Editor's Note: This is a guest blog post from Tom Allebach, Executive Director for Manna on Main Street, a community service organization that serves the needy in the greater North Penn community outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA).

Manna on Main Street was founded in 1981 and provides a soup kitchen, food cupboard, and a variety of other programs to help individuals in need. Our vision for Manna on Main Street is "that everyone might be fed." As we need to have every dollar possible directed to helping people, software to support our organization needs to be affordable, work with our existing applications, and be easy to access and use for our staff and 1000 volunteers.

Two solutions that have changed the way we work with our volunteers are Google Docs for creation and sharing of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and SAP StreamWork, a collaborative decision making application available from the Google Apps Marketplace. They have access whether they're in a soup kitchen, the office, home, or on the go. These tools have helped Manna on Main Street to work more efficiently and collectively, thus allowing us to create and deliver more programs to help those in need.

After experiencing the value of Google Docs, we learned about the integrations with SAP StreamWork through the Google Apps Marketplace. With SAP StreamWork, we can apply structure to our discussions including tracking activities, pro/con tables, SWOT analyses, send out e-mail alerts and polls to drive fast, meaningful results. It provides a way for our staff to connect with the board of directors and supporters for key committees, and has many features for managing private, directed activities that drive participation, planning, and decisions with our volunteers. Like Google Docs, it’s easy to use and has been adopted by participants with varying levels of technology experience.

Google Docs is integrated directly into SAP StreamWork, making it even easier for Manna on Main Street and its volunteers to work seamlessly, collectively, and from anywhere. With these new capabilities our board of directors and building and resource committees are now driving a fundraising program to help Manna move to a new facility, dramatically increasing our ability to feed and serve more people in need.

We realize that much work remains to be done to continue to serve those in need, and we continue to give thanks to all of you who help in that service. We also thank Google and SAP for helping small organizations with big goals such as ours.

Posted by Tom Allebach, Executive Director for Manna on Main Street