Slalom skilled volunteers delivered a business process assessment and plan to United Way of Central Carolinas to help set them up for success to become more efficient and effective as their organization evolves.
The United Way of Central Carolinas fights for the education, health and financial stability of every person in our community. Their work includes Unite Charlotte, United Neighborhoods, Impact Grants, and support of community partners that provide basic needs, financial stability, education and health. They serve families, friends and neighbors in need throughout four counties in the Charlotte region – Anson, Cabarrus, Charlotte/Mecklenburg and Union. As United Way of Central Carolinas continues to grow and evolve their programs and strategy to meet community needs, the leadership team recognizes it would be an ideal opportunity to assess and evaluate their organization’s technology landscape and identify opportunities to support this transformation. Apparo matched them to a volunteer team from Slalom to assess their technology, infrastructure, operations, and security, in order to deliver an assessment and plan.
After the project completed, we met with UWCC leadership to learn more about its significance and anticipated impact. Bob Young, Chief of Staff, shares, “We were in change mode in terms of grant making and fundraising. Knowing we were moving in new directions made us ask whether the technology resources we have in place are the best ones to set us up for success. We know Apparo and knew that you could help guide us; that you would know the questions that we wouldn’t even know to ask.”
Cassie Boesch, Director of Marketing Strategy & Performance, adds, “We questioned whether we would be forcing our existing technology tools to do work that they weren’t really meant to be doing. We knew that we could be more efficient since we were using multiple systems that weren’t able to talk to each other. As we plan to grow and evolve our organization, we want to be more efficient.”
Through the business process assessment and plan delivered by Slalom volunteers, UWCC is expected to experience many benefits, including more time to deliver support to their non-profit grantees.
Cross-training of staff will drive efficiency, mitigate risk and free time for key staff to focus on researching new technology tools needed to meet changing organizational needs. Kendra Green, AVP of Donor Operations, explains, “More people having knowledge will make us more efficient. We won’t lose time waiting for that one person who has the information we need.”
Implementing a project management tool will help improve communications, project coordination and efficiency across the organization. Bob explains, “We haven’t implemented a system before that allowed us to have a full understanding of organizational initiatives. It’s an opportunity for us for sharing more knowledge across departments and will help things move more quickly.”
Importantly, grantees will benefit from these efficiencies. Bob says, “We’ll have more time to give grantees more non-monetary support.”
The assessment delivered by Slalom also helped prioritize technology v. process pain points. This is critical, as Cassie explains, “We needed this before we embark on our technology assessment and selection. Now we are clear on our priorities.”
Project team members shared additional appreciation for the work that Slalom conducted:
- Kendra Green -“Sometimes when we’re working with consultants, they understand us a little bit, but not enough. It can be a painful experience. Working with Slalom and Apparo was a joyful experience. You really took the time to understand us. This was a good process and good will come from it to move us forward. Thank you.”
- Adelaide Martin (COO) – “The assessment gave us a good lay of the land. It helped us see many viewpoints.”
- Cassie Boesch – “It gave us a timeline for things we’ve been talking about for years, like succession planning and having a centralized planning process. It’s going to help us work smarter, not harder.”
- Janice Hannigan (Senior Development Operations Manager) – “The visuals were very helpful for me. They allowed me to see that we could streamline to fewer software applications and to understand more of the organization as a whole.”
- Bob Young – “You made the time to understand where our today, not only with our technology, but also our culture and processes, which was critical. You gave us a roadmap and playbook to run with. It gives us methods, timeframes and sequencing. We’re hugely appreciative.”
Slalom volunteer Hannah Reitzel Rivera shares her appreciation, “I believe in what you are doing and really enjoyed working on this with you. I’ve done a lot of volunteer work in my life, but this is my first with Apparo. It’s a very different kind of volunteering because of the way you facilitate and because of the access to leaders of the nonprofit organization. This makes it easier to get the work done. Thank you for the opportunity.”
We look forward to continuing our work with the UWCC in an upcoming Community Impact Project during which a new team of volunteers will assess their current grant making/tracking software system and help identify potential new system(s) that will better support their needs.