Apparo’s Tech Therapy delivers data-related support to help secure nonprofit sustainability, so that more people can get critical support to reach financial stability.
Urban League’s mission is to empower the community to reach financial stability and social justice in a global economy through education, training, placement and entrepreneurship. Their programs help anyone in need of education, skills training, career development, and employment services.
Urban League currently cannot meet demands for their services:
- Locally, they have a waitlist of 1000+ people seeking training
- Across the state, people are reaching out in need of help to serve under-resourced and communities of color in their areas
To grow to meet these needs, they must raise significantly more funds. Recognizing the importance of data as it relates to fundraising, Shamira Write, VP of Strategic Partnerships, reached out to Apparo for support in optimizing their data collection and reporting processes.
Before working with Apparo, Shamira was faced with extreme challenges in creating reports needed for grants and sharing the impact of their work with potential donors:
- Data across several applications/tools, including several Excel spreadsheets and Word documents
- Lack of organizational expertise with existing data-collection system, Apricot and inability to afford training
Through Apparo’s Tech Therapy program, Jennifer Ray assessed their needs and matched Shamira to volunteer Eric Hoffman of Moran Technology Consulting and Expert Link partner, Matt Sharp of Sharp Advising to help improve their data-related processes.
Shamira explains the significance of this work, “I remember one of the very first meetings I had with Eric and Jennifer, I broke down crying when showing them what it took to create required reporting. I had a cumbersome, massive spreadsheet with no functions or formulas. I had to enter and calculate everything manually. I knew we were making a positive impact, but I did not have the numbers to prove it.
“We were at risk of losing a $600,000 (more than half of their budget) grant because of ongoing delays in providing required reports. If we had lost it, we could not have continued to operate”.
Today, because of their Tech Therapy support, they are well positioned for nonprofit sustainability and growth.
- Not only is their grant secure, but they are also in the running for an additional substantial grant from the county because of excellence in quality and timeliness of reporting.
- Shamira has been able to apply for $8 mm more in grants, so that they can grow to serve the whole state of North Carolina.
- Staff is trained on Apricot and saving 400+ hours annual of administrative time.
- Impact metrics are at their fingertips for fundraising and were used at a recent gala to help raise $23,000 from individual donors.
Shamira shares her appreciation, “Working with Eric Hoffman was one of the most absolutely wonderful experiences of my professional career. He helped me create formulas in the spreadsheet so that I would not have to calculate anything manually. Eric and I became like family. He helped me at night and over the weekends. He is patient, kind, professional and supportive. I would not have made it through my first 90 days in this role without him.
“Matt Sharp provided affordable, amazing support with Apricot set-up and training. After several discovery sessions with our team, he helped finetune our set-up and usage of Apricot. He created a step-by-step how-to guide with pictures. Now I can use Apricot instead of that spreadsheet to run reports, saving 10-15 hours a month for me and 5-10 for three other staff members.
“Apparo and Tech Therapy helped us turn a corner. I wouldn’t have been able to save that grant without it. It’s a story of nonprofits helping nonprofits become better nonprofits. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.”
Volunteer Eric Hoffman also shared his words of appreciation for this experience, “It was great working with Shamira and the Urban League to provide an external viewpoint on how grant reporting could be improved. She inherited undocumented systems and processes that are critical to measuring the impact of their workforce development efforts for the Charlotte area, so being able to help understand her process and pain points then make the process more efficient was a very rewarding experience.”
We look forward to continuing our work with Shamira and the Urban League through their Community Impact Project.