TIAA skilled volunteer delivers critical nonprofit technology insights to Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth strives to protect the health of people and the planet through advocacy and fundraising.
Denise Cummings, Data Systems Administrator, shared her experience working with Apparo’s Tech Therapy service and the importance of the technology insights she gained:
“Desperation brought me to Apparo. I was hitting a wall with a quarterly task related to pulling donation and membership data used to help further our advocacy and fundraising efforts. Years ago, when we were smaller, this was as simple task in Excel, now, our donations and members have grown exponentially and the data set is impossible to manage in Excel. I tried Access, but struggled in our remote environment. I ended up breaking up the data into many files and it took about twenty hours each time.
“I understand this happens a lot when you are the technical person in a nonprofit. You can feel isolated with no one else to bounce ideas off of. I had used every trick I could think of and every idea that I had Googled and was at the end of my rope. It was so painful and I was sure there had to be a better way.
“I was researching consultants and had some consultations, but I felt that they were not understanding me. They were oversimplifying the situation and assuming some very easy fixes because they weren’t really listening to me. Then I came across Apparo and they listened. I could not believe that I could get support for free that others were charging a considerable amount for. I thought, ‘this is a dream.’”
Denise connected with Jennifer Ray, Apparo Tech Therapist, who assessed her needs and matched her to volunteer Dan Jones of TIAA. Dan helped her understand the full implications of working in a remote environment and the need to upgrade her older technology. He also identified another SQL-based solution for Denise.
In closing, Denise shares her appreciation, “Working with Apparo and our volunteer Dan Jones was so simple, straightforward and fast. Our time together was very productive and it was such a great process. While we did not end up applying this solution due to changes in our processes, a lot of good things came out of our work. I learned a lot about the implications of our remote environment and invested in upgrading my technology to help speed up many of my processes. It was such a gift, so valuable.”