Beyond Benefits: Animal Food Bank’s innovative approach with Rise Health
Benefits 7 minute read

Beyond Benefits: Animal Food Bank’s innovative approach with Rise Health

Liam Cannon | March 4, 2024

Animal Food Bank is a Canadian volunteer-dependant, non-profit providing pet food and supplies to pets in need. They also work as a support network to the animal welfare community, providing pet food and supplies to other organizations helping pets in need. Thanks to founder Nicole Frey and her team, thousands of pet owners across Canada no longer have to make the choice between feeding their pet or themselves. Nicole and her team have exemplified the power of collaboration by donating over 620,000 lbs of food to partner organizations throughout Western Canada.

They are challenging the status quo for other nonprofit organizations and leading the way for volunteer & employee care. By using Rise to sidestep the headaches of conventional benefits providers, Nicole and her team were able to unlock unexpected cost savings and streamline HR operations while starting the newest chapter for their organization.

Before Rise

Before joining forces with Rise Health, Animal Food Bank was volunteer-run and wasn’t able to offer any health benefits. But when Animal Food Bank received a "Community Recovery Services" grant to develop free-to-use software, Nicole was able to hire employees— and wanted to compensate them well. With her background in operations management, Nicole knew from her experience that they needed to get creative with employee compensation in order to stand out when hiring and retaining employees.

“Offering benefits is a very easy way for somebody like me to offer value to employees, especially in today's economy, even if we weren't a nonprofit. We're seeing all of these cutbacks and so benefits are a very easy way for organizations like mine to offer incentives to attract and keep their employees.”

However, the conventionally arduous (and expensive) process of acquiring group benefits would be an unwelcome burden, straining AFB's already limited resources. Simply put, Nicole didn’t have the time to court multiple brokers for quotes that could be out of her price range, or— due to the size of her organization— not get a quote at all. She’d experienced issues at past companies where conventional providers weren’t interested in taking on smaller organizations, or offered enticing rates for the first year that shot up drastically when it was time to renew.

This spurred Nicole to seek alternatives for payroll and benefits, leading her to the discovery of Rise Health.

Comprehensive benefits coverage made accessible

“The coverage was far better than what I thought we would get as a small fish in a giant pond.”

With a limited budget, Nicole was surprised to find Rise Health’s turn-key group benefits packages made it easy to pick up and implement. And better yet, they offered what her employees were looking for; things like massage, dental, mental health coverage and more. With her 15 years of experience in operations, she found that the coverage in the packages covered more than one might expect when working with a traditional provider. 

When working with the Rise team to set up group benefits, she found the team to be more interested in finding the right package for her & her employees, versus “selling” her on more expensive plans or flashy introductory pricing.

Unlocked cost savings

While the coverage offered in a turn-key package was promising, Nicole also found the pricing not just to be fair, but superior. For her, Rise Health offered good value and some of the best benefits coverage out there for their organization's size. On average, Rise Health clients usually unlock 10% cost savings by switching over for our platform. In Nicole’s case, she was able to introduce group health benefits to her employees, and came in 20% under budget, unlocking extra budget that could be spent on other important areas of her business.

While the initial cost savings opened up more budget right away, over time, the lack of additional paperwork and tedious admin tasks have saved Nicole and Animal Food Bank “infinite” amounts of employee hours. Having their HR processes consolidated onto one system has made taking care of her team quick and easy. Running payroll, HR, and benefits administration as a team of one can be a daunting process without the right support, Nicole notes that “I didn’t have to hire a HR person thanks to Rise and their all-in-one platform”.

“While I had budgeted for benefits based on my previous experience, Rise actually came in 20% under budget and the coverage is great.”

Sustainable pricing with no surprises

By cutting out the middleman, Nicole found that the coverage in the Rise Health packages were more than what she had experienced with traditional providers. During her initial conversations, the Rise team was able to provide Animal Food Bank with sustainable pricing that wouldn’t leave her with future unhappy surprises. From her own previous experience, traditional carriers have a tendency to increase prices after the first year. But with Rise Health, there was a little extra work upfront to ensure that dilemma could be avoided as much as possible.  And as a result, the price of Rise Health works for her limited budget— and in her case— has remained stable as they head into their second year of coverage.

World-class support & stress-free implementation

While Nicole was sold on the cost savings and the ease of setting up our comprehensive packages, it was Rises’ support that won her over. The implementation of Rise Health proved to be a game-changer for Animal Food Bank. Nicole describes the transition as "OMG SO EASY" thanks to a user-friendly interface that helped her tremendously during setup. The seamless self-enrollment process and the immediate positive response from employees helped Nicole feel like she had a payroll & benefits team working right alongside her.  

Today, she relies on the world-class support team at Rise to help cover areas where she might not have the time or resources to be the expert. Because our support team are trained on the Rise platform and are certified benefits experts, support is available for anything and everything related to Rise.

“It feels like Rise is a wing of our Animal Food Bank. It’s like you’re our internal benefits & payroll department. Anytime I have questions or make a mistake on Payroll, the Rise team is so patient and just helps me fix it.”

The verdict on Rise Health:

Nicole's experience with Rise Health allowed for a modern solution that saved a ton of time— and money. With easy implementation, and the helpfulness of Rise support from the very first time she spoke with our team, left a lasting impression. Rise has Nicole’s back when it comes to running HR, payroll and benefits in one place, so she can take off one of her many hats to focus on the cause that started it all.

As for how she feels about having employee benefits, payroll & HR on one system;

“It’s like.. my favorite thing ever.”

Rise Health can support companies of all sizes by bringing quality benefits to your employees and save you hours of time by running it all from one place. To learn more about switching to Rise Health or set up group benefits for the very first time, talk to our team for a personalized demo.

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