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Australian Lions Hearing Dogs implements Dynamics 365 to support their growth

Dynamics 365
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Since 1980, Australian Lions Hearing Dogs (ALHD) has trained and placed Hearing Assistance Dogs with deaf, or hard of hearing, people throughout Australia. ALHD is the only Australian organisation accredited by Assistance Dogs

ALHD selected ANS Group to support its deployment of Microsoft Dynamics 365. We spoke to CEO, David Horne to discuss their journey and their early successes with Dynamics.

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The Challenge:

The ALHD team was using an Access database they had developed in-house, but this was only handling one aspect of the organisation.

David explains: “As our trainers spend time away on work, they need to be able to connect, but our Access system wasn’t meeting these requirements. ALHD is going through a growth phase, and it was time to make a change by implementing a new system that will scale and support us.”

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The Solution:

David continues: “On our travels, we saw the system used by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People in the UK. We were impressed at how everything could be connected, with the flexibility to handle dog training programs, fundraising and volunteers within Dynamics 365.

We believed this would meet the needs of each department and provide scalability, so it seemed the perfect choice.”

“We found it difficult to find an organisation in Australia that was familiar with using Dynamics 365 in a not-for-profit and fundraising scenario. We knew ANS had undertaken similar implementations, and they were highly recommended.”

"ANS’ knowledge of our industry made it easier for us. It was incredibly helpful to work with a partner who has worked with not-for-profit and fundraising organisations. For us, their work has been faultless.”

David Horne



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The Outcome:

David says the most significant benefit their team has gained from Dynamics 365 is using Dynamics everywhere and capturing data in real time.

“Previously, when our trainers were away on placement, they couldn’t add notes and contacts until they returned to the office. Using Dynamics, they now have access to all the information they need by mobile, tablet or laptop, so they can make updates when this information is fresh in mind.

It’s been extremely pleasing to see everyone gaining their benefits from the system, and there haven’t been any scared faces around the table. From the start, Dynamics 365 has felt comfortable and accessible for our team, who are dog trainers, not computer experts. For them to pick it up as quickly as they have done shows how easy the system is to use.

They are creating their own views and dashboards and are confident in doing so. Our team haven’t been afraid to suggest improvements and make it easier for the rest of the organisation.

In acting on these ideas, we’ve found Dynamics very easy to adapt by making changes on the fly.”

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“In the last two years, we’ve expanded our fundraising programs and brought in additional professionals. Previously, we used a simple fundraising tool provided by Lions Clubs, which worked well until we outgrew it. Every aspect of our fundraising activity now goes into Dynamics.

This has meant we can instantly report on where we are and what projects we are working on and plan accordingly. It’s made working with the fundraising data we are capturing much easier. Combined with some historical data we’ve imported, this is now presented in a format we can use to approach individuals and steward them.

Our Marketing function has also benefitted, as we are better able to target large demographics and niche audiences with what we know works for them. We can customise our communications before sending it out.”

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“We now have a single source of data that is easily accessible worldwide and that’s enabling us to dig deeper in our reporting and forecasting. As well as helping us navigate a growth phase, these insights are also supporting our decision-making as we develop strategies to protect our operations in the event of future Covid-19 restrictions.

Without needing to look across multiple systems for forecasting and budgeting, we can plan in a manageable and sensible way. Dynamics has also supported us as we place more dogs following the easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

We fly to most locations and we are now covering more areas. Using these planning tools, we can confirm the right standards are being met, verify flight bookings, check contacts and make sure everyone is on the same page.”

“The connections that exist between people, ambassadors and donors are now easier to identify. All it took were some easy integrations between Dynamics 365, and SharePoint and Outlook, for us to see this spider web of connections and keep up with changes. All the information we need is now at our fingertips.”

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“ANS’ knowledge of our industry made it easier for us. It was incredibly helpful to work with a partner that has worked with not-for-profit and fundraising organisations and even has experience in the assistance dog industry. Their solutions architect very quickly understood and grasped our main processes, in getting a dog from a puppy through to a placement with a client.

Throughout the build process, they were always professional and the standard of their work was excellent.

We are very happy with the speed the project was completed. In our initial discussions with ANS we were surprised at how quickly this could be delivered but their timelines proved spot on.

Bringing in data and deploying the system is always a crunch point but with ANS’ help it was much easier and quicker, compared to how we know this can prove for many other organisations. For us, their work has been faultless.”