G.A.I.N. – powered by Lowe’s
Bank of America, Softchoice and Apex Systems skilled volunteers have assisted in the selection of a donor data management system that will help Shepherd’s Center of Charlotte expand their reach of support, education and socialization for seniors.
Shepherd’s Center of Charlotte (SCC) creates connections for seniors to reduce the negative impact of social isolation. By providing learning opportunities, social activities and critical support services, SCC strives to improve life in Charlotte.
In this phase of their G.A.I.N. journey, they were matched to a corporate volunteer team from Bank of America, Softchoice and Apex Systems. They are also supported by high school student, Ronit Dey. The volunteers helped SCC with an assessment of their current state around donor data management and with selection of a new tool to best meet their needs. This project was facilitated by volunteer Change Agent, Bob Louer. The G.A.I.N. program is generously sponsored by Lowe’s and EY.
- Volunteer team:
- Bank of America – Zhanna Clarke, Oneaka Mack, Priya Parikh
- Softchoice – Phil Moroni
- Apex Systems – Jen Refsnider
- High school student – Ronit Dey
- Nonprofit team: Alissa Celek and Bethany Ridgeway
After the completion of this project, we checked in with Alissa Celek and Bethany Ridgeway to learn about the importance of this work and the anticipated impact. While they did not yet finalize their selection of a donor management tool, through this project, they have the information they need and are optimistic about the future. “It was very helpful to work with our volunteers to think through what are our must-haves and what we can do without. Now we know exactly what we need in a system.”
Their current donor data management system is cumbersome and slows down their effectiveness. As they work across multiple systems, data entry and collection requires multiple steps and is vulnerable to errors and inconsistencies. Communications activities that should be simple, like printing mailing labels, end up being quite complex and time consuming. As a result, donor communications are not up to the standards SCC would like and staff is stretched thin. As Alissa shares, “I’m so tied up in day to day operations, I don’t have the time I need to strengthen relationships with community partners and for fundraising.”
With their new system, SCC leadership anticipates:
- Increasing donor communications, which will drive improved donor retention
- Saving significant administrative time (e.g., donation accounting reconciliation should decrease from its current 20 days, to 2 days), which will free up time to connect with their seniors and to build community partnerships
- Improved accuracy and ease of reporting for grants
As a result, SCC will become more efficient and will also increase their revenue, helping them fulfill their plans to grow their reach to new locations. Alissa explains, “Right now we have one location and that is not ideal because of limited access to transportation. We need to grow to more locations so that we can provide ease of access. The grant money we’ve received for growth is important, but we need the infrastructure in place to support that expansion. With this new system, we will be able to work smarter and support our growth so that we can meet our goal of becoming the go-to place for the senior community for life long learning, social activities and support.”
Alissa shares her appreciation for their volunteers and this project, “Apparo and the project volunteers helped us to create a comprehensive set of requirements that fully represent the needs of our organization. Thanks to this experience we have found direction and anticipate our system selection will be a game changer!”