Success Stories: LIFT

LIFT logo: liftcommunities.org

LIFT – A Growing Organization

LIFT (CHC) operates resource centers in six U.S. cities where members of the community can get help, and has served over 100,000 members across the United States. It was founded in 1998, and in its first twelve years saw steady growth. This accelerated with the implementation of ambitious growth plans starting in 2010. Leaders at LIFT knew they would need to develop capabilities across many functional areas to achieve their growth goals.

The Challenge – New IT Capabilities Were Needed
Information systems were one area that was not keeping up with LIFT’s growth. They were growing their offices in existing locations and expanding into new cities including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, and DC. LIFT needed new IT capabilities to support its expanding operations, but neither had nor wanted to build out an IT department with these capabilities. They didn’t know what questions to ask about systems, and didn’t know what was possible in some cases.

The Solution – Strategic IT Planning and Implementation by Community IT
LIFT decided it could not just “get by” with a break/fix approach to IT, but required more strategic technology capabilities. So LIFT engaged Community IT as its technology partner to help assess and implement IT systems including everything from cloud-based email and file sharing to case management. Various Community IT subject matter experts led different projects, including selection, testing, implementation, and support. Each project helped LIFT to explore what was possible and what was most important, which solution best fit their needs in each functional area, and what it would take to implement including everything from cost to change management. Community IT helped LIFT to hire an Information Systems Manager after implementation of its case management system.

Results – Greater Impact, Supported in Part by Effective IT
LIFT’s impact has grown steadily since that time, with the number of clients served increasing 22% to 42% each year, and improved results for those clients including more homes, jobs, and money secured. Effective IT systems were a small but vital part of supporting this increased impact.

Elizabeth Farley, Director of Operations and Administration and primary point of contact for much of the engagement, says she most appreciated Community IT’s strategic guidance, proactive approach, and working with a team with great depth and varied expertise. She also appreciates how Community IT helped them to save money by reducing hardware costs.

Community IT continues to work alongside LIFT’s IS Manager to support LIFT’s fantastic, high impact work.
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