Charlotte Rescue Mission was in need of help to select the best fundraising and financial information management applications.
Because of this Community Impact Project, Charlotte Rescue Mission (CRM) will be well positioned to raise the funds they need to expand their Rebound program to serve 100 additional men each year. That’s 100 additional lives turned around from addiction and given the support they need to achieve sobriety, stable housing & employment and healthy relationships.
CRM provides a residential recovery programs that help men and women struggling with addiction achieve long-term sobriety. Rebound is CRM’s 90-day residential program empowering men to move beyond cycles of homelessness and addiction to become productive citizens in the community.
CRM reached out to Apparo for assistance in identifying the best solutions for collection, sharing, tracking, analyzing and reporting of donor/grant data and their financials. Apparo matched them to a corporate volunteer team from Hylaine who reviewed their current donor/grant and financial processes and helped them select two new applications to replace Blackbaud: Virtuous for fundraising management and Intacct for accounting. This project was generously sponsored by Bank of America. See PDF of Project Snapshot.
Upon completion of this project, we checked in with Sharon Bremer (Director of Development), Lisa Holmgren (Controller) and Tyler Hoffman (Donor Relations Manager) to learn more about the significance and anticipated impact of this project.
They share insights into the pain points that brought them to Apparo:
- Currently their systems are not integrated and therefore require inefficient workarounds to sync data and create reports. Lisa shares, “Reporting is much more stressful that it needs to be.”
- The fundraising system is limited in its functionality, including inability to support automated communications. As a result, Sharon shares, “We waste time, which takes away from our ability to plan and implement. We have not been able to reach our full fundraising potential yet.”
Lisa adds, “We had been planning to go to Salesforce, when we decided to pause to check in with Apparo. We would have spent a lot of money trying to customize Salesforce. It would not have been exactly what we wanted, but would have been locked into it. This is a huge savings for us.”
The new fundraising system, Virtuous, is anticipated to save Charlotte Rescue Mission 700+ hours annually and help increase their revenue.
Sharon explains the benefits of Virtuous, which are expected to help drive increased fundraising revenue and save staff 60 hours per month:
- Streamlined and automated donor communications
- Better tracking of donors, which will help with moves management, donor cultivation and stewardship
- Simplified and improved reporting processes and data accuracy
- Open API will allow integration of new:
- fundraising capabilities, allowing CRM to reach new donors who are interested in donating stock and bitcoin
- email platform and volunteer management platform that are more aligned to their needs
- gift-in-kind scanning software that will save their team significant administrative time and improve tracking
The new accounting system, Intacct, is expected to save Charlotte Rescue Mission 200+ hours annually and reduce risk.
Lisa explains the benefits of Intacct, which delivers one streamlined system for all three CRM entities (Cafe, Rebound and Dove’s Nest) and will help save 18 hours/month for staff:
- Streamlined, integrated system will eliminate need for transferring data between systems and creating spreadsheet for analysis and auditing
- Streamlined financial processes for the Cafe
- Easier to use and train staff
- Errors will be reduced because the application is truly accounting software. Lisa explains, “Intacct is endorsed by the AICPA. Having a software system that understands what we need it to do will be a huge mitigation of risk.”
- Troubleshooting will be simplified and any errors identified will only need to be resolved within one system
- Like Virtuous, open API will allow the integration of other applications, as needed
Synergies between the two systems will save additional time.
Having just one fundraising and one accounting system streamlines training, allowing CRM to onboard new employees in about half the time (saving a month of training time.) Lisa explains, “These systems are more self-sustaining and therefore take less of our energy.”
With newly freed time, CRM will be able to focus on their critical capital campaign, driving improved financial results that will lead to enhanced ability to improve lives of the recovering.
Sharon shares, “I’ll have more time for planning and implementing strategies for the capital campaign and Tyler will be able to put together a much more robust donor acknowledgement program.” Tyler adds, “I’ll have more time to engage with our donors and that will have a positive impact on stewardship.”
Sharon explains the importance of the capital campaign’s success and the impact on CRM’s mission. “Currently, we are in a 100 year old building that was originally Standard Oil offices. The kitchen floods whenever it rains and we only have barracks style accommodations. With no way to isolate or quarantine, we got hit hard with COVID. We are raising funds for a new building that will help us deliver dignity and a sense of self-worth to people coming off the streets.” Lisa adds, “We’ll be able to provide a higher level of quality care.”
The new building will allow CRM to:
- Support 100 additional residents annually (which, as Tyler explains, is critically important today because of the closure of Charlotte tent city)
- Serve the handicapped
- Deliver mental health support
- Cook/serve food without facing flooding
- Provide individual bedrooms and isolated suites for the sick
Words of appreciation were shared by all team members.
Sharon – “I enjoyed the ease of working with Apparo and Hylaine. Apparo kept us on track and held us accountable for meeting our goals in a timely manner. The Hylaine team they selected to lead our efforts were extremely knowledgeable about the subject, found options that worked best for our needs, and navigated challenging conversations with vendors. Everyone was a joy to work with and the result was a huge success.”
Lisa – “We would not have even know where to start with this project. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. I appreciated Suzanne’s summary spreadsheet of all of the research she did and how Matt lead us through all of our meetings. My team is very excited for the new products we’ll be able to integrate. This will really allow us to grow.”
Suzanne – “Partnering with Apparo to help Charlotte Rescue Mission investigate software options that fit their needs was one of my highlights of 2020. It was a very rewarding experience and I look forward to volunteering with Apparo in the future.”
Matt – “Working with the Apparo and Charlotte Rescue Mission Team on the donor and financial management application audit and discovery effort was a very worthwhile and constructive experience. The exercise provided an opportunity for the Team to explore a variety of options that ultimately led them in a direction that may not have been considered at the outset. I am excited to see the positive impact that this process will have for both Charlotte Rescue Mission and the community that they serve. I am grateful to be part of an outstanding team.”