Independence Fund leadership reached out to Apparo for support in selecting the best software solution for their data and client needs.
As a result of their Community Impact Project, The Independence Fund anticipates to not only be able to reach more Veterans, but also serve them more holistically. Currently, cumbersome technology hurdles stop some Veterans from taking advantage of the breadth of support services available. With new software in place, the wounded veteran with limited ability to enjoy the outdoors will get his new all-terrain chair, in addition to much needed financial and emotional support for his family. Not only will the family’s stress surrounding financial burdens be eased, but the deserving Veteran will be able to enjoy outdoor adventures with his children again and his wife will receive important social and emotional support at a Caregiver retreat.
Founded in 2007, The Independence Fund is committed to empowering our nation’s catastrophically wounded, injured, or ill Veterans to overcome physical, mental, and emotional wounds incurred in the line of duty. They are dedicated to improving the lives of both our Veterans and their families. Through their Mobility, Caregiver, Adaptive Sports, Advocacy, and Family programs, The Independence Fund strives to bridge the gap of unmet needs for Veterans and their caregivers.
The Independence Fund had grown significantly, from a volunteer-based nonprofit to one with a staff of 19 full time employees. They reached out for help because they are using multiple databases, applications, and spreadsheets to track donors, clients, and programs, making it difficult and cumbersome to create reports and retain historical information. Their system is also lacking in user friendliness for Veterans, their families and caregivers seeking support services.
Apparo matched them to a volunteer team from Corning Inc. who assessed their requirements, conducted marketplace research, demos, price comparisons, and provided recommendations to The Independence Fund to address their needs.
This project was facilitated by volunteer Dan Knezevic of FileSolve.
We checked in with Jeremy Davis (VP of Programs) and Sam Johnson (Executive VP Operations and Programs) upon completion of this project, to learn about its significance and anticipated impact.
“Our current system was meant to support our Mobility Program, but not our Retreat programming. We’ve piecemealed a solution together, but it’s not ideal for collecting or studying data and it’s cumbersome of our Veterans when they are applying for support services,” shares Jeremy.
Upon implementation of a new software solution, The Independence Fund anticipates increased reach and deepening of service to Veterans.
“We’ll be able to reach more Veterans and also provide more holistic support to them, their families and their caregivers,” explains Jeremy. He sees the biggest impact in:
- Reporting: “We’ll save time and also be better at reporting and analyzing our data. We’ll have better tools to assess program effectiveness to help support our management and decision making. Currently, sorting, filtering and searching is very hard.”
- Veteran user experience: “Our Veterans will have an easier process to apply for our programs, which should help us provide more holistic support. Currently, they must re-enter their data and apply separately for each program and adding attachments is a challenge. With our new system, Veterans will be inclined to apply for more services because of ease of use.”
- Holistic services: “Right now our programs are separated. When someone applies for a track chair, with our new system, it will be easy for us to know that they also qualify for financial assistance or family and caregiver programs, and offer those to them at the same time.”
- Expanded reach: “Currently we rely on our memory and the contact lists on our phones to identify new Veterans who may qualify for specific services. With our new system, we will log this information and, as a result, expand the numbers of Veterans we serve.”
An improved financial position is also anticipated.
- Better use of restricted funds in their Mobility program – Currently the number of Veterans in this program has been declining, which is not driven by a lack of need. “We know they are out there, ” shares Jeremey, and with the anticipated process improvements, the number of Veterans receiving track chairs should increase.
- Fundraising – Improved ability to capture donor data will improve donor cultivation, leading to increased donations.
All project team members share great appreciation for each other.
Sam Johnson (The Independence Fund) – “We cannot thank you all enough, Dan for facilitating, the Corning team for all of your work and Apparo for bringing us together. Thanks isn’t quite enough because your expertise is such a value add to us. We know how we will move forward to be successful and we wouldn’t be there without this effort.”
Jeremy Davis (The Independence Fund) – “We are in a better place as an organization because we know what we need. We are so grateful for you volunteering your personal time.”
Dan Knezevic (Change Agent) – “I found the experience to be quite fulfilling. To learn more about what the Independence Fund does on behalf of our nation’s Veterans and their families is very inspiring. The Corning team were great to work with – very professional, responsive, and knowledgeable which added great value to the project and overall experience.”
Rama Kandala (Corning Inc.) – “We are happy that we were able to help a nonprofit using our professional experience. Thank you to Apparo for giving us a chance. We’ll jump in for the next opportunity.”