Aspire Calgary Case Study

Innovative Solutions for Poverty Alleviation: Aspire Calgary's New Data Collection Strategy

The Aspire Calgary Financial Empowerment Collaborative (Aspire) is stewarded by Momentum, a change making organization that combines social and economic strategies to reduce poverty. Aspire is a collective impact initiative dedicated to improving the financial wellbeing of low-income Calgarians by empowering their partners to implement financial empowerment strategies and interventions. Within Aspire, Rise Calgary supports 14 community partners to provide free tax filing services and distribute over $3 million annually in tax refunds to Calgarians living on lower incomes.

Rise Calgary and many community partners recognized the potential to enhance their program and data collection for deeper insights to inform future programming but were unsure where to start or what the process would entail.


The 14 Aspire community partners which offer free tax clinics through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) each had unique methods for tracking and recording impact data. Some used paper forms that were later scanned into computers, while others relied on spreadsheets or various tools for data management. This diversity in data collection approaches posed a significant challenge for Aspire, making it difficult to consistently track the program’s overall impact in a timely manner. Consequently, multiple rounds of volunteer engagement were necessary each year to consolidate, clean, and analyze the impact data.

In response to this issue, we formulated the following challenge statement:

How might we automate the Aspire tax support data collection process to reduce the time, money, and resources required for consolidating tax support data?


In collaboration with Rise Calgary and members of the Aspire community, V2I utilized our expertise in human-centered design and design thinking to delve into the challenge, brainstorm potential solutions, and develop and refine a new data collection process. 

We conducted discovery interviews with 12 individuals from the Aspire tax clinics to understand their processes, needs, and challenges related to data collection. Based on our findings, we prioritized success criteria and presented several software options to several Aspire stakeholders. Forms on Fire was selected, and we worked with them to create and test an automated data collection form with 9 members of the Aspire community in late 2023. The initial pilot revealed that, despite needing some adjustments, the new process saved time for all parties involved.

To further refine the process and assess its impact, we conducted a second, larger pilot with the entire Aspire community during the busy tax season of February – April 2024. With valuable feedback from Aspire community members and technical support from Forms on Fire, we refined the data collection process, developed two form pathways to better meet the needs of all agencies, and made the form more user-friendly by clarifying language and definitions for any confusing questions. 

Overall, the 14 agencies within the Aspire community tested the new data collection process for seven weeks during their busiest season, then provided feedback on its value and time savings.

The Impact

During the two months of the second pilot, close to 5,000 forms were processed, representing around 5,000 low-income Calgarians supported through the program. Unlike previous years, when it took between two to six months to receive impact numbers, this information was available to Aspire and Rise Calgary as soon as it was entered into the system. This enabled Aspire to observe Aspire community partners’ positive impact in the community immediately. 

Key insights from respondents:

Additionally, the new process adds significant time savings by eliminating the need to:

From our Partner


Follow Us
Stay updated with our latest news online.

Application Form