Young Black Leadership Alliance sought help to find the right donor management solution for their organization.
Young Black Leadership Alliance (YBLA) identifies, educated and develops young black leaders to have a positive impact on their community and beyond, ensuring that they are college and career ready. They currently support 300 high school students, 80+ college students and 20+ young working professionals.
YBLA reached out to Apparo for support because they were confident that new donor management software, replacing their use of multiple systems and spreadsheets, would provide a lift in their ability to fulfill their mission. Apparo matched them to two corporate volunteers (Paul Happel from Google and Cheryl Baker from Duke Energy), to assess their current data tracking processes and determine the best integrated software application for them to store, track and leverage donor data.
We checked in recently with John Martin (CEO & President) and Princess Mayfield (Executive Administrative Assistant) to learn about the anticipated impact of implementing Neon, the donor management tool selected through this Community Impact Project.
John explains the importance of this project, “Over the years, we’ve been collecting systems. Whenever we needed to solve a problem, we added a new tool, from Excel to Mailchimp to two donor management tools: Network for Good and MobileCause. We now have donor data in too many places. As we build out our donor management processes, this has become problematic. We need to get our data into one integrated system.”
Implementation of Neon will save 60+ hours of staff time annually.
- Data entry – With Neon, donor/donation information will only need to be entered into one system.
- Donor thank you call tracking – Currently, Princess manually creates an Excel spreadsheet for volunteer Student Ambassadors to track their needed thank-you calls to donors. Neon will automate this process.
- Weekly donation and Board reporting – Neon will also automate this process.
- Annual fundraising gala – Neon will help automate the reconciliation process which normally takes 8-10 hours.
The new system is anticipated to have a strong positive financial impact by enabling improved donor cultivation and reducing expenses.
- The automation will help reduce the potential for human error, which currently may lead to donors not being thanked.
- Improved reporting will allow for richer insights into donors. As John explains, “Currently, creating customized donor reports is a very painful process.”
- Neon features will help them build out a system to cultivate those who currently only donate once through their Student Ambassador’s peer-to-peer initiatives.
- Neon can also be used to automate donor communications.
- YBLA will save $2,500 by moving to Neon and replacing their two current systems. This is extremely significant to the organization during the difficult pandemic-related situation. “Reducing costs without reducing people is a big deal. We’ve had to reduce people,” John shares.
The combined impact of saved time and increased funds will have an overall powerful impact on YBLA’s ability to build future leaders.
John shares, “Bringing in more donors and being more efficient, allows us to work more towards fulfill our mission, to do more with young people to meet our goals.”
As we met again to wrap up the project, the team members shared their appreciation for Apparo and each other.
Princess: My experience on this project was wonderful overall! Being able to have Apparo pull everyone together that was needed on this project to assist our organization really helped. The volunteers that assisted us were top notch and patient. The volunteers listened to what we wanted and needed and were able to find vendors that matched us best, while also setting up some demos to help us determine what platform was best for our organization. I loved that we did not feel rushed to make a decision, we were allowed to move at our own pace, which was appreciated. Thank you Apparo for assisting in this way!!
John: The project with Apparo was an amazing experience. It was great to have a team of people working on our behalf to help us achieve our goals to improve the way we do business. The Apparo team was super knowledgeable and organized. They were able to secure two highly qualified skilled volunteers to lead the project. We could not have achieved the project without the Apparo team and our volunteers. The best thing is we ended up with a great system that will grow with us, we saved some money with our new system, and we will be more efficient. All of this will allow us to spend more time focused on our mission to develop young leaders! Thank you Apparo for your great partnership.
Paul: I volunteer to help my community and this opportunity was unique for me because it not only involved positive uplifting contributions to the community, but included needs I could use some of my tech skills with as well. In addition to becoming a learning experience for me, I’m so happy to be helping out an amazing non-profit organization as the Young Black Leadership Alliance. During both the pandemic and the additional elevation of social injustice, this really underscored more for us how important organizations like YBLA are to the community in addition to the need to operate more efficiently to help maintain their goals. I felt great pride in this work for better donor management solutions, and feel great we found a solution to simplify and streamline tooling for YBLA, saving time and increasing ease of management for the organization. The staff and volunteers with YBLA and Apparo have all been so amazing to work with and the pillars of YBLA of Leadership, Service, and Education are strong values we can all believe in today, more than ever!
In 2020, volunteers from Google and Duke Energy assisted YBLA with selecting a new donor management application, Neon. Since completing the project, YBLA has been able to consolidate systems and streamline donor data processes saving staff over 150 hours annually.
One year after the completion of their Community Impact Project with Google and Duke Energy skilled volunteers, we checked back in with YBLA leadership to learn about the impact of the work. Since the implementation of Neon, YBLA decommissioned 4 systems and consolidated the data into Neon. As a result of this consolidation, YBLA streamlined their processes, saving staff over 150 hours annually. The time saved has allowed YBLA to focus on the build out of their recently implemented student membership portal. John Martin, CEO & President of YBLA, commented, “Not having to spend so much time figuring out where the data is stored and where it is coming from, has allowed us to have more time to focus on our customized student membership portal and create a more positive membership experience.”
Apparo is excited to work with YBLA on another project in the coming months. During this next project, we will take a closer look at Neon to determine how the organization can take full advantage of the tool’s functionality and automation features.