The Australian War Widows Guild of NSW represents an unusual demographic. Some of their oldest members are over 100 years old. And whilst some are as young as their 30s – the majority are aged 80 years and over. This brings a specific set of challenges and needs when the Guild started looking to modernise their supporting information systems.
“The Guild was founded in 1946 by women, for women,” says Chief Executive Officer Madeline Dermatossian. “Our mission is to promote and protect the interests of all war widows in our State.”
Along with advocacy for entitlements, support and advice, this includes social activities, a transport service and the Friendship Line, a phone service staffed by volunteer members.
“The Friendship Line was established to provide members a ‘listening ear’ rather than advice or counselling,” Ms Dermatossian says. “Our volunteers understand how difficult it can be to face birthdays and anniversaries alone, to be housebound or heading to the hospital. They can talk to other members with empathy, respect and compassion.”
But outdated technology was making it increasingly difficult for the Guild to achieve its aims.
“Our database hadn’t been updated for a number of years, so it was out of date and no longer supported,” she says. “We wanted to be able to use data more effectively – to pull out meaningful insights so we could identify opportunities for providing better services for our members.”
Ms Dermatossian and her team drew up a longlist of possible systems and technology partners.
“We carried out extensive research, and that led us down the path of Clade and CAMS,” she says.