How Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs streamline thousands of funding applications and inquiries
Near the start of the pandemic, the Government of Canada announced the Indigenous Community Support Fund. This fund included $15 million for regional, urban and off-reserve Indigenous organizations.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) applied for funding and received $340,860 in May of 2020. This funding was committed to supporting First Nation citizens from Manitoba reserves that were living off-reserve in Winnipeg.
Flooded with inquiries
“News of the funding got out and AMC received an unprecedented number of calls and emails,” said Jared Baker, Program Manager at the Eagle Urban Transition Centre. “Citizens had many questions about the funding and wanted to apply.”
Baker began receiving approximately 200 emails per day. Phone calls to the AMC office increased daily until averaging 470 calls per day. Inquiries about the funding also flooded the AMC’s Facebook page.
Streamlining the process
The AMC team worked around the clock to build a process of taking calls, responding to emails, and implementing the application process. AMC staff worked with CommAlert to assist in streamlining the process.
“Through a mutual contact, we were able to get in touch with Tim Carwell at CommAlert to help us build a new process that could handle the volume we were experiencing,” said Baker.
“Within 48 hours, CommAlert had built us a system that solved the problem. The new system was able to handle the huge influx of inquiries and streamline the funding application process.”
CommAlert worked with AMC to integrate the communications technology between both organizations. They ensured that information collected on the server from applicants was secure.
CommAlert’s call centre operated 24-hours a day so agents could assist callers and applicants around the clock and handle greater volume without the limitations of an 8-hour workday. With the new process in place, citizens could access timely information and complete their funding applications quickly.
CommAlert collected data to determine common questions from callers and created a Frequently Asked Questions document that AMC shared online and via email. Access to this document helped decrease incoming calls and emails.
Supporting each other
“CommAlert was a great partner to bring on board. They come ready with solutions and set up a robust system quickly and efficiently,” said Baker. “They also were able to keep the costs low for the service so that more funding could go to our citizens who need it during these challenging times.”
The funding received through the Indigenous Community Supported Fund last spring was just the first of three installments. With the technology and process already in place, communications and applications went smoothly in round two and are currently going well in round three of the funding applications.
“If an opportunity comes up, AMC would happily recommend CommAlert. We know they can help with complex technical communications projects. They are fast yet accurate trouble-shooters and passionate about helping people.” We are grateful to be able to support each other,” said Baker.