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Automating a sign-up process making better use of volunteers' time
Sea Cadets wanted parents to be able to sign their children up to become a cadet in the comfort of their home rather than having to fill in page after page of questions with a volunteer. Concerned that they would lose valuable cash donations, we implemented a completely bespoke system that has not only allowed them to accept online applications, but has also allowed parents to donate at the time of signing up and declare gift aid, as well as create a custom accounts report that the finance team can use to track all donations.
The application process had been for many years 100% paper based with all questions and supporting documents being filled in, held and stored manually. The process was long and tedious meaning for every child being signed up a separate form had to be completed at the Sea Cadets unit site in the presence of the Unit Commander. Sea Cadets approached us asking to replicate the many pages of application questions online. We suggested designing a user friendly form that breaks up the questions into easily manageable chunks, and hiding all other chunks so the user isn't overwhelmed by the number of questions.
Work this project included
Our design team set off to come up with an accordion style form that expands and collapses so that a user only sees the questions pertaining to a specific section. The application form was broken down into 7 sections. By numbering each section the parent never had to wonder how far through the process they were, potentially losing patience and giving up.
With such a large amount of information required, it is inevitable that something will go wrong; internet outage, phone battery dies, the user has to pop out. In these situations, it doesn't matter, the form automatically saves the data already entered for a short period of time so that it can be continued where they left off. Sea Cadets were concerned that parents would not continue an application if something caused them to be required to re-enter information they'd already spent time entering.
“Aside from the printing cost, we've been able to save valuable time in getting parents to join Sea Cadets from their home, rather than coming to the unit and going through the form with volunteers at our 400 locations across the UK. With 7,000 children joining us each year we estimate we've saved around 7,000 volunteer hours which can now be put towards delivering the Sea Cadets experience.”
Ed Meens - Communications Manager
7000 volunteer hours saved each year
By digitalising we've been also able to ensure the highest standards of data safety and working with morphsites we've been able to add clever parameters on the inputting of data so over time we've been able to clean up our database and form a database we're able to rely on. - Ed Meens
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