Sponsor: Bank of America
Men’s Shelter of Charlotte was in need of support for the identification of a new incentive-based motivational system for men journeying out of homelessness. They sought an application that would allow guests to log into a system where they would be presented with an individualized set of tasks. By completing tasks, they would earn points, which they could cash in for rewards, such as bus passes, gift cards, and clothing.
Randall Hitt, Chief Engagement Officer of Men’s Shelter, explained why this project was so important. “As a nonprofit, we struggle when it comes to technology. So many processes are manual and not connected. Chores were simply listed in Excel, with no proper tracking. We want to think and act like a coordinated system.”
Apparo matched Men’s Shelter to a team of volunteers, all veterans, from Bank of America. Bill Hammelman from New Signature, a fellow veteran, joined the team as well. Their project included:
- Documentation of business process for system use
- Identification and prioritization of system requirements
- Marketplace research and scheduling of demos with various vendors
- Assisting with tool selection (LiveSchool)
A particularly special component of this project is that the volunteer team consists entirely of veterans. This is significant as veterans are statistically more likely to end up homeless than people who have never served. So, this cause hits close to home.
Randall explained that they were hoping for two-fold benefits: encouraging their guests to choose tasks that would help them move out of homelessness (e.g., visit the Employment Center) and keep the newly renovated facility clean. “When you are one of hundreds in a communal living situation, it can feel overwhelming to use the resources provided to you. Sometimes you need a little push.” Randall is confident that this new rewards program will serve as just the right push.
Joe Davis, AVP at Bank of America shared his appreciation of the opportunity to volunteer to support Men’s Shelter. “If it wasn’t for Bank of America’s support of Apparo, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to support an organization like Men’s Shelter or the opportunity to work with such a diverse group of people. When you are given time away from work to integrate into your community and you are encouraged to do that by your employer, that makes the community more inclusive as a whole.”
Bill Hammelman, Business Development Director at New Signature explained the significance of this project to him. “One of New Signature’s core values is to be generous with our time and our resources. That means so much to me. I would not work for a company that did not value that. It’s meaningful to work with other companies that have that same value system, so we can do more good together in these integrated efforts.”
Randall shared his appreciation for Apparo, his volunteers and Bank of America. “We have to focus our time on serving basic needs and other shelter fundamentals. We did not have the time to dedicate to the research required to choose this reward program, but now that we have it, it’s going to take us to another level. They dedicated their time, looked deeply and now I can feel very confident in following their recommendations.”
“Bank of America is a great community partner. Days of service are great, but this is a more meaningful, ongoing relationship. They have taken the time to get to know us, get embedded in our programs. They support us year round and we love them for it.”
Nonprofit Agency Overview
Urban Ministry Center | Men’s Shelter of Charlotte is an interfaith organization dedicated to bringing the community together to end homelessness, one life at a time.
Men’s Shelter of Charlotte provides safe emergency shelter while working to end homelessness for each man. The organization serves as a catalyst for systemic change to end homelessness in the community. Men’s Shelter of Charlotte accomplishes its mission through the Moving Forward, Moving Home program, summarized with the equation: Income + Housing + Support = An End to Homelessness.