The Epiphany School of Charlotte reached out to Apparo for support in expanding their fundraising capabilities, so they could set and meet new growth plans.
Epiphany is a nonprofit, independent day school bringing exceptional academic, social and emotional programs to extraordinary children in grades 3 through 9 with Asperger’s or other communication differences and with average to above average intelligence. Epiphany leadership knew that in order to even consider new growth goals, they would need to extend their current fundraising initiatives and would need a donor management tool in place to support them.
To support Epiphany in their goals, Apparo matched them with a volunteer team from ACN: Shenata Allen, Yemi Mateola and Ken McLamb. The team helped Epiphany find the right tool to efficiently manage, track, report and communicate with current and potential donors, while building capabilities to understand donor trends and other fundraising analytics.
The “invaluable” support provided by Apparo and ACN has positioned Epiphany to make the best donor management tool choice and double fundraising revenue within the first year.
We checked in recently with Erin Morris, Executive Director of Epiphany, who first worked with Apparo in 2017 when they were matched with a corporate volunteer team from Jabian Consulting for a business process landscape assessment. One of the recommendations from that Community Impact Project was to obtain a donor management system to support new fundraising initiatives. Epiphany has had an annual fund, but no other fundraising to date.
Erin reached back out to Apparo in 2020 for support in fulfilling these recommendations, “building a culture of philanthropy”, and achieving a goal of doubling fundraising revenue through campaigns, events and donor cultivation.
“We were ready to focus on growth and knew that we would need to expand our fundraising in order to grow. All signs point to our ability to grow our fundraising exponentially, but we needed this system in place. This year’s goal was $25,000. Next year we want to expand to $50,000.”
Apparo matched Epiphany to a corporate volunteer team from ACN who assessed the school’s needs and created an “invaluable” evaluation matrix for comparing donor management systems. Erin recently shared with us that she will be leaving Epiphany before the next school year (in addition to other meaningful turnover in the Board and staff), so the actual selection of the system will be made by the new Executive Director.
Erin explains, “We had not heard of any of these databases, but now we are prepped and ready to make the best possible decision for our school. This project gave us an incredible nugget: the template for how to assess the different systems. Without this project, we would have searched online on our own, without consideration of details that might cause us trouble later. Our ACN volunteers helped us think about the transfer of money, compliance issues, implementation time and security issues. I would never have known to ask those questions. Also, we might have been oversold and would never have known. They helped us see what we were getting for the money and showed us that there are good options that we could afford and also grow with.”
We also asked Erin about the impact of the pandemic and their ability to support their children remotely. She says, “we are very proud and pleased. We were ahead of the curve and ready. It connects back to our first Apparo project. It was a really difficult year, and having the clarity it delivered was everything to me.”
In closing, Erin shares, “Yemi, I cannot thank you and your ACN team enough! Apparo has yet again been a light in our tunnel to show us the way.”