Covid-19 has brought with it a whole new set of challenges for our city’s food banks & community kitchens. Even before the crisis they were struggling to keep up with demand. Now they face rapidly increasing numbers, dwindling resources and a new challenge – the need to go mobile.
The need to get out there and deliver means organisations need a way to collect personal data, to collate it to manage resources and their distribution, and to map it for delivery. Numbers of people in a household, allergies & intolerances, cultural, religious and social requirements and preferences all need to be recorded to ensure that people get the right type and amount of food. While drivers need to have realistic routes mapped for them to ensure their journeys are efficient.
Becoming an essential online delivery service pretty much overnight is an incredibly tall order which requires both skills and tools.
Luckily most organisations already have access to some familiar and free / low-cost tools that will help them unlock these problems: Microsoft Office 365 or Google Suite along with some free online mapping tools.
Here’s how we at Superhighways used what we already had to implement a fast and affordable solution to the challenge:
Collect personal data for delivery
Challenge: How to safely collect private contact information- name, address & tel number, vulnerabilities, food requirements from people?
Solution: Create a web form which requests their information either directly or via their referral organisation making sure that the form clearly states the purpose of collecting the information & how you intend to use it.
Tools: Microsoft Forms (included in Microsoft 365 Office suite), Google Forms (included in the Google suite)
Collate personal data for delivery
Challenge: How to ensure that the data collected can be used to distribute efficiently
Solution: Data from web forms can be sent directly to spreadsheets for sorting & grouping
Tools: Microsoft Excel (included in Microsoft 365 Office suite), Google Sheets (included in the Google suite)
Map delivery routes
Challenge: How to ensure delivery routes are quick & efficient
Solution: Data from spreadsheets can be imported directly into mapping software
Tools: Free entry level mapping software includes: Batch Geo and Google maps
For the skills side of things, Superhighways is already helping organisations with these kinds of challenges and we’re happy to help you too so please have a look at current bitesize online training sessions we're running, or get in touch with any challenges you’re facing.
I found it really helpful to talk to other people in similar positions to myself, having issues with collecting / analysing data in the charity sector
I'll be writing funding applications and will use what I learnt today to evidence the outcomes and impact
Helped me to think through and question what kind of data we collect, how we use it and how we could better use data to measure our impact
I am looking forward to presenting my data and findings in a clearer way, and making it more accessible and easier to comprehend for the rest of my team
We were given copies to take away of the days training which I found useful, as I could quickly go over what I had learnt whilst still fresh in my mind