Case Study: Women’s Bank

“Excellent tool for controlling positive chaos”

Women’s Bank is a volunteer community collecting donations for supporting women’s entrepreneurship in developing countries and developing their livelihoods through the principles of sustainable development. Finn Church Aid manages the Women’s Bank fund and carries out its projects. Operations are based on active volunteers, numerous partners and donors.

Thinking Business supports women’s employment by providing Women’s Bank with access to the Thinking Portfolio project portfolio service on a Pro Bono basis.

– Thinking Portfolio helps us allocate our valuable volunteer resources to the right projects.

Thinking Portfolio was implemented in Women’s Bank in November 2011. So far, the portfolio has been used for managing business fund-raising projects. Currently its use is being expanded to the coordination of the volunteer operations of Women’s Bank throughout the country.

From Wild West to Thinking Portfolio

Finn Church Aid Business Fund-raising Contact Director Sari Meller states that the project portfolio application has significantly helped their operations.

– Before the implementation of Thinking Portfolio, our projects were managed with Excel charts and Word documents. We prioritized projects with calendar markings, and analysis was performed along the way.

– After implementing Thinking Portfolio, we made a huge leap from the Wild West towards a systematic project coordination.

– Our resources consist of partners, monthly and one-time donors, as well as active volunteers. We also wish to provide our regional cells with the opportunity to use Thinking Portfolio to support their activities.

Walk, laugh and cook for a profession for a woman

Women’s Bank has created a national pilot project with Thinking Portfolio called “Kävele naiselle ammatti” (Walk for a profession for a woman). Similar projects in regional cells include, for example, “Zumbaa-, Kokkaa- ja Naura naiselle ammatti” (Zumba, cook and laugh for a profession for a woman).

Regional volunteers come up with well over 500 events every year. Meller believes that with the project portfolio, regional cells can better utilize each other’s ideas, as Thinking Portfolio is used for collecting data and managing projects.

– It is wonderful to have a single tool for allocating our valuable volunteer resources to the right places and save time in management tasks.

– Following the implementation of the application, our experiences using it in business fund-raising have indicated that project prioritization and scheduling are improved by looking at the overall status of projects.

Women’s Bank Coordinator Jaana Hirsikangas praises the user-friendliness of the application.

With a clear, easy to use application, long training sessions become unnecessary.

– Training is provided through a short online training session, which is also recorded. Those who are unable to participate in the training can watch the recorded training when they have time.

Good results

Meller mentions Thinking Portfolio’s strengths to include, for example, the centralized project data view and the simultaneous processing of hundreds of projects. Smooth and tight-knit collaboration with the application supplier, and the intuitive interface were also among the key advantages.

– Comparing various regional cells is easier, because we are able to look at all of the projects at the same time. Report views also quickly provide an overall project status. Furthermore, the tool facilitates planning communications, project analysis and comparison between similar projects.

– At a first glance, everyone appears to be pleased with the tool, because we have received nothing but positive feedback from both business fund-raising and other users.

– Thanks to Thinking Portfolio, we are really getting good results.

Sari Meller

A Cambodian mother who started up a kiosk with the help of a loan from the Women’s Bank village bank. Sari Meller with Antti Pentikäinen of Finn Church Aid.

Additional information:

Sari Meller, Contact Manager, Business Fund-raising

Finn Church Aid sari.meller(at)

Women's Bank

Photos: Finn Church Aid

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