Formstack Blog

Nonprofit Discovers Benefits of Cloud Computing

This guest post is by Elise Vestal, an employee with Indianapolis’ PEERS Project and an attendee of our Build Indy “Collect, Engage, Grow” Half-Day Conference. 

The Peers Project (PEERS) currently serves 25 school districts across Indiana, but our home base in right here in Indy at 14th and Meridian.  PEERS is committed to helping youth at Lutherwood Foster Care facility, Center for Leadership Development, IPS Alternative Schools and Stopover Homeless Shelter for Teens.

The PEERS Project prides itself in doing this by creating a positive influence network for teens who teach their peers how to make healthy lifestyle choices. Just like in the business world, adolescents need to have positive peer support systems, such as The PEERS Project, to avoid risky behaviors. Youth are highly influenced by a desire to please their friends, to be part of the “in crowd.” It is much easier for young people to choose to avoid risky behaviors if their friends share these values. We utilize a volunteer support system to reach our goals.

Much-Needed Cloud Education 
We were excited to attend the recent Build Indy “Collect, Engage, and Grow” event, but it wasn’t until the Build Indy event that I realized PEERS could benefit from cloud computing software and how much we need it to grow, collect and engage our volunteers. Formstack has made it a priority to help nonprofits and partner with us to serve the community through a reduced rate for organizations, like PEERS, that help thousands of youth with a very small budget.

PEERS can benefit from online applications to collect and store our data. Through this meeting, I learned how easy and efficient it would be to save PEERS data on an Internet-based storage network, allowing us to have access to the information about our students and their families any time and from any device with an Internet connection.

Cloud Growth for Nonprofits 
The PEERS Project has worked with over half a million youth across Indiana since 1994, so you can imagine how much data we have collected over the years. One problem that PEERS has encountered in the past that cloud computing software would eliminate is the reality of losing data, students forgetting to turn in their applications and individuals around the state having to mail in all of their data on hard copies to us here in Indianapolis. As a nonprofit, we continually find ourselves having to be as efficient as possible because of lack of funds and staffing. Non-profits must find every way to get the most bang for their buck while also making the biggest impact on their community, and cloud computing will assist in this process.

We are always looking for new ways to connect with the community and spread our message. At the “Collect, Engage, and Grow” Half-Day Conference, we learned valuable information and made great connections with the other nonprofits and businesses that attended.  As a bonus, we have been looking for an easier way to manage our contact list and to collect form data from all of our locations. We were excited to learn about Formstack (and even happier it’s based right here in Indy).

Want to know more about the ways we have benefitted from cloud computing software (or more  about our nonprofit in general)? Let us know in the comments below!

This post is part of the Build Indy blog series. Between February 20 and May 16, Formstack will be providing Indianapolis small businesses and nonprofits with resources and education about cloud computing solutions. Join us as we give a $5,000 grant to an Indianapolis company. For more information, visit formstack.com/buildindy.