrate new digital workflows, so their volunteers, food distributors, and community members are all kept safe, but communication still flows effectively. This level of safe communication requires a new dependence on cloud-based platforms and utilizing a more accessible format for interactions, like SMS texting.


How SMS texting helps food banks

There are a few key ways that SMS texting helps food banks improve efficiency, especially when the customer intake process must happen at social distance:

  • Interactions are kept safer with digital tools helping the people involved avoid close contact. The customer intake process can be completed entirely digitally, allowing customers to apply from anywhere and not requiring them to visit the food bank.
  • Food banks can distribute text surveys to the masses in mere moments, gathering information about their communities in a fast and easy way.
  • Easier communication with community members via mobile means greater awareness of their needs.
  • Food banks can send relevant information to community members consistently through text.

Using SMS texting, food banks experience these benefits but also improve their workflows. For example, a food bank lets its community know that they can text the keyword “INTAKE” to their dedicated toll-free number to be sent a link to an intake form. They then provide all their information on the form and food bank workers receive it in moments.

Food banks can implement other keywords to activate other text triggers. For example, someone can text “FOOD” to the toll-free number and automatically receive links to view news, eligibility requirements, and hours.


How better intake creates a more efficient organization

Client intake can be a major undertaking for small nonprofit organizations. Sometimes it can feel like there are plenty of people who need help but no way to get in touch with those who need your services most.

When the intake process focuses more on the user experience, customers will not only be able to get the help they need, but they’ll be more satisfied with the process. They will be more engaged with your organization. And being able to streamline intake workflows allows you to focus on other tasks that are crucial to keeping the food bank running.

Another way a better client intake process helps your organization is by leveraging customer data. Food banks often use several different tools to collect data from their communities, but they may not have an effective system in place to analyze this data or make sure there’s not a lot of data redundancy.

Integrating the right intake solution helps you gather data more efficiently and view this data in a format you can understand. This helps you get to know your audiences better, track engagement metrics, and make decisions based on facts. Your messages will be more relevant to your communities when you understand them better.

Instead of taking a lot of time setting up mobile surveys, a centralized solution will speed up customer intake and help make your organization more efficient overall. Mobilize offers that solution, so you can continue to carry out your food bank’s mission.


How Mobilize empowers food banks

Mobilize helps food banks stay in touch with their clients and provide the best support during the pandemic and beyond. Our platform helps organizations make it easier than ever to communicate with constituents and partners over SMS texting, streamlining the data collection and analysis processes.

Food banks can send out text updates to large audiences in seconds, keeping their communities aware of new initiatives. They can also use the tool to stay in touch with volunteers for better day-of coordination.

Send out mobile surveys, integrate keywords, and make the intake process simpler for clients. Contact us to learn more about how Mobilize is helping food banks streamline the client intake process and improving organization efficiency and the user experience.