Camino Community Center came to Apparo for a technology plan to help ensure they are able to best serve their community, while growing rapidly.
Camino Community Center focuses on equipping all people to live healthy, hopeful, and productive lives. Since 2003, Camino has served low-income families in the greater Charlotte area through a free health clinic, mental health clinic, thrift store, homeless outreach program, and a variety of other health and human services. The community center is bilingual and multicultural, bridging gaps between language and cultural barriers for families in need.
Camino Community Center has experienced a great amount of growth over the last few years. The organization has put various technology solutions in place in order to sustain their growth. They reached out to Apparo seeking a corporate volunteer team to help them gain a better understanding of their current technology landscape in order to ensure they have the right technology and systems in place to continue to move their organization forward. Apparo matched them with a volunteer team from Duke Energy who conducted a strategic technology assessment and provided a prioritized roadmap for improvements.
After their Community Impact Project wrapped up, we checked in with Steve Sellers, Executive Director, and Peter Nyberg, CFO, to learn about the anticipated impact of implementing the project recommendations.
Steve explains the importance of this work, “Lack of IT standardization and support has been slowing us down. All of our growth is dependent on having the right technology platforms in place and the right support in place, so that we can work consistently remotely and across sites.” Peter adds, “We waste a lot of time dealing with finding files, addressing version control problems and solving technical problems. It’s frustrating for our staff to be dealing with issues outside of their skill sets and outside of their work role.”
As a result of implementing the project recommendations, Camino Community Center anticipates saving 100+ hours a week.
Peter shares, “Organizational productivity will be increased significantly. Our 50 staff members spend at least 2 hours a week each chasing their tails, searching and dealing with things that just aren’t working as they should. That’s $104,000 a year of labor value that we’ll be able to regain.”
Steve adds, “Once we have a file structure set up for storage, we will have increased consistency and standardization in how we use forms and we’ll spend less time searching for the items we need. Our staff will have more time to spend serving our community.”
This increased efficiency will improve employee job satisfaction and free bandwidth to support the organizations incredible growth, doubling the number of people served over the past year.
“With less frustrations and fewer disruptions, our staff will have increased employee satisfaction. They will have more time to help support some of our new programs,” explains Peter. Steve adds this may help minimize expenses as “we should be able to offset some of the new hiring requirements for our new programs.”
Camino touched 25,000 lives on campus in 2019 and anticipates to doubling that in 2020. Because of the pandemic, their food pantry expanded service from 2 days to 5 days a week and increased number of families served tenfold.
New programming will deliver richer service and also more revenue for Camino Community Center.
Peter explains that the new programming is focused on serving their constituents more holistically, “to understand the whole person, address all of their issues so that we can connect them to right resources to achieve sustainable transformation for themselves and their families. Our focus in not only increasing the number of people we serve, but on delivering true life transformation.”
One of the new programs will not only deliver new mental health services to hundreds of their constituents, but also be eligible for Medicaid reimbursements, driving increased revenue for Camino.
Camino has also recently launched:
- Camino Vida – delivering integrated health and wellness services for those with chronic illnesses
- Two mobile health clinics to reach and serve those in marginalized communities
Implementing project recommendations will also help mitigate risk and improve analytic capabilities, which in return will drive improve service to their constituents.
Steve shares, “Having a secure server and standardized security policies in place will ensure the safety of our financial and medical data and will minimize any business interruption risk.”
He adds that they will also be better at data analytics, hoping to build social determinants of health tracking into their new database, so they that are better are measuring the impact of their services.
Project participants shared their appreciation for the project and each other.
Steve Sellers – “These were not new problems for Camino. We’ve struggled with these issues for a long time, but never addressed them. We needed a plan and someone to shepherd us. This engagement pushed us to take the steps necessary make our IT needs a higher strategic priority.
With Allison’s [Grant, Apparo] expert facilitation, the Duke Energy volunteers were well positioned to provide the right input. Apparo brings a unique nonprofit perspective to the table that we would otherwise not have had. Without Apparo and our volunteer team, we would have spent a lot more money on a consultant. Now we have the platform we need to take it from here. I have a world of confidence that we are going to have what we need in place soon.”
Peter Nyberg – “The Apparo team has been instrumental in helping Camino understand the current state of its technology. We are extremely grateful for the work they have done and the recommendations they have made. We are in the process of recruiting for an IT Coordinator who will begin implementing soon. Thanks again for a productive engagement.”
Helen Sharp, Duke Energy, volunteer – “This was a great experience working for a nonprofit, learning about their goals and need for a focus on IT. Although my experience is not deeply technical, I felt my input still benefited the discussions and provided value to the project team.”
Jesus Macias, Duke Energy, volunteer – “Overall this experience was really satisfying. From being able to collaborate with different departments within Duke Energy to helping grow a nonprofit to being able to go on-site to see how our recommendations and advice will be used to impact people is so many ways through Camino, it has all been amazing to be a part of.”