The Humane Society of Charlotte has partnered with Apparo since 2017.
We checked in recently with Libby Currier, Donor Engagement Manager and Aiko Okamoto, VP of Administration, to learn about volunteer support they received from 2019 through 2021.
By working with an Apparo IT Coach volunteer, Humane Society leadership also improved their efficiency in working with Microsoft Excel.
In the summer of 2020, Libby participated in a Microsoft Excel IT Coaching clinic and was matched with CapTech volunteer Jake Rue. She explains, “I would definitely recommend IT Coaching to others. I’m good at fundraising, but not at technology. The Excel coaching was not only great training, but also great fun working with my volunteer, Jake. He was so dynamic and helpful. I knew there were so many things that Excel could do and I felt that I was limiting myself to the bare bones basics. Using one of my own worksheets, he taught me how to use formulas and new ways to manipulate my donor data for more multi-faceted functionality. This should be able to help improve fundraising effectiveness and also save time that I was spending recreating sheets for different purposes.”
Through Apparo volunteer support, Humane Society successfully migrated to SharePoint.
Denise Travers, a volunteer from Polypore, an Asahi Kasei Group Company, kicked off SharePoint migration in Spring 2019 and wrapped up in early 2021. She set up the SharePoint site, migrated the data and trained the team to ensure their successful adoption. See PDF of Project Snapshot.
Aiko shares the needs that this work addressed:
- More secure data storage space: “We had an incident where Marketing was using an external hard drive because they felt bad taking up space on our server. We ended up losing all of the data on that drive.”
- Elimination of version control issues – “People were often keeping their own versions of files in different locations.”
- Ability to to work from the cloud – “Because of the pandemic and so many members of our team working from home. We had a lot of trouble with VPN access.”
While they are just beginning to appreciate the functionality, they are already realizing benefits of saving time and improved collaboration. “We don’t have to worry about versioning and emailing files. This helps us work together across departments, locations and remote staff. It’s a team effort to fulfill our mission. We have to work together. Because it’s updated in real time, SharePoint streamlines how we work, the decisions we make together, how we work with volunteers, how we run our programs, how we fundraise and more.”
She adds, “Denise’s volunteer support was so helpful to us and she is such a great trainer for our team.” See PDF of Volunteer Spotlight.
Denise shares her perspective on volunteering with Apparo. “I volunteered before Apparo, but not using my IT skills, which actually makes it easier. I can work on it on my own time and it’s supported by our company management. The Humane Society project was nothing but positive and enjoyable. All of our project-based communications were smooth. I couldn’t have asked for an easier group to work with. They are so positive, appreciative and patient with me and my schedule. They are phenomenal people who are willing to learn and very resourceful. It was such a great experience and I’m also so appreciative of Jennifer (Ray, Apparo Program Manager), who pushed us to the finish line.”
As a result, Humane Society leadership has more time to focus on their mission and helping families in need keep their pets.
“I wear many hats,” explains Aiko. “We don’t have an in-house IT person. Now, I no longer have to worry about whether the server is down and whether people can work. I can focus on bigger things, like our capital campaign to build a new shelter.” Libby describes the importance of the new shelter, “We want people to be able to keep their pets. That’s why we chose a location with economic fragility. If you are in dire straits and need food or medication for your pet, you need to be able to access us via public transportation.”