Working with remote volunteer teams comes with its challenges particularly when information around the volunteers daily activities needs to be gathered, reported on, and shared with the donor community to help maintain funding support.
Dawn Peacock is the Director of Programs at ACTAsia, a non profit organization who, through education, promote compassion for animals, kindness towards people and respect for the environment in China and throughout Asia.
One of the programs Dawn oversees, from her office in the United Kingdom, is a veterinary training project in China. ACTAsia partners with Vets for Compassion (VFC), as the experts who provide the high standard of animal welfare and best practice training, to ensure vets are properly assessed before they begin work with ACTAsia to deliver and share theory and practical training.
We want to inspire and empower as many vets as possible in China to support each other and have access to the newest practices, the latest techniques and the underpinning knowledge to improve the care of animals within their practice.Dawn Peacock, Director of Programmes - ACTAsia
Dawn and her team, Dong Jie Tan, Project Lead for Veterinary Training, Dr Rebecca Weight, VFC, and Dr Yin who is the leader of the vets network on the ground in China, help to deliver and share theory and practical training around veterinary practices.
The program aims to create an ever expanding network of trusted vets who spread best practice when it comes to animal wellbeing and protection.
Where the job gets tricky
Apart from the obvious timezone difference there are a number of other challenges that hinder Dawn and her team with maintaining peak program performance.
A few of these challenges include:
- Gathering information from the vets is labor intensive and time consuming
- Old methods for collating information lead to lost data and gaps in the story
- There is a time lapse with the progress reports that are issued to donors
- The ability to maintain team relations and expand the network is reduced
Team connection and data reliability are the key problem areas. In the past ACTAsia have used a combination of approaches including WeChat discussions and sending one vet around to all the vets to get details on how many animals they had sterilised. These band aid fixes are not scalable and can reduce the chances of long term success.
Bridging the geographical gap
ACTAsia have a number of touchpoints with their remote teams, including emails, phone calls and social media. Task is helping to consolidate those channels into a single project on the app whilst allowing easy capture of the mission data - simplifying the communication process, saving time, and ensuring that the management of the program is more efficient.
Task has given ACTAsia the possibility to grow the project and to have the project seen. Before Task the work would have happened but the modest group would not be able to show what they are doing and the reach they have in China.
We would not be able to expand the network; Task has given us the tool to be able to manage a larger network and increase the potential reach whilst maintaining the quality of work. Dong Jie Tan, Project Lead for Veterinary Training
The Task mobile app onboards Dawn’s volunteer team (in their local dialect) and lets them track activities with ease. Dawn is then able to view their progress in real time and she has the option to provide the team with points and rewards to incentivise success.
The real-time updates Dawn receives are also shared with the donors who can check how their money is being spent. And with reports generated on the fly for management and Dawn's social media channels updated while she sleeps, her job is made easier and she has more time to focus on growing the program.
ACTAsia and the future
ACTAsia’s mission is to create a network effect with the work they are doing - expanding the program with more vets and increased community engagement whilst retaining the quality. At Task we’re working closely with the teams at ACTAsia to release developments that will suport their mission.
Veterinarians should be able to be called upon in these moments of challenge that the world faces to find and offer solutions through a One Health approach.Dr Rebecca Weight, Vets for Compassion
As Dawn connects with the existing teams and recruits new volunteer vets, there’s also a path to transform vets into animal welfare ambassadors for the work ACTAsia does - To speak at forums and help spread the word, to extend the network and share best practice with other vets.
The goal for ACTAsia is for veterinarians to be recognised as the trusted voice within the Chinese community on animal welfare and raise the professional standards within the veterinary community. The Task team is excited to be part of the journey by providing technology that supports Dawn and ACTAsia as they grow.
Stay up to date with the latest from ACTAsia by visiting their Task profile at: https://task.io/actasia