Digital processes save nonprofit PAALS 200hrs/$3K per month [Case Study]

In this case study, Cecil Bordages, Volunteer Treasurer of PAALS, a nonprofit that trains service dogs for individuals with disabilities, veterans with PTSD and children with autism, describes how they replaced unreliable paper-based processes with digital processes built with Gravity Flow and generated time savings of up to 210 hours per month translating into cost savings of up to $3,150 per month.


PAALS (Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services), founded in 2007, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to enriching and empowering children and adults with physical disabilities and social needs by training service animals and providing animal assisted educational and recreational activities.

PAALS trains animals to assist people with varying abilities to live more independent and enriched lives by providing them with assistance dogs. Some of our specially trained canines are taught to turn lights on and off, tug open doors, pick up dropped items and alert for help to assist individuals in wheelchairs. Other dogs go on to assist children with autism and soldiers with PTSD to accomplish therapeutic and real life goals.

The Problem

In our area of services, we handle many different types of forms, applications and requests from the public or potential clients for information. In the past, these were managed by paper applications, checklists and, often, scraps of paper being passed around. Needless to say things often fell through the cracks and we often didn’t have any record of a requests being received, much less fulfilled.

We do not have a dedicated IT staff and rely on a non-specialist volunteer for all our website and IT projects.

The Solution

The combination of Gravity Flow and Gravity Forms have allowed us to automate many of these processes. Currently we are using this combination to manage 12 different digital processes such as volunteer applications, summer camp registrations, requests for a speaker/presentations and email inquiries. Requests and applications are completed online using Gravity Forms and then routed to appropriate staff for action (i.e. response, approval, etc.). Gravity Flow gives us the capability to monitor each request as it goes through the workflow and to have a permanent record of who did what when it is done. Using Gravity PDF we are also able to provide electronic and/or paper copies as needed.

The Savings of Digital Processes

The initial amount of money saved by having a volunteer (with little prior web experience: me) design the forms and implement the digital processes instead of custom web development by a specialist saves an estimated $8,000 to $10,000. We are adding new workflows all the time so this amount will continue to increase with time.

Amount of time spent finding/recovering/redoing dropped / lost requests or applications: 40 – 60 hours per month.

Amount of time saved on rework on requests or applications: 20 – 30 hours per month.

Amount of time saved by being able to quickly determine status of requests/applications: 10 – 20 hours per month.

Amount of time saved fewer phone calls and returned phone calls because the processes can answer the questions: 80 – 100 hours per month.

So the totals per month would be 150 – 210 hours. Using an estimate of $15 per hour that would be a monthly savings of $2,250 to $3,150 (or about 7% to 10% of our monthly budget)


Digital processes built with Gravity Flow have helped PAALS become much more organized, efficient and responsive to our volunteers, clients, potential clients and the general public.

Cecil Bordages, Volunteer Treasurer,
Columbia, SC


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