Last Update:
January 23, 2024
Side Nerd Apps Pioneer

Case Study: Ither for Organizations at BIFMC

This case study examines how a free medical clinic revolutionized its volunteer management and tracking processes using Ither, a text-message-based application developed by Side Nerd Apps. The clinic, led by a dedicated team including Clinic Medical Director David Peterseim, Office Manager Megan Ferronetti, and Executive Director Melissa Frank, faced challenges in tracking volunteer hours, which was critical for its operation and reporting for grants. The Barrier Island Free Medical Clinic serves 120 patients weekly in Charleston County, South Carolina. These patients are served by over 140 volunteers annually, including medical providers, nurses, translators, front desk, and administrative volunteers.

The Challenge

Before Ither, the clinic relied on a cumbersome, paper-based system for logging volunteer hours. Dr. Dave Peterseim noted that "when Mary had 'the book', she would spend three plus days to give Melissa at the end of the year the numbers once a year for an annual event". This system was time-consuming and inefficient, leading to challenges in tracking the impact of over 140 clinical and non-clinical volunteers, especially for volunteer recognition, understanding growth or change in the volunteer program, and submitting grant proposals. The clinic required a solution to accurately track volunteer hours, improve engagement, and streamline reporting processes.

The Solution: Ither for Organizations

The clinic partnered with Emily Smith, the creator of Ither and a leading expert in text-message-based applications, to implement the Ither for Organizations tracking system and customize a reporting solution tailored to their needs. Ither's platform allowed volunteers to log hours in natural language via text message, enabling real-time, digital tracking and feedback in a way described as "easy to use" and "very user friendly" by the volunteers.

The custom reporting that best supported BIFMC's needs and current operational processes included:

- A live Google Sheet showing all volunteer log submissions

- Visual charts representing the total volunteer hours by month (broken down by volunteer role), as well as the monetary value of all the volunteers' work

- An automated weekly email to be sent out Monday mornings to the managers and directors, summarizing the volunteer logs from the previous week

Key Benefits

  1. Efficiency in Data Management: As noted by founder and Medical Director Dr. David Peterseim, Ither's real-time tracking presented a stark contrast to the "medieval" methods of the past, enhancing data accuracy and availability.
  2. Enhanced Volunteer Engagement: Office Manager Megan Ferronetti highlighted the positive impact of Ither on volunteer morale. The personalized feedback and recognition of contributions made volunteers feel valued and acknowledged.
  3. In-depth Reporting Capabilities: Executive Director Melissa Frank emphasized the ability to quickly generate detailed reports on volunteer hours and roles, a significant improvement over the old system.
  4. Increased Adoption and Ease of Use: Through customized training videos and user-friendly interfaces, Ither successfully addressed initial volunteer apprehensions about adopting new technology. As noted by Melissa Frank, "Our volunteers have all embraced the technology and we have fully implemented the Ither platform!"

Results and Impact

The clinic experienced a remarkable transformation in its volunteer management processes. The real-time tracking provided by Ither not only improved operational efficiency but also boosted volunteer satisfaction and engagement. The ability to promptly and accurately report on volunteer hours and roles has been invaluable, particularly in securing grants and recognizing the contributions of volunteers.


The use of Ither at the free medical clinic stands as a testament to the power of innovative text-message-based applications in transforming traditional processes. The clinic's experience with Ither showcases significant improvements in efficiency, volunteer engagement, and data accuracy, making it a compelling model for other organizations facing similar challenges.


  • David Peterseim, Clinic Medical Director: "Ither's impact is immediate... there's just no comparison of the value or the time commitment after this adoption"
  • Megan, Office Manager: "Ither truly recognizes and highlights the amazing work of our volunteers... It's significant and impactful."
  • Melissa, Executive Director: "With Ither, we can now pull data within seconds... We highly recommend Ither for anyone looking to streamline your data!"