Life & Soul are a charity who provide 1:1 mentoring and small group workshops to young people in schools. They encourage and enable young people to embrace their uniqueness and learn to be confident in their own voice.
Based in Tunbridge Wells the charity works across 5 secondary schools as well as a number of primary schools in the area.
Trying to schedule and manage mentoring sessions across 5 schools with over 20 volunteer mentors and supporting 50 students was proving challenging.
Life & Soul’s current system involved using spreadsheets to track mentoring appointments. Each school had a new spreadsheet each week and each spreadsheet was sent to both the school and the volunteers for review and amendments. With different parties reviewing and editing spreadsheets this led to multiple versions of the same file existing and sometimes with conflicting information.
As with many charities, resources are limited and so the solution needed to be both cost effective and efficient. Life & Soul needed a single location for managing their schedule while ensuring that both volunteers and school users could have access to review and update in real time.
Having recently migrated Life & Soul to Microsoft 365 we utilised SharePoint to develop a solution. As SharePoint is included in their M365 licences, this meant that their ongoing costs didn’t increase once the development had taken place.
We created a central SharePoint site, accessible only by Life & Soul employees. This gave access to 5 further sites, one for each of the schools. These sites were customised with colours and logos to match their corresponding school.
Each site contained a calendar where mentoring appointments could be recorded and updated if necessary. The appointments are also visible as a list depending on the user’s preference.
Taking advantage of Microsoft’s non-profit licensing offers we were able to provide free Microsoft 365 Business Basic licences to all of the volunteers giving them access to the school sites.
The final piece of the puzzle was providing access to specific external users from each school to their new site. By restricting access to specific users this ensured that each site was secure and only those that needed access, had it.