With Highfive, the United Way Is Putting More Time Into Serving Their Communities
"When I saw how easy it was to use Highfive, I was just blown away!"
- Kaira Lum, Volunteer Engagement and Signature Events Coordinator at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley
The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley serves the Greater Boston area, helping improve lives by mobilizing communities. But those communities are spread across the northeast, and travel is hampered by heavy traffic and long distances. As in-person meetings consumed more resources, time and workers, the United Way team wanted a modern conferencing solution that helped them be more productive and efficient. They also yearned for something better than their old speakerphone, which has been an impediment to communication and collaboration.
A member of the United Way team stumbled across Highfive’s Meeting Room Makeover contest, which gave organizations the opportunity to reimagine meetings by eliminating their tangled mess of complex hardware and software and replacing it with a complete Highfive Premium video conferencing solution.
Much to their delight, they won! The reward was Highfive’s Premium video conferencing solution, giving them the intelligent in-room video conferencing experience they’ve always dreamed of. Their new prize is now enabling the United Way team to get down to work instead of fighting with bad tech.
United Way is using Highfive’s Premium solution to eliminate travel and actively participate in remote meetings. Highfive is replacing in-person meetings with video collaboration because of the efficiency and real-time interactions made available through an immersive “like you’re there” audio and video experience. Ultimately, it’s given their team more time to focus on their work and support their mission.
Lowell, Beverly, Portsmouth and Attleboro, Massachusetts
Improved communications and collaboration; Connect a distributed workforce across Greater Boston area; Reduce travel expenses
Facing the challenges of working across a large region
“Out-of-date audio conferencing hardware made it difficult to feel like we had a productive meeting. You couldn’t see others, sometimes you couldn’t even hear them, and they couldn’t hear us even if we wanted to participate,” said Diane Dragoff, Senior Director of Organizational Operations.
The mission of the United Way is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good. In northeastern U.S., United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley serves the Greater Boston area. They’re headquartered in downtown Boston, supported by satellite offices around the region, and since their work is to literally bring people together, they’ve traditionally relied on in-person meetings. However, they’ve been relying on poor audio calls due to the region’s heavy traffic and their wide coverage area.
“Traffic is terrible in Boston,” said Diane Dragoff, the organization’s Senior Director of Organizational Operations. “Just the drive could be up to an hour and twenty minutes each way. We saved time by using voice-only conference calls, but then it was difficult to feel like you were part of the meeting.”
The entire team faced the typical issues with their old conferencing system: only the person closest to the phone was audible; you only hear answers and not the original question; someone forgets to mute so side conversations and background noise disrupt calls. Worse yet, there was no feeling of camaraderie and teamwork without the face-to-face interaction.
“We also do weekly video calls with our colleagues across the country, but we didn’t have video capability,” said Matt Hayden, Director of Corporate Relations. “We were just resigned to getting along with old or no technology. I even joined most calls from my mobile phone, but still knew I couldn’t participate because the audio quality was just so poor.”
Compounding the problem—and as with any nonprofit—funds are used to support their mission rather than modernizing offices. Therefore, most of the equipment they did have was donated, and a few generations behind. It left the team with antiquated systems and frustrating meeting experiences.
Modern technology that works the way you want
“When I saw how easy it was to use Highfive, I was just blown away,” said Kaira Lum, Volunteer Engagement and Signature Events Coordinator at United Way.
When a member of the United Way team stumbled across Highfive’s Meeting Room Makeover contest, she entered on a whim, thinking she’d never win. But since they were announced as the winner, it’s been a literal eye-opening experience. The contest provided the United Way with a year of Highfive Premium video conferencing service, along with a glass white board, two 65" 4K monitors, and a fantastic custom mural to spark more creativity in their newly reimagined meeting room.
“Highfive is really going to change the game of how we do all of our meetings. Using Highfive to see each other face to face and actually hear and participate with one another will help us be more collaborative and get more done so we can do even more for our communities,” said Megan Jansen, former marketing manager.
The Highfive Premium solution is so easy to use, it quickly became a part of the team’s day-to-day workflow.
“I recently had a meeting with a colleague working from home and a remote partner,” said Kaira Lum, Volunteer Engagement and Signature Events Coordinator at United Way. “When I saw how easy it was to use Highfive, I was just blown away. The voices were so clear from the awesome Highfive conference phone. We all understood what everyone was saying and we could just get to work.”
Highfive Premium was not just an upgrade from their old conferencing technology, it gave them the ability to do more and better work. By eliminating travel and the productivity drag of bad audio, the United Way team is finding ways to do more and do it faster.
Highfive makes it easier to do more
“We’re excited about the technology that Highfive brings to the table, because it enables us to have much more effective, efficient meetings where we’re sharing information and making decisions in real-time,” said Mark Lamothe, SVP of Marketing
As the team incorporated Highfive video conferencing into their daily efforts, opportunities to save time, work smarter and be more productive kept popping up.
“We’re excited about the technology that Highfive brings to the table, because it enables us to have much more effective, efficient meetings where we’re sharing information and making decisions in real-time,” said Mark Lamothe, SVP, Marketing. “Highfive is helping us reimagine our meetings and our approach to collaboration.”
Moving forward, United Way team is focused on their mission of improving lives across a large region. That’s where Highfive’s ease of use gets the technology out of the way so they can get to work. They’re even finding ways to use Highfive to support their mission and engage with their dispersed communities by turning every interaction into a face-to-face conversation.
“Having Highfive allows us to serve the community by just letting us do our jobs. It makes everything that much easier,” added Lum. “Everyone’s doing so much and wears so many hats. Being able to do our jobs better, faster, and with less hassle is huge. It’s amazing, and it’s a real gift.”