CGI skilled volunteers selected new software to track programs, contacts and participants for Wayfinders. As a result, Wayfinders anticipates saving 50 hours/year, which will allow them to expand their program and “to serve more students with life-changing camp, enrichment, and mentoring experiences.”
Wayfinders’ mission is to ignite students’ potential by expanding their confidence, connections, and horizons. They achieve this through summer camps, year-round enrichment programs, and mentor relationships for self-motivated, underserved students. Wayfinders, formerly called the Bruce Irons Camp Fund, serves over 150 CMS students between 4th and 12th grade.
Wayfinders had been tracking their program data manually in Excel, but to meet their growth demands, they need a more efficient system. They were matched to a volunteer team from CGI who helped them identify a system that will allow for the collection, tracking, analysis, reporting and outcome measurements of their program related information. Their CGI volunteers reviewed Wayfinders’ current processes and helped them determined the best software application to support their growing organization: Neon.
Wayfinders shared news with us that they recently received a $40,000 grant, due in part to having Neon in place to track metrics. This grant will allow them to make a critical part-time hire to support the expansion of their program.
Upon implementation of Neon, Wayfinders’ leadership anticipates:
- Saving 50 hours per year in staff time, which can be spent nurturing scholar/mentor relationship and serving more students
- Increased revenue, driven by stronger ability to tell their impact story through more robust reporting
Their Executive Director, Mollie James, shared her appreciation: “Allison [Grant] from Apparo and the volunteer team from CGI were fantastic. It was so comforting knowing I had experts in the field helping me make the best choice of CRM for our organization. I can’t wait to get started using Neon — it will save us staff time, improve our ability to track and report on our impact, and allow us to serve more students with life-changing camp, enrichment, and mentoring experiences.“
CGI volunteers shared their appreciation for this volunteer opportunity:
- “Working with Wayfinders and Apparo has been very uplifting. It’s been great to see the value Wayfinders provides to the students. The best part is knowing that this project can boost Wayfinders’ positive impact to students and their lives.” – Jericho Estanislao
- Having been involved with nonprofits as a participant, volunteer, and employee, I’ve experienced most sides of the nonprofit space. The care and dedication from both Wayfinders and Apparo was plain to see, and working with organizations that truly focus on providing the greatest benefit to their constituents was a wonderful opportunity” – Jon Daniele
- “I thought it was cool and it was interesting researching all the different CRMs. It was nice helping out Wayfinders because of what they do for the community and specially helping out the kids.” – Tristen Spruill
Impact Update: Through successful implementation of Neon, Wayfinders has been able to enhance scholar experience and is well positioned for growth.
We met with Jaime Kannan Lam, Director of Development at Wayfinders, to check in on the sustained impact of our work together and the implementation of Neon. Open Impact Update in own window.
Jaime shares an overview of many of the benefits:
Streamlining of forms has freed up critical time to enhance onboarding for scholars, ensuring they make the most of all programs offered to them.
“We’ve fully implemented Neon for all of our program data and it has been amazing. It’s streamlined our work, eliminated duplication of effort, and made many of our processes a lot faster. For example, we have all new and returning scholars (170 in total) fill out to provide information about themselves. We used to do this through Google Forms and then we would move it in to an Excel spreadsheet to identify what data we needed to update. Now we do that all through a form built into Neon.
“This has freed us up to improve our scholar onboarding process. We now have the time to do welcome calls with every new scholar family to make sure they are aware of all our programs. It gives us time to get to know every scholar better, so we can make better recommendations on programs that meet their interests, helping us do more to enrich their lives.”
Neon delivers accurate data, powerfully improving fundraising processes:
“For grants, what used to take about two hours monthly is now down to 30 minutes. I used to worry about missing data or data not being updated and that is no longer an issue.”
Neon email and other functionality has supported the launch of new scholar support initiatives:
“We’ve started to do Friday emails as a resource roundup for our scholar families. We study who is clicking on certain links and follow up as needed.
“We also used Neon to launch a college and career readiness program that our families were asking for. It’s tailored to the needs of scholars based on their grade level. We would not have been able to manage it without Neon.”
Most importantly, Neon supports Wayfinders’ organizational growth through freed time, improved branding and flexibility of platform:
“No longer worrying about the accuracy of our data or having to spend time trying to track down more accurate data frees us across the organization to spend more of our time looking for creative partnerships and figuring out how our program can grow to meet the needs of our scholars. This is so helpful today, as we are in a period of growth.
“We recognize how important branding is as we grow and appreciate how Neon supports our branding across all of our materials. Every form, every ticket, it all looks like it’s a part of our website and our brand. This lends an important element of credibility and trust. We are continuously looking for ways to build trust with our families, mentors and community overall. This professionalism will help us recruit the additional mentors we need for our growth.
“As we grow and our needs change, Neon is flexible and allows us to make changes to the data we collect. We can improve the data collection process and also collect the right data to manage our programs. We can make sure that the services we are providing are the ones that our scholars need and that the way that we’re implementing those services meet them where they are, as well.”
We’re thrilled to hear this positive update and are proud to play a part in Wayfinders’ enhancement of services and organizational growth. To learn more about how your nonprofit can partner with Apparo, please visit apparo.org/nonprofits.