Includes 10-month follow-up Impact Update below!
Latin American Coalition leadership reached out to Apparo for help when they realized that they needed a technology plan in order to achieve their goals of increasing reach and support to their community.
The Latin American Coalition (LAC), also known as ‘La Coalición’, is a community of Latin Americans, immigrants and allies that promotes full and equal participation of all people in the civic, economic and cultural life of North Carolina through education, celebration and advocacy. Apparo matched LAC to a volunteer, Johann Vaz of ECR Software Corporation, to help achieve their goals of:
- increasing productivity/efficiency
- improving their budgeting
- planning for future technology initiatives and
- implementing security measures/policies
Johann assessed their current technology infrastructure, security, policies, hardware and software and made recommendations in the form of a 2-3 year technology road map. See PDF of Project Snapshot.
We met with the project team to learn more about the anticipated impact of implementing the recommendations.
“This support could not have come at a better time,” Jose Hernandez-Paris, Executive Director, shared. “It’s been difficult to move our staff towards the use of technology. That’s due to a lack of understanding of how it can help them be more efficient and due to their experiences with our current technology that does not always work the way it should. We are not going to be the same organization after this. We are investing heavily in technology to become a more efficient organization, so that we can reach more people. That’s the exciting part of having this plan to move us forward.”
LAC’s new ability to work remotely delivers pandemic-related and other long term benefits.
“The COVID-19 pandemic environment has demonstrated the need for technology,” Johann explains. “In the project recommendations, we share a lot of cost-effective ways for nonprofits to implement technology and receive the support they need.”
Jose addresses one very important pandemic related service, the ability to continue to serve their clients. “In our community there is a barrier, an invisible wall, that often blocks people from accessing services that are available to them. We have to provide the technology training, as a bridge to connect our software and services to our community. Today, because of the pandemic, we can’t do it in our computer lab, so we are looking into ways to continue this training. One of the project recommendations was to use TechSoup to take advantage of discounts. We used it to get a 50% discount on Zoom, which will help us continue our training and outreach virtually.”
Longer term, post-pandemic, the ability to work remotely will free up space to become a true cultural center for the Latin American Community, Jose shares.
Operating efficiencies will help LAC free time to focus on reaching more people, with richer service.
Jose shares one specific example. “We been wasting several hours every week dealing with our network and our printers that keep disconnecting. We look forward to resolving this so we can get that time and functionality back, so that we can support our clients with their immigration paperwork and other services.”
With a new CRM, as recommended by Johann and already purchased by LAC, Jonathan Peebles, Director of Development, shares that significant time will be saved through the use of more appropriate data fields and easily customizable reports.
Jose looks forward to dedicating more of his time to delivering mobile technology training, bringing it directly to the communities that need it.
Implementation of the technology plan will drive an increase in revenue, a longer-term decrease in expenses and enhanced security.
Jose explains that “the improvement in reporting is key for us. We can’t do events to fund raise right now, so we are focused on applying for grants. We’ll be able to ensure we have the right baselines and metrics.”
Improved metrics will also boost sharing the LAC story, which will enhance individual fundraising, as Jonathan explains.
“Our management team will have a better understanding of who we are serving and what story we are telling about our impact. We will be able to paint a much more compelling story of the support we are providing to the community at large.”
In terms of cost savings, Jose explains that “making the right investments moves our organization forward. We’re not wasting money on things that won’t work for us in the long term. We have so many different systems that we are using now, we will be able to have a cost savings in the long term by focusing on what we really need.”
LAC will also minimize risk through increased staff awareness of security risks and increased protection against threats.
In closing, the team shares appreciation for the process and each other.
Jose: “Thank you Nicola and Johann for your patience, for working through so much information, so that we could have a relevant plan to guide our work.”
Johann: “I would like to thank Jose and Jonathan for spending the time with me. It was a privilege to be invited into your office and community and to see first-hand all of the good work you are doing. I can really see the potential in the execution of these recommendations, in terms of your mission and your reach. Thank you to Nicola and her wonderful team behind the scenes who got me hooked on the Apparo model.”
Impact Update: Ten months after the project was completed, we checked in with Jonathan Peebles, Director of Development and Operations, to learn about the sustained impact.
He shares, “Before the project, data collection was a struggle, our technology was outdated and we had very minimal security policies in place. We also needed a CRM with more capabilities and to upgrade our internet and phone so that we could serve remotely.”
“Working with Johann reinforced our need to have better data collection. That’s helping bring us to the 21st century and making us a more competitive nonprofit when it comes to funding. Donors can see more a more realistic picture of what we are doing day to day. Everyone could use a Johann!”
Jonathan took us through some impact highlights.
- Digital client intake process will soon replace paper-based process and, as a result, optimize data collection related to client service
- Revamped monthly management reports improve organizational decision making
Increased revenue through new CRM, Neon:
- New revenue stream through memberships (will be rolled out soon)
- Better documentation related to donors and donations provides information needed to tailor communications, helping secure future gifts