Jabian Consulting skilled volunteers worked with Loaves & Fishes / Friendship Trays to help select the best donor management tool to support their newly merged organizations. As a result of this new system, Loaves & Fishes / Friendship Trays anticipates saving over 1,150 hours of staff time annually.
For nearly five decades, Loaves & Fishes and Friendship Trays worked collaboratively under independent missions to provide food to those in need in Mecklenburg Co. Loaves & Fishes provides nutritious groceries for neighbors in need through a network of emergency food pantries and a new home delivery program. Friendship Trays is the primary Meals on Wheels program in Charlotte-Mecklenburg delivering meals to the elderly and infirm. The two organizations merged on May 1, 2021.
Directly following the merger, Loaves & Fishes / Friendship Trays used two separate donor solutions. As part of the merger process, the organization needed assistance determining an interim process for managing donor data as well as identifying the best target state donor management solution. The volunteer team from Jabian Consulting assessed current business processes around donor management for each organization and recommended changes to streamline processes onto one tool as an interim process. Once this interim process was identified, the team from Jabian worked with Loaves & Fishes / Friendship Trays to document business requirements for a future state donor system and develop evaluation criteria for assessing multiple vendors. The team conducted vendor demos and worked together to evaluate each against the requirements to support Loaves & Fishes / Friendship Tray’s software solution decision.
As a result of this project, donor management, data entry and reporting will be simplified and it is anticipated that staff will save over 1,150 hours annually. This time saved will be used to increase the number of donor programs with the goal of increasing donor retention, adding new donors and strengthening relationships with existing donors. Loaves & Fishes / Friendship Trays currently has a 40% donor retention rate and with the new tool, anticipates increasing that rate to 50%-60%.
Increased time available to staff along with an increase in revenue will mean that the organization has the capability to expand programs and serve more people. Lucy Mitchell, Chief Development Officer, shared, “We want to see both the meal delivery and grocery programs continue to grow. Our mission is not just about feeding people, we want to feed them well. We want to provide quality, nutritionally balanced food that families want to eat. An increase in revenue means that our organization can purchase the quality food that we aim to provide.”
In addition, the new system will decrease the risk of manual data entry or reporting errors and will improve permissioning capabilities to ensure users have appropriate access to the data. The new system will also reduce annual costs by $7,500.
Skilled volunteers from Jabian Consulting, Ali Stunja and Allen Jeffers, contributed over 100 hours to the project and delivered a project worth over $30,000.
Mitchell shared her gratitude for the volunteers, “From the first meeting in August 2021 through our final meeting, Jabian’s Ali Stunja and Allen Jeffers provided outstanding guidance from reviewing the gift entry procedures for two sets of software our newly merged organization was using to helping us select a new CRM. They were easy to work with, asked questions that made us think, and kept us on task. Prior to meeting with them, we were a bit wary of the process. Allison and Allen made it interesting and kept us engaged. They were supportive and positive, true professionals. They even recruited a volunteer group of Jabian employees to come pack food boxes. How cool is that! What was once a dream is now becoming a reality as we streamline a very manual process to better steward our donors. We are so grateful to Ali and Allen for helping us achieve this dream which will most importantly, allow us to feed our neighbors in need.”
Jeffers shared his experience on the project, “From creating detailed process maps that now hang inside the walls of the Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays facility to evaluating potential donor management partners, we at Jabian greatly enjoyed collaborating with an organization that makes a positive impact on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community every day.”