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UCAN: Going Paperless Project

UCAN, a Chicago-based nonprofit with 515 employees, strives to build strong youth and families through compassionate healing, education and empowerment. It achieves this mission through a comprehensive assortment of programs, including residential treatment, therapeutic day school, violence prevention, support of pregnant and parenting teens, counseling, foster care placement, and vocational training and internships. The programs are offered at fourteen sites in six counties, serving over 12,000 clients annually.

The purpose of this grant was to enable the organization to improve document workflow and reduce the organization’s paper consumption to save money. The project was successful and reduced paper consumption by 1.25 million sheets of paper year. An even bigger benefit was the reduction in operational inefficiencies uncovered by the project. By changing the way UCAN operates its document workflow, it was able to significantly reduce time spent on paperwork and reallocate that time to spend with clients.



Who did the grant help?

The cost of using paper and its management and storage are expensive, consuming not only funds but also time. UCAN had many redundant, paper-consuming tasks that existed within the organization. To more efficiently handle the numerous forms required, they decided to utilize electronic documentation. UCAN also wanted to improve data storage, implement cross-document indexing and allow automated population of similar data across forms. They did this by implementing a paperless PO system, utilizing software that indexed scanned documents for later retrieval and turning many of their previous paper forms into electronic documents.

What was the impact of the grant?

The amount of paper saved by this program translated into a decreased consumption of forest products equivalent to 42 trees annually. Today, UCAN’s paper consumption is approximately 100,000 sheets of paper per month less than it was in 2010. The total reduction in paper is over 1.25 million sheets of paper annually.

Even more than the reduction in paper and operating costs, going paperless made UCAN
take a closer look at its operations. The findings allowed them to increase their operational
and management efficiencies, freeing up their staff to have more time with their clients.
Read the full report on Going Paperless.

"They have a clear understanding of how nonprofits work, from a business perspective."