An Apparo Nonprofit Partner since 2011
We sat down to catch up with Angie Bush, Executive Director of Hospitality House of Charlotte (HHOC). HHOC provides the comforts of home to families of seriously ill loved ones by offering affordable accommodations in the heart of Charlotte’s medical community. Apparo and HHOC have been partnering since 2011. Our work together began with HHOC participation in our Technology Innovation Award program (now Mission Possible Award program.) Later, they returned to Apparo for a needs assessment and then a migration to Office 365 through our Tech Therapy service. In 2016, HHOC also received a Community Impact Project which delivered a technology plan and, through the generosity of their corporate volunteer, much needed new hardware. In 2017, HHOC received training in WordPress. Today, HHOC continues to receive Tech Therapy as they seek new options for improving communications and more. Across services received to data, HHOC has received a 27X return on their investment.
HHOC’s journey with Apparo is depicted below (see PDF version):
Angie describes her past pain points and the benefits of working with Apparo.
Vendor relationships – From mistrust and overpayment to powerful relationship and cost savings
“Before Apparo, when we needed new solution to make things run more efficiently, we were talking to vendors who just wanted to make the sale. It wasn’t necessarily what was best for us. I needed help to make sure we were spending donor dollars judiciously,” explains Angie. Today, “I have a safe partner to bounce ideas off of, to make sure what we’re getting is compatible and will be long lasting.”
The cost savings delivered by working with trusted Apparo vendors has also been significant. “We were paying almost double to our tech support provider, a flat fee and then a charge per call. The variable expense was hard to manage. Now we are saving significantly.”
After Apparo training on WordPress, HHOC has been able to tackle most website edits without a vendor. “It was ridiculous. We were paying $125/hour for simple changes. The training and the teacher were great and now we can take on most edits on our own.”
Workplace – From staff frustration to job satisfaction and increased efficiency
“No one wants to be the one to deliver bad news,” which HHOC front desk staff had to do frequently when their systems were down, says Angie. “Now everyone is less stressed.” Employees can now also effectively work from home, as they are able to rely on Office 365 and files stored in Box. “In the past, they could plan to work from home via VPN,” but it would often fail them, requiring them to come back into the office.
Even back at the office, there were often frustrations with the server crashing. “We were on a server from 2008 and it would crash frequently. Work would cease, especially as related to finance, with no access to QuickBooks.” Not being able to address any problems in house was another pain point. “Now with Office 365 we can do a lot of fixes ourselves.”
Apparo WordPress training not only delivered a much appreciated “valuable perk” of professional development to staff, but also enabled a high degree of self-sufficiency.
Client satisfaction – Decrease in stress and improved stay experience
The most important impact of any of Apparo’s work is how we help our Nonprofit Partners fulfill their missions. “We want to deliver solutions to people at this stressful time. Because of our work with Apparo we are delivering a better experience to families.” Before working with Apparo, because of technology limitations, guests would often get held up at the front desk when the hoteling system or the credit card system was down. “All we could do was offer them a cup of coffee and ask them to wait, but they didn’t want coffee, they wanted to get back to the hospital.”
HHOC has also been able to improve their wifi, another important details for people who are likely going to need to be able to do their work remotely and communicate regularly with family back home.
Fundraising – Improved effectiveness
“People who have a better experience when they stay with us are more likely to donate. Since we’ve made our technology improvements and are delivering a better experience, more people are donating when they check out.”
With easy access to our documents in the cloud, “when we’re having a meeting with a potential donor, we can look up information quickly. It communicates that we know what we’re doing and makes fundraising more effective.”
“I know what I know, but I’m not a technology person,” explains Angie. “Working with Apparo has had a huge impact on our organization.”