With over 40 clients utilizing our Housing and Community Development software, I wanted to share some emerging best practices. These best practices are not only helping our clients improve customer service, but are also reducing their administrative costs.
- Reduce paper, printing and storage costs. Admit it, your department is overrun with paper and filing cabinets. Not only is it unsightly, but it is also costing your department money that could be allocated towards your community. Neighborly Software provides your stakeholders the ability to apply for sixteen different Housing and Community Development Programs online, including the ability to upload and store supporting documents. For those beneficiaries without reliable access to the internet, applications can always be taken by administrators. Don’t worry, if you ever feel nostalgic for paper, the software enables you to print an entire case file. However, what to do with all your extra filing cabinets is up to you.
- Automate the reporting process. How many excel spreadsheets does it take to create a CAPERs report? Unfortunately, reporting is not a joke (or laughing matter). If you are like most housing and community development organizations, you waste an inordinate amount of time combining data from multiple spreadsheets. Neighborly Software gives your department the ability to generate monthly reports and CAPERs data with a click of a mouse. The software also makes it easy to complete all of those “simple” ad-hoc data requests, like how many roof repairs did we complete in the last five years in District 3 where the head of household was female and the family ethnicity was Hispanic.
- Develop a lender network for your down payment assistance program. Most information collected during a first mortgage application is also required for housing and community development down payment assistance programs. Instead of forcing your beneficiaries to apply twice, enable the mortgage lender to apply on behalf of the beneficiary. Neighborly Software’s workflow guides lenders step by step through the application process and validates that all information is complete and all necessary supporting documents are uploaded. Lenders are happy to do the “extra work” as it keeps them in control of the process and cuts down on overall cycle time. For your staff it means no intake is required and no back and forth is necessary to track down missing information and documents.
- Enable self-service for sub-recipients. As much as your staff hates processing sub-recipient monthly reports and draw requests, I can assure you that your sub-recipients hate it even more. In a world where you can order and pay for products online, file your taxes electronically and check your bank account balances from your mobile phone, its not an unreasonable expectation for your sub-recipients to submit their monthly reports and draw requests online. Oh, and as a bonus, sub-recipients can’t submit their draw requests unless their reporting is up to date – make sure to pass that along to your compliance/audit department!
- Cross Train Your Staff. No, not CrossFit training- cross training. Regardless if your team is small or large, cross training your staff to handle the enrollment and administration of multiple programs (e.g. down payment, rehab, public services, etc) is a great way to maximize efficiency. When your employees can successfully switch responsibilities and be successful at each job, it makes it easier to coordinate and improve communication. Neighborly Software’s intuitive design and configurable workflow allows for staff members to easily understand and support multiple programs. Cross training your staff reduces the disruption associated with employee absences, turnover and promotions.