One Giant LEAP For Mankind…

13 Mar 2023


At OpenCRM, we see our product as more than being “just” a piece of software. Instead, we see it as something that solves business problems and gets results. Given that a CRM solution is a broad and deep application with many functions, there are many different business problems that can be resolved. One such issue that LEAP faced was its data. As they are a multi-faceted organisation that keeps numerous plates spinning, it found itself with data stored in multiple locations. Read on to find out some more about the issues they faced and how OpenCRM helped resolve them. 


LEAP’s mission is to enhance the lives of older people in Lanarkshire.  

LEAP was born in 1992 in the Cambuslang area of Lanarkshire. From that first meeting that took place in a car, LEAP has grown and developed and now serves more than 8,500 members and clients in 18 communities across Lanarkshire. Delivery of the services is managed by a team of over 200 volunteers and 27 members of staff. 

Over the years their range of services has also continued to grow. Those services include: 


The one-to-one befriending service matches volunteer befrienders with clients aged 50 and over in their homes. This offers companionship and chat, helping to combat isolation and loneliness. LEAP has won the Quality in Befriending award. We were also awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, an organisational equivalent of being awarded an MBE. 

Handyperson Service

For many older people, simple jobs such as changing a light bulb, configuring a remote control or DIY can become a barrier to them feeling safe living at home. This is where LEAP’s Hands On Project handyperson services can make a difference. 

Learning and Leisure

LEAP was set up by a group of older people fed up with having nothing to do. So they did something about it. Their spirit lives on today through our learning and leisure programme covering subjects as diverse as New Age Kurling, singing groups, Tai Chi, languages and IT. Digital exclusion is a real issue for older people, particularly in rural areas. It’s no wonder that the IT classes are extremely popular. 

R:evolve Recycle

With their R:evolve Recycle project, LEAP teaches people about the impact of fashion on our environment, and encourages people to give clothes a second life through their clothing swap shop boutiques. 

LEAP has grown – their digital Intrastructure needed to keep up! 

As these various facets evolved, so did the volume of data that LEAP needed to store. Actually, the volume itself is not normally a problem, but in this case it was an issue relating to how it was being stored. They were juggling upwards of 20 databases as well as Excel sheets in order to keep track of things. 


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Working Out a Plan

It was clear that LEAP needed a new system of data management. Storing information in a central, easily accessible, cloud solution, was just the start of the journey. Seeing as they offer different services that involve different stakeholder groups, it was also important to maintain that overview to see who is doing what, when and with who. One example was to be able to see which volunteer was managing tasks for which client.

As a charitable organisation that is accountable to different groups of people, budgeting time and money is always a consideration – as they told us: 

“I’d like to see what you can offer without excessive configuration and bespoke development.” 

Armed with a series of questions from various stakeholder groups, LEAP booked themselves into a custom demo with one of the sales team here at OpenCRM. They had previously had access to a demo system to get an idea of what OpenCRM is capable of. But it always helps to have a system expert behind the wheel when giving you the guided tour. 

Once it became apparent that we were a good fit, we got the ball rolling with LEAP’s CRM project. 

Goals and Challenges

One of the first things our team does is to prepare a Project Plan. This compiles a list of the points discussed between the client and our sales team. We can then deliver on the agreed goals. Once the Project Plan is written, it gets sent over to the client to review. 

This is quite an important step as it helps keep all parties focused on those agreed goals. It could be very easy to get side-tracked and fritter the allocated project time away on some of those “nice-to-haves” as opposed to factors essential to the success of the Project. 

For LEAP, some of those essentials included a better way of managing tasks including migrating multiple dissipate databases into one central location. This is trickier than you might imagine. If you have five different databases, for example, they are unlikely to follow the same format. Prepping data is usually a collaborative task managed by both our team and the client. Our team are adept at manipulating spreadsheets. This combined with the client’s knowledge of their data means we work together nicely on this kind of task. 

Beyond that, here are some of the areas of OpenCRM that LEAP is able to harness to manage its processes. 


These are used for tracking and monitoring befriending activities – managing both the volunteers and clients. The Projects module is a well-rounded solution out of the box. LEAP tweaked this and add in custom fields, including a custom contact look-up. This means they can have equal visibility of the volunteer and client on the one entity. 

Task Management

The Activities module proved ideal to track those handyperson jobs. As these types of actions mean tracking information beyond what you might consider being “standard” activities, we helped LEAP add custom fields in this area, to help make the system bespoke to their needs. Using layouts means they can display the relevant fields, in the right order, based on the nature of the job. 

Event Tracking

Projects and Activities work for managing those one-to-one interactions. But LEAP also needed a way of taking care of their group activities. The Events module is the ideal place for this. LEAP use this to manage internal events for volunteers as well as client-facing events such as arts and crafts. The internal events might be training courses such as first aid training days. Events involving clients tend to be things like workshops, crafts and other creative days. Events are perfect for this as they have separate tabs to monitor the different groups of people involved such as staff and attendees. 

Continuity, Development and the Next Steps 

Did the project change in any way from conception to delivery? Why did it change and how did we adapt? 

Often, what looks great on paper is less straightforward in real-life. This is why we often advocate evolution rather than revolution. Teach/ learn in incremental steps and gradually turn the organisational processes around. As part of this evolution, we tweak and adjust the agreed processes. It can be as straightforward as adding values into a picklist or rearranging the on-screen field layout. At other times it might mean re-evaluating processes and replacing manual tasks with automation.

With OpenCRM there are often multiple ways of achieving the same end. None of the options are necessarily right or wrong, but they mean our customers can use what works best for them. 

What this meant for LEAP

For LEAP, as outlined above, this meant using Projects to manage those handyperson jobs, and using Events to track courses and attendees. As the project progressed, they noticed small details they wanted to change. Simple changes such as making “Job Details” a text area box – with unlimited space – rather than a small text field – helped make the system more intuitive to use. 

They then also looked at setting up duplicate checking rules on the contacts module. Details such as first name, surname, date of birth and postcode would be a good set of criteria to check against.

Review and Analyse

It’s a bit like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Your CRM system is constantly evolving, as it needs to be to help an organisation such as LEAP keep on top of its developing business module.