The Caring and Sharing Exchange Brings Holiday Cheer to Families in Need

Dec 14, 2015 4:00 AM ET

The holiday season is a tough time for families in need. With so many different traditions -- gift giving, decoration, celebrations and more -- this time of year can really take a toll on adults and children alike.

For this reason alone, there are hundreds of nonprofit organizations dedicated to social good in support of the holiday season. The Caring and Sharing Exchange is one. An Ottawa-based nonprofit, it was founded 100 years ago to provide assistance to families in need at Christmas. The organization has grown since then and now provides assistance over the holiday and back to school seasons. They also provide a coordination service for more than 200 local charitable organizations ensuring that needy families are aligned with the right organization and that all donations are dispersed fairly, eliminating duplicate service requests and ensuring that no one client is being helped by more than one organization while others go without.

The Caring and Sharing Exchange is changing lives every day with its efforts. But the coordination and execution required for a nonprofit to make an impact is not easy. It requires a strong team, resources, and software that simplifies business management, not complicate it. For The Caring and Sharing Exchange, this was no different. In order to focus on their social mission and continue to do good, they had to upgrade their existing siloed business management systems which were tying up valuable resources and manpower. Running their organization on a custom developed Access database and Excel spreadsheets, The Caring and Sharing Exchange confronted significant challenges with manual data entry, frustrating its nonprofit partners who couldn’t enter their data at all or found that previous entries were no longer in the system.

This all changed in 2012 when the organization received a software grant from and implementation assistance from SuiteVolunteers, a signature program that offers pro bono volunteer services from NetSuite employees to organizations receiving software donations, and moved its Partner Center database to NetSuite. Now, The Caring and Sharing Exchange runs a database of clients in need of service for more than 200 charitable organizations, plus reporting and fundraising on NetSuite.

As a result of its use of NetSuite, The Caring and Sharing Exchange has realized the following benefits:

  • Partner self-serviceWith NetSuite’s cloud-based system, partners can enter and track entries on their own and pull reports to see if a client has already received assistance, replacing a manual processes that required volunteers to enter data.
  • A central system of recordPreviously managed in separate systems, The Caring and Sharing Exchange now tracks donors, staff and volunteers in NetSuite, eliminating an estimated 1,000 hours a year on order entry and manually eliminating duplicate records. In 2014, The Caring and Sharing Exchange identified 2,712 duplicate service requests, saving an estimated $35,400.
  • Accurate reportingWith over 400 individuals from more than 200 organizations entering data, the reporting and analysis in NetSuite are now far more accurate and allowed the Caring and Sharing Exchange and their partners to focus on their core mission.
  • Minimized IT. A database supervisor who formerly spent half her time dealing with database issues is now free to focus on expanding programs and services.

The organization is now in the midst of moving its financial system from QuickBooks to NetSuite with the help of additional SuiteVolunteers, eliminating manual data entry and creating one system of record for the entire organization.

The Caring and Sharing Exchange is just one example of a nonprofit that has been able to take their social mission to the next level through adopting NetSuite. Learn more about how to get a software donations and NetSuite's corporate citizenship programs, at