A Conversation with SAGE: Empowering LGBT Elders with Virtual Experiences in the COVID Era

Jun 30, 2021 | Case Study, Nonprofit

FormAssembly is proud to work with hundreds of nonprofit customers that are making an impact in their communities. In honor of Pride Month, we’re highlighting SAGE, Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders.

About SAGE

As the modern LGBT civil rights movement took hold with the Stonewall Riots in 1969, a group of LGBT advocates was inspired to come together to ensure that the older LGBT community would be treated with dignity and respect in all aspects of their lives. And since then, for more than 50 years, SAGE has been more than a movement. SAGE is a community of activists that provides advocacy, services, and support to older members of the LGBT community. 

Headquartered in New York, SAGE has five innovative senior centers. Those centers not only provide a family for LGBT seniors, but they also provide meals, social events, support groups, and internet access. Because these centers have been such a haven for the older LGBT community, the coronavirus pandemic that hit New York in early 2020 forced SAGE to change some of its operating practices and embrace virtual experiences. 

SAGE used FormAssembly to speed up this virtual change while also saving staff time during intake and streamlining processes. Recently, we spoke with Denise Atherley, SAGE’s Director of Data Strategy, about SAGE’s mission and how the organization is using FormAssembly to power their data collection processes in a time of change.

Since COVID, we’ve moved a lot of events to be virtual, so we hope to continue to use those RSVP forms and other forms to expand our virtual events.

Denise Atherley

Director of Data Strategy, SAGE

Q: Can you describe the mission or purpose of SAGE?

A: “SAGE is a national organization that works to provide services and advocacy for LGBT older adults. The mission is to serve older adults to be able to age in place with dignity and connection to services. Part of the advocacy work that we do is we have representatives in Capitol Hill to work with legislation to make sure older Americans act as inclusive as possible. We also have a national training component working with health providers and agencies that work with older adults to be trained to be both LGBT trained and age competent. [SAGE has] five senior centers that offer a variety of services, including but not limited to social services, meals, case management, hands on services, and more directly for older adults.”

Q: What do you use FormAssembly for?

A: “We use FormAssembly or a variety of things, and we’re using it more and more because with COVID hitting, we’re having to pivot and do things more digitally. We needed a more robust form tool that allowed us to gather information from people. What we first used FormAssembly for was a quick form on our website to gather basic information from individuals looking to get more information about us and build out our listserv. At this time, we were also going through a full website overhaul. The WordPress plugin provided a seamless transition and was super helpful as we worked to bring all of our new forms over to the new site. From here we expanded to further include information that we collect about our constituents specifically. [Within] these past few months, [we] upgraded to Compliance Cloud, because what we’re working to do is to include the full intake and assessment process that our social workers use to gather information about our folks, which includes health information. Having that connection to Salesforce makes it super helpful because that’s what we use as our CRM. So our uses range from online forms, questionnaires, and surveys to application forms and intake forms for our volunteers, constituents, and interested folks.”

Q: Do you have plans to expand your use of FormAssembly in the future?

A: With our recent transition to the Compliance Cloud, we are looking to expand form uses with our constituents. HIPAA compliance allows us to safely and confidently streamline our intake process to include health assessments and medical records, creating our own medical record. Previously this process was several handwritten intakes and assessments that were then put into an online form. With FormAssembly, we’ve streamlined this process and are looking to expand this intake form to be even more inclusive for our staff and volunteers. We have also begun to have more virtual events and utilize forms for the RSVP process. Since COVID, we’ve moved a lot of events to be virtual, so we hope to continue to use those RSVP forms and other forms to expand our virtual events.

To learn more about SAGE and how the organization is making life better for elders in the LGBT community nationwide or to get involved, visit their website

The FormAssembly team is honored to highlight and work with nonprofit organizations like SAGE that are making a difference in the world. Learn more about FormAssembly for nonprofit here.

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