TIRO is a hotline management system designed to give small NGOs serving vulnerable clients in China better record-keeping and reporting capabilities, ultimately improving the efficiency and sustainability of their services to create greater impact.
Chinese NGOs operate within a challenging political environment. While the country recognizes value in the social services that NGOs provide, it imposes limits on their work in order to maintain what it considers a harmonious society. All things being equal, the key to an NGO’s best chances for sustainability is for it to be able to clearly, compellingly, and forthrightly demonstrate that its work is aligned with the Party’s goals, or else face risk of crackdown when authorities have doubts about the true nature of its activities.
Many NGOs also lack the resources to operate efficiently, or to demonstrate the nature and value of their work. NGOs that operate hotline services still use paper logging and undergo laborious processes for manual data entry. Furthermore, they are unable to aggregate their data to demonstrate impact, which affects their fundraising efforts and their ability to share insights with government stakeholders.
Our approach is to equip Chinese NGOs with better, lower-cost tools for record-keeping and report-making. Specifically, because phone-based consultations remain the most integral part of an NGO's operations, we will develop a mobile phone application to record and manage information that surfaces through their hotlines. We will develop an Android app that hotline operators can use to log conversation content and retrieve call details. An accompanied web application will permit NGOs to generate reports featuring demographic, caller relationship, and service provisioning metrics.
For our project, we have identified an NGO in China whom we will partner with for purposes of usability testing and pilot study. We hope to demonstrate that by using this system, our partner NGO can operate more efficiently and better communicate its work towards sustainability efforts - all while protecting the privacy and security of its clients’ information.