Ideal for non-profit and community service agencies!
December 11, 2021

Ideal for non-profit and community service agencies!

Shaeleen Power | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Penelope by Social Solutions

Penelope is used in our organization to replace all daily documentation, scheduling and booking, and intake management of participants in our programs. We have approximately 80 participants and 30 staff with 7 departments and it allows us to easily manage staffing ratios, attendance, and programming at three separate locations. Penelope allows us to easily track data on individuals or as a group and generate reports to send to our funders, etc. It allows us to track progress and regression for individuals which is essential to our mission as an organization. Penelope provides us with an easily accessible bluebook of all of our contacts and resources. It is a one-stop-shop for all of our documentation needs. Penelope offers a direct connection to staff individually or in groups through a messaging system within the program. Staff can easily log in and see any relevant information for the day. It saves us so much time as an organization and avoids a lot of running around and daily meetings that we had in the past. Before Penelope, finding participant reports, data, and information meant time spent searching through files in different departments and talking to multiple staff to track down what we were looking for.
  • Provides time-saving features by automatically compiling data to an individual file from multiple areas.
  • Allows staff to be updated on important information in real time.
  • Provides a user-friendly experience and ease of access for staff with all levels of technical experience.
  • Accessibility for anyone with visual impairment.
  • Ability to adjust font size when printing.
  • Ability to send files as email from the program.
  • Improved data quality providing much needed consistency.
  • Less management intervention because of the accountability for staff to follow through with tasks and reports.
  • Greater efficiency and better use of staff time due to fast data tracking.
We have used a database from one of our sister agencies in the past but it was not catered to our specific needs and services the way Penelope is. We were able to create our own personalized database with only information pertinent to our organization in particular as opposed to having to fit into a pre-developed template. If we needed something changed we had to go through two separate contacts and wait for changes to take place, which could take weeks if they were even approved. It was not efficient and often took more time out of our day to use instead of saving time.

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Are you happy with Bonterra Penelope's feature set?


Did Bonterra Penelope live up to sales and marketing promises?


Did implementation of Bonterra Penelope go as expected?


Would you buy Bonterra Penelope again?


LinkedIn Jobs, Facebook Business Manager (formerly Pages Manager)
Penelope would be ideal for a clinic setting or an organization providing individual or group support to many individuals and from multiple staff members. It is perfect for the service field to track bookings and schedules. It allows for easy reporting and tracking changes for an individual. As a non-profit service agency, it is the perfect database for us, from individual and group service to informal and anonymous services, the features allow for easy tracking of data.

Using Penelope by Social Solutions

35 - Our staff using Penelope consists of an Executive Director, Assistant Executive Director, a Financial Administrator, 3 Managers, and approx 30 instructors in 7 departments. It is also used within our social enterprises in 3 different retail settings. It covers intake management, daily programming, reporting, staffing, and communication.
Within our agency, we support 80+ participants of our programs. We have 4 staff that are considered our Penelope experts and are available to provide support to the staff team regularly. The way our database is set up, we are able to customize the information that is accessible by different levels of staff. This makes it very user-friendly for even the most inexperienced database users. Staff only have access to the relevant information needed for their particular job or program. This keeps people from feeling overwhelmed or in over their heads. It is straightforward and user-friendly. We have a selection of staff who are able to make adjustments to the program as needed.
  • Tracking participant data including participation, progress or regression.
  • Consistent daily documentation.
  • Easy communication between staff in real time.
  • We are able to easily track or check vaccination status for employees and participants.
  • Tracking data for anonymous services provided to the community.
  • Tracking honorariums for volunteers and participants.
Penelope is saving us so much time and providing us with much-needed consistent regular data tracking and documentation. It has been a game-changer for our organization and we should have had it years ago. It has allowed us to have an efficient organized system to use daily in our non-profit agency.

Evaluating Penelope by Social Solutions and Competitors

  • Product Features
  • Product Reputation
The features that were explained to us were really fitting for our organization and what we do. A sister agency of ours recommended Penelope to us as they have been using it for several years and knew we were looking for a database that would work for us. They operate very similarly to us and have raved about the success they have had with Penelope.
We tried another database for over a year and it wasn't working for us and what we needed. We knew right away that Penelope was much more geared toward what we do and was very customizable which was the most important factor when making the decision. We gave the other program a good shot and tried to make it work but it was not nearly as versatile as Penelope and just did not work for us the way we needed it to.

Penelope by Social Solutions Implementation

Be sure to have a good team of staff that will be on board with the training and will dedicate time and energy to the process. You want to have people who are motivated and excited about the new program that you are investing in.
Yes - We did an intro to Penelope to start which took a couple of Zoom call sessions, after that we did a development process where we went through each section of Penelope and customized it to our needs, during this, we were taught all of the functions and options of Penelope and had many questions answered. This was probably the longest period which was done over several months in 1-2 hour sessions which we chose as our best schedule. Once the database was suited to our needs we worked on testing and using the database and its functions using a practice version of our database. Finally, we trained our own staff and had multiple sessions to complete this along with mentoring from staff that has been fully trained in the program.
Change management was a small part of the implementation and was well-handled - Throughout the process, we figured out better ways to utilize the options and made changes along the way to make it the most efficient and user-friendly for us. We wanted to use as many of the features as we could to get the most out of our subscription. We never had an issue making changes or requesting things to be done a different way. Our support person often made suggestions that were very helpful to us and made things work better for our needs.
  • Getting the staff on our end to be available at the same time for Zoom calls.
  • Covid effecting out working schedules.
  • Snow storms and other issues that affected our training time.

Penelope by Social Solutions Support

Our support person with Penelope has been a dream to work with since day one. She is accommodating to our ever-changing schedule and has worked around us for training and Zoom meetings. She is always available via e-mail and is quick to respond to our many inquiries throughout the development and implementation process. Our Zoom meetings have been like talking to a long-time staff member. She explains things in a way that everyone can understand and will review with us as needed. She has been innovative in ways that Penelope can work for us and our needs and we have been so pleased with the support we have received.
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
I'm not sure, we have a support person who we have been meeting with via Zoom throughout the development and implementation process and who has been accessible via email for any of our needs.
Our support person was available to meet with us while moving herself across the country and was ready and available and on time. We have been nothing but satisfied with her and she has been a dream to work with.

Using Penelope by Social Solutions

Penelope has a lot of features and options which is one of the reasons why it is so great. With a lot of features also comes a lot of time to learn all of them. For someone who is part of the development and implementation process, it is a lot of learning to fully understand how everything works. This is good to know in advance when choosing a team to develop your database. The great thing about Penelope is that you can customize the features for each level of staff that will be using it so the staff only have access to the parts of Penelope that they need and will be using regularly. This makes the training process for staff a lot easier.
Like to use
Relatively simple
Well integrated
Feel confident using
Requires technical support
Lots to learn
  • The Intake Wizard is easy and quick to complete.
  • The messaging feature is easy to use.
  • Searching the database is very easy.
  • Booking events can take a while to understand.
  • Completing the service units takes a while.
  • Inputting the initial data can take a while.