Hylaine skilled volunteers helped optimize Book Harvest’s data storage processes and strategy to ensure nonprofit sustainability as they expand their literacy services across the state of North Carolina
Book Harvest provides books and ongoing literacy support to children and families who need them in the Triangle region of North Carolina, ensuring that children are lifelong learners, start kindergarten ready to learn, combat summer learning loss once they are in school, and identify as readers.
Book Harvest leadership reached out to Apparo for support to create the best strategy for file storage as their organization grows across the state. Through Apparo’s Community Impact Project service, they were matched to a skilled volunteer team from Hylaine who assessed their current processes, helped select Microsoft 365 as the right platform and designed a file storage strategy for the organization.
- Skilled Volunteer Team: Hylaine
- Darryl Miller
- Chase Cupp
- Mike Winters
- Michael Ellis
- Nonprofit Participant
- Kate Panuska, Book Harvest
After the project was completed, we checked in with Kate Panuska, Operations and Finance Director, to learn about the significance of this work and the anticipated impact.
Kate shares, “When I joined the organization four years ago, I noticed room for improvement in how we stored and organized files. We had no consistent methodology, so finding files, especially for new employees, was challenging. While this wasn’t ideal, it was ok, given our small size. Now that we are growing rapidly, I knew it wasn’t sustainable. We needed the right infrastructure.”
Over the past four years, Book Harvest has tripled their staff and increased their reach of children served by 30% (5,000 more children) to help meet demand across the state. Their indirect services are also growing at a rapid pace. For example, they plan to triple the number of Book Harvest Book Boxes in Durham alone by next year.
“I don’t have a technical person on staff and was feeling overwhelmed without the right support. I needed the right strategic partner to help with project and change management. It was daunting until we met Apparo and our Hylaine volunteers.”
Book Harvest faced problems that put their nonprofit sustainability at risk in this time of growth
- Wasted time searching for files
- Slow onboarding process for new employees due to challenges finding information they needed
- Risk of losing insitutional knowledge due to undocumented program information and processes
- Unsure of security and unable to deliver access/permission for individuals and groups
Today, they are positioned for successful nonprofit growth
- Secure Microsoft 365 environment
- Able to deliver permissions and access in the way needed for individuals and teams
- Institutional knowledge is protected
- Staff has a system and structure for document organization and can find the files they need with ease
- Onboarding time will be cut down by 2/3 – from six months to only two, as new staff have easy access to manuals and other documentation needed for their roles
- Documentation of processes, plans and strategies will be more likely to be followed because they will stay in the forefront
- As team works on creating manuals for their roles, they will be able to find the data they need to create the manual and then the manuals themselves will be easy to find
In closing, Kate shares her words of appreciation, “Apparo and Allie (Lavallee, Apparo Special Projects Coordinator) were invaluable as the translator of Book Harvest’s needs. Because of Apparo and Hylaine, this transition is going to be as painless as possible for our team. I was so pleasantly surprised with how supported I felt throughout this gentle, thorough process. I never felt talked down to. I felt like I had collaborators and partners. With the support and thought partnership delivered, we are ready. We have a plan and a timeline and we are good to go to make this change.”
Volunteers also share words of appreciation:
- Darryl Miller – “Volunteering with Apparo to support Book Harvest was such an enjoyable experience and I’m so glad that they were able to leverage our skills and experience in the best way possible. I personally really enjoyed the experience of partnering with my Hylaine colleagues as we worked together on this project. “
- Mike Winters – “I’m especially appreciative of Allie and Apparo for keeping us so organized. Partnering with Apparo was a great experience, and it’s rewarding to be able to give back to the community and do some good.”
- Michael Ellis – “It was exciting for me to have this opportunity to work with Apparo and my colleagues to do some very impactful work. Apparo and Allie delivered first class project management. As someone with a fervent passion for reading, it was particularly meaningful to contribute to an initiative that fosters a love for reading in others.”
As a next step, we look forward to working with Book Harvest to amplify their team SharePoint skills via our Team Training service.