Founded in 2007, The Independence Fund (TIF) is committed to empowering our nation’s catastrophically wounded, injured, or ill Veterans to overcome physical, mental, and emotional wounds incurred in the line of duty. They are dedicated to improving the lives of both our Veterans and their families. Through their Mobility, Caregiver, Adaptive Sports, Advocacy, and Family programs, The Independence Fund strives to bridge the gap of unmet needs for Veterans and their caregivers.
Through Apparo’s Epic Change Agent Program, this project was facilitated by volunteer Rajan Merchant of Perficient. See PDF of Project Snapshot here.
Improved technology practices and implemented trainings will allow The Independence Fund to work more effectively as an organization.
Prior to this project TIF faced difficulties collaborating on documents across the organization. Through the implementation of technology trainings and SharePoint as a shared data space for the organization, they anticipate operating more efficiently as a whole. Some initiatives they plan to implement because of this project include intro training for SharePoint and an onboarding packet for new volunteers and employees that include their technology protocols.
“This will help us all be on the same page from the start,” shared Jeremy Davis, Chief Operating Officer of The Independence Fund. He also explained, “By implementing training procedures, we will increase awareness and understanding of the day to day operations of the organization both for new and old staff. This will be a big step for us.” They also anticipate implementing data storage policies, per the technology plan recommendation. “There have been several times we’ve had to recreate documents because we can’t find them, or the most updated one isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Having everything in SharePoint will keep us more organized and efficient,” Jeremy explained.
Through the implementation of a CRM, the organization will be able to manage relationships with both donors and Veterans more effectively.
One of the biggest recommendations in the technology assessment is to implement a CRM. “We think the CRM will help give more insight into our donors and constituents, which will help us manage those relationships better on a daily basis,” Jeremy explained. The new CRM will allow TIF to capture and report on critical data without the hassle of searching through multiple systems. Through these records, and the extra time they anticipate having, the staff will be able to spend more time cultivating those important relationships.
This project will help TIF meet their goal of serving 20% more Veterans this year.
This new technology plan will help TIF serve the community more effectively through their current services, and through new initiatives that are set to be launched this year. “Our goal for 2021 is to serve 20% more veterans. Currently, we’re serving 37% more than last year thanks to the Independence at Home vice Veterans at Home program,” Jeremy shared with us.
The organization anticipates serving Veterans more effectively by better understanding their satisfaction with services through metrics. Through a combination of a new client management system, and having freed time to engage with Veterans directly, The Independence Fund anticipates closing some existing gaps. “We’re hoping to bridge the gap and really understand our Veterans, where we can improve, and where our services are benefitting them. By implementing a more thorough system to help us track these metrics, we’ll have better insight into these things we can’t currently put numbers to.”
Two new programs are set to launch in 2021, including the Veteran Justice Initiative. This is a pilot program through the state of North Carolina to better assist Veterans in crisis by working with authorities to provide proper training and tools. By implementing the recommendations provided in the technology plan, The Independence Fund will have better tools to track the effectiveness of these programs and ensure they are sustainable for many years to come.
The Independence Fund anticipates saving at least $500/month.
With their current systems in place, the organization has found that they are paying for multiple systems monthly that have some overlap in functionality. Jeremy shared with us, “This has helped us find the areas where we could mitigate some costs.” One example they shared with us was the phone system they’re currently paying for. “We pay $500 a month for the phone system we utilize, but we don’t utilize all the functions that we pay for either. We know we can reduce that cost some. We anticipate saving $500 annually at least, by moving everything to the cloud and having a central place for everything we need.”
This project proved to be a great experience for all involved.
Rajan Merchant, our Epic Change Agent from Perficient, shared his gratitude for the project, “I enjoyed working with The Independence Fund and Apparo as a Change Agent on the Technology Plan. TIF’s Veteran-focused mission is important, and I hope that our technology recommendations will help TIF more effectively serve its constituents. This was a personally fulfilling experience for me, as I was able to apply my technology expertise to support a worthwhile cause. I look forward to volunteering with Apparo on future projects!”
Jeremy also expressed his gratitude for the team as a whole, “Thank you so much for all of the work being done on both Raj [Change Agent] and Apparo’s parts. It really means the world to us. We appreciate this project more than you know. It’s putting us on the path to propel our organization forward in the right direction, and that’s going to help us drastically in the future.”