Caterpillar Ministries reached out to Apparo for help to identify the best family, volunteer, and donor management tool for their nonprofit.
Caterpillar Ministries focuses on supporting the well-being of families. They offer their neighbors services including early literacy, tutoring, job training, summer camps, and summer internships. The organization also provides individual and community wide assistance with clothing, food, school supplies, and holiday gifts. Caterpillar Ministries has experienced massive growth and is serving over 300 children and adults. Future goals include expanding into new neighborhoods and opening a new location. It’s critical for the organization to have an effective way to track, manage, and serve their existing and new clients.
They reached out to Apparo seeking a corporate volunteer team to help identify a CRM system that would allow them to more efficiently manage, track, report, and communicate with volunteers, current and potential donors, and families. Apparo matched them to a volunteer team from American Tire Distributors who assessed their current processes for volunteers, donors, & families, conducted marketplace research, facilitated demos, and recommended the best solution to implement based on Caterpillar Ministries’ needs. This project was part of Apparo’s Epic program, facilitated by volunteer Change Agent, Leslie Pack.
The organization has a small staff and many volunteers. Caterpillar Ministries needed a system to correctly track, collect, and store important documents pertaining to families, volunteers, and donors. In addition to needing an effective system, Caterpillar Ministries wanted to reduce the manual effort of reporting, be able to collect and track a wide range of data, and have capabilities to understand donor trends, track attendance, and report various analytics. As a result of this project, Caterpillar Ministries chose Servant Keeper as their management solution. See PDF of Project Snapshot.
Sarah explained the importance of this project. “This process helped to ask the questions that we wouldn’t know to ask. If I didn’t have this project, choosing a tool would have been put at the bottom of priorities in comparison to everything else. This became a priority, like it should have been, and I’m thankful for that.”
Caterpillar Ministries’ new management tool, Servant Keeper, is anticipated to save over 1,000 hours annually, while positioning the organization to fulfill their mission more effectively.
Prior to this project, Caterpillar Ministries was using an Excel sheet to track volunteers and paper to track their families. Prior to COVID-19, the organization had 18 programs running, and manual attendance took at least 10 minutes per program. With Servant Keeper, name tags will be printed as attendance is tracked,
which will only take 1-2 minutes. With a decrease in the manual entry and tracking needed, the organization is anticipating saving over 1,000 hours of staff time annually, which equates to more than $13,000. Another big win for Caterpillar Ministries will be their ability to track food distribution. Currently, it is manually tracked on a whiteboard and re-entered into a spreadsheet. Tracking in-kind donations takes the organization roughly 2 hours a day, which will be drastically decreased to only 10-15 minutes per day. This time saved will allow staff to focus more on serving their families and fulfilling their mission. Sarah explained, “people can get lost through the cracks right now, and this will help solve that problem.” The manual aspect of managing clients will be practically nonexistent, as Servant Keeper will help Caterpillar Ministries streamline communications to their clients. These communications include streamlined emails to volunteers, donors, and families, while also being able to schedule text messaging to communicate with clients. Currently it takes 4 people within the organization 30 minutes a day to text clients, and Servant Keeper will decrease this time to only a few minutes.
Servant Keeper will also provide the ability for the organization to tell their full story, leading to the potential for increased grant and funding opportunities.
Having an easier way to track and pull data will allow the Caterpillar Ministries team to show their board members and other constituents the growth they’re experiencing in a quantitative way. The ability to track donors and overall revenue will set the organization up to be more confident in their metrics. This will allow the organization to position themselves more effectively when grant and funding opportunities arise.
Information will be stored in a secure location, which will mitigate risk across the organization.
The staff of Caterpillar Ministries sometimes finds themselves relying on remembering information until they’re able to write it down. Not only does this create the risk of forgetting information and losing it, but there’s also the risk of misplacing the written records. Overall, the information will be more secure within the system, protecting the records of clients from being seen, stolen, or destroyed accidentally.
In the midst of expanding, Caterpillar Ministries will be able to increase their reach in a more effective way.
One of Caterpillar Ministries’ biggest concerns was the growth they’re experiencing and how they could keep up with it. Now, as they grow, they feel confident that they will not only be able to serve more families, but that they will be able to do so in a more effective way. Prior to the implementation of Servant Keeper, there was no way to segment families by demographics, neighborhood, or other useful segments. Now, these segmentations will be possible so Caterpillar Ministries can serve their families in specific, necessary ways that they weren’t able to prior. The new system will also allow them to stay connected to “old” volunteers while coordinating and cultivating relationships with new ones. Volunteers will no longer fall through the cracks, but relationships will be maintained which will increase the volunteering at Caterpillar Ministries.
This project was a great experience for all involved.
At our wrap up meeting, all involved expressed how great this experience was. Sarah explained that “now we won’t be overwhelmed with the mundane, so we can focus on the important” which will allow for the organization’s growth to be at the forefront of priorities. Our Epic Change Agent, Leslie, expressed her gratitude for this project as well: “I loved this experience. I learned a lot about managing volunteers and using my influence skills. I was really happy with the progress, how we worked together, and thought through the solution.” Leslie helped facilitate and manage the project from the beginning through. Jennifer Styczen, one of our volunteers from American Tire Distributors, explained what a meaningful volunteer opportunity this was: “It was a great experience and I appreciated being able to help and provide the skills that I have somewhere outside of my everyday job. To be able to help an organization that makes an impact like Sarah’s feels great.”