The National Guard is a group of citizen-soldiers who live civilian lives but serve alongside authorities and active military in times of need. National Guard organizations exist in all 50 U.S. states and the territories of Guam, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The Military Family Support Branch (MFSB) of the Georgia National Guard supports Service Members, Families, and Veterans through community, state, and federal programs. A crucial part of providing these services is the ability to collect and manage comprehensive, accurate data. This is easily done with Formstack, according to two MFSB team members: Marketing and Social Media Manager Leslie Head and Work for Warriors Georgia Employment Director Lacy Turner.
The Military Family Support Branch of the Georgia National Guard managed data through paper forms and physical binders for a long time. Eventually, they started digitizing their forms using Adobe FormsCentral. But in 2015, Adobe retired its form builder and left the MFSB searching for a new solution for online forms.
The MFSB knew they needed a data collection system that was easy to use and didn’t require a lot of time to create forms and track data. They also knew they needed a tool with strong data security features.
“Security was probably the biggest factor we considered because we want to be really careful with the information we’re collecting,” Head said.
After some research and a discussion with a Formstack support rep, Head and Turner decided Formstack was a great alternative to Adobe FormsCentral.
The MFSB now uses Formstack to collect data digitally and send it to one central online location. This branch of the Georgia National Guard supports 14,000 Service Members, along with their Spouses and Children, so the speed and efficiency Formstack provides are key.
Some of the ways the Military Family Support Branch uses Formstack include:
The Formstack features and functionalities that are most useful for the MFSB include:
“Formstack saves a lot of time, and it helps us gather more accurate information. Also, we can access the data more easily, and it’s secure,” Head said. “It’s been especially helpful with budget restraints over the last few years—where you would normally have more people doing different jobs, we had fewer. So the time savings with Formstack is great, and being able to share the data immediately is wonderful.”
Formstack has saved the Military Family Support Branch of the Georgia National Guard a significant amount of time on data collection. So far, 5,000 submissions have been collected on the general data record form, and hundreds of employment requests have been processed.
“Formstack gives us quicker turnaround time on data collection and allows us to get exactly what we need,” Turner said. “We use required fields, so when data is collected, we aren’t missing information—it’s all right there in the database, or we can download it to an Excel spreadsheet or PDF.”
Additionally, Formstack helps the MFSB manage its dispersed group of Service Members. Links to the online forms are easy to distribute via email, unit newsletters and closed Facebook groups in which Service Members participate.
“Formstack is so helpful because its dynamic online forms help us reach and support our geographically dispersed Service Members.”