Literacy is more than knowing how to read. That’s the message the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas is spreading to community members and the focus of their work with over 2,000 clients last year.
As Aunt Bertha launches our Provider Package, making new features and how-to content available to providers who have claimed their listings, we bring you The Provider Spotlight Series--a group of blog postings aimed at showcasing the remarkable work a variety of providers are doing in their communities and the ways in which they are using Aunt Bertha to help them.
We spoke with the Ashlee Kraus, Social Services Coordinator at the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas about how the organization is embracing digital outreach as a way to better serve their clients and reach their target audience, managing referrals through Aunt Bertha's Connect feature, and continually finding new ways to engage their community after claiming their listing.
AB: In a few sentences, what is the mission of your organization and what kinds of services do you offer to advance your mission?
LCCT: In today’s world, literacy is about using printed and written information to function in society, achieve one’s goals, and develop one’s knowledge and potential. At the Literacy Coalition we believe everyone should have the skills they need to reach their full potential. Our mission is to improve the quality and increase the availability of literacy services to Central Texas, with a vision of a community that is 100% literate, employable and engaged.
AB: How do people learn about your programs?
LCCT: The most common ways that people learn about our programs are through search engines and our website. We also attend many informational fairs throughout the year, and see a great response through word of mouth from our former participants.
AB: What challenges have you faced in the past in finding people for your programs?
LCCT: Our greatest challenge is having the platforms to make sure that all of the relevant information about our program is out there. Our High School Equivalency (GED) and Adult Basic Education programs are very intensive and require a potential student to dedicate a lot of time and energy. Our program is designed so students can work at their own pace, so it’s important that our messaging is clear and we are proving that we are in it to support students for as long as it takes them to accomplish their goals.
AB: How does Aunt Bertha work as a tool to help you find and connect with people interested in your programs?
LCCT: Aunt Bertha gives us a user friendly and practical place to advertise our free services. It’s also a great platform for allowing people to get in contact with us, and posting all of the most current and relevant information about our programs. Aunt Bertha helps us find out more about the prospective client’s needs and determine if they are a good fit for our programs.
AB: Have you seen a change over time in the number of people reaching out to learn more about your services online?
LCCT: Yes! Since we’ve had the option to move to online platforms, we have seen a great increase in the number of digital inquiries we get. We have an inquiry form on our website that allows potential clients to request information about the many programs we offer and gives them options for language preferences as well as when and how they would like to be contacted.
AB: Are there any other ways you use or plan to use Aunt Bertha in your work?
LCCT: So far, we’ve been using Aunt Bertha as a tool to direct potential new students to our program, but in recent months we have really seen how it can be useful in helping connect clients with other resources in the community. We have been able to pass out postcards and general information that has allowed students to navigate the website on their own and inquire about resources available to them. We are excited to start using the team sharing feature so that the social workers and instructors can have a go-to, trusted list of resources for clients.
AB: What are some of your reflections about social service access and referrals, and how does the Literacy Coalition fit into that space?
LCCT: Many times, when our clients need help they are in a very vulnerable state. Their odds can seem insurmountable and they don’t know where to start. At Literacy Coalition, we truly believe that literacy is about more than just knowing how to read and write. It’s about having the tools and skills one needs to navigate life, and confidently using those skills to achieve their goals. The team at The Learning Center is dedicated to making sure that every potential client that passes through our doors has access to high quality services, even if they are services that we cannot provide. Aunt Bertha gives us an amazing tool to help everyone navigate the social services landscape, and get them on the way to being their best selves.
Are you a direct service provider in your community or know of an organization doing impactful direct service work? Click here to learn more about how to claim a program on Aunt Bertha and unlock free team sharing, reporting and referral management functionality, all in one user-friendly tool!
Contributor: Ashlee Kraus