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Calgary flood aid group uses SugarCRM to link volunteers with victims
Brian F. Singh describes how a flood relief group of volunteers used SugarCRM to assist in mobilizing and managing volunteers following Calgary's record-setting flood disaster.
Calgary-based data science agency zinc tank has posted a recent presentation by zinc tank president Brian F. Singh, which describes how a flood relief group of volunteers used SugarCRM, a data management platform, to assist in mobilizing and managing volunteers following Calgary’s record-setting flood disaster.



“Right from the start there was an incredible turnout of volunteers,” says Singh, who founded the project. “We had one thousand people registered within the first few hours. Without configuring and automating the processes involved, we could never have kept up with the demand, either on the supply side or the demand side.”

The project began in the wee hours of Friday, June 21st, as the flood was still approaching the city, when Singh published a simple Facebook page called Calgary Clean Up and invited volunteers. Next came a dedicated Twitter account, then a makeshift website (and a new name for the project: YYCHelps).

By Sunday afternoon, the project’s web traffic had far exceeded the platforms’ bandwidth limits/capacity. Convinced that SugarCRM could meet most if not all of the volunteer group’s logistical and administrative requirements. Singh elicited the help of Derek Major, president of Calgary-based Eligeo, western Canada’s largest CRM solution provider. Singh and Major, along with two other team members (fellow entrepreneurs Wendy Peters and Craig Dunn), spent the rest of the day mapping out the details. By Monday, the CRM was up and running – just as Calgarians began showing up en masse (notably for a huge rally at McMahon Stadium) – and YYCHelps was ready to swing into action. Highlights of its performance over the next four weeks include the following:

• 13,700 volunteers registered on the volunteer database;
• 3,657 volunteers participated in specific projects;
• 105 volunteer projects were supported; projects were defined as those involving 10 or more people; this number excludes dozens of smaller, one-off projects that were not registered as such in the system;

YYCHelps continues to collaborate with public and private organizations on a range of projects. In addition the team is developing its unique SugarCRM application to serve as a crowdfunding/crowdsourcing model to be used by other relief- and volunteer-based projects and by non-profit and community-based organizations. “SugarCRM and other data resources are commonly used in the business world but, as we’ve shown with YYCHelps, they can also play a huge role in the volunteer sector, where the logistics, especially in a disaster context, can be far more challenging.”
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To view the zinc tank case study on Calgary Clean Up, click here.

For more information, contact Brian F. Singh.