G.A.I.N. – powered by Lowe’s
As part of the inaugural G.A.I.N. cohort, A Better World embarked on their first phase in Apparo’s 2-year nonprofit accelerator: a technology assessment and plan.
As a result of their Community Impact Project, A Better World anticipates to not only be able to reach more students, but also serve them more deeply. The West Charlotte kindergartener at a school without A Better World programming, struggling with her reading will soon be able to receive not only the reading support she so desperately needs to rise back up to grade level, but also homework help across subjects, meals and hygiene items she needs for her health and confidence. Rather than falling and staying behind, she’ll be on the path to a successful future.
A Better World (ABW) is an after-school program for at-risk kids who live in troubled homes and neighborhoods. ABW equips them with the skills and confidence to be responsible adults by nurturing their physical, academic and spiritual development.
ABW was matched to corporate volunteers from Hylaine who conducted their tech assessment and provided a plan with recommendations for improvement. The project was facilitated by volunteer Change Agent, Jon Carter and has been generously sponsored by Bank of America. The G.A.I.N. program is generously sponsored by Lowe’s and EY. See PDF of Project Snapshot.
We checked in with A Better World leadership upon completion of this project to learn about the significance of their participation in the G.A.I.N. program and the anticipated impact of this project.
We met with Beyonka Fulton, Administrative and Fundraising Director, and Anthony Panciocco, Communications and Program Director. Beyonka explains, “Our manual, paper-based processes really slow us down, both in terms of our programs and our fundraising. After participating in G.A.I.N., it will be the first time we have an actual technology budget dedicated to addressing these issues.” Anthony adds, “We do a good job of collecting data, but we’ve struggled with the way we house all of our documents and data, making it hard to find what we need. We are so mission-focused, we fail to audit these procedures. We need consistency and clarity on our processes. This project delivered a plan not just for today, but for the next few years, helping us understand how to be more effective. It’s priceless.”
A Better World leadership anticipates saving 1,000+ hours annually upon implementation of tech plan recommendations.
This time saved will be driven by new systems replacing manual process and IT support to help address problems. “We’ll have someone to answer our questions and won’t be wasting time checking for duplicates, searching for data and making new spreadsheets,” explains Beyonka.
A Better World also expects an increase in revenue due to improved effectiveness in fundraising.
They will have more time to fundraise…
- Beyonka explains, “This will give me more time to focus on fundraising. I’ll have more time to spending with our donors and community partners and more time to think creatively, coming up with new ideas to generate more donations.”
… and will be more effective at fundraising through better access to data and donor communications.
- Anthony shares, “I’m excited to have a better plan for is being able to house all of our documents and data in the same place, making it easy to find the information we need. It will be useful for applying for grants and sharing impact stories with community partners and donors.”
- Beyonka adds, “I’ll be better able to manage donor communications and be more efficient at reaching new potential donors. We’ll also try new kinds of fundraising like peer-to-peer and crowdfunding.”
Beyonka shares her goal of 5-10% increase in fundraising over the next year and says that she looks forward to “spending more time on the fun side of fundraising, connecting with people.”
Saved time and increase funds will help A Better World not only serve more students, but serve them more impactfully.
Beyonka shares, “I’ll have more time to collaborate with the community and to reach more schools. We’ll be able to grow our programs and our organization as a whole, helping more kids in our community shape promising futures.”
Anthony explains how they anticipate deepening impact, “I’ll be able to be more creative in the way we support our students. It’s so easy for them to fall behind in their reading levels and hard to meet expectations of getting back up to grade level. I’ll be able to have more time to pour into our families and work with our volunteers and teachers in our community to flesh our improvements to our reading program. We’ll have additional funds to keep programs like our homework helper staffed, so that we can be successful in getting our students to meet their goals.”
As the project closed, all participants shared words of appreciation with each other.
Anthony Panciocco (A Better World) – “Without this G.A.I.N. project, we might not have gotten some of this done and that’s scary to think about. I can’t wrap my head around the amount of time we would have had to put in. We certainly would not be where we are now, as far as this plan goes. That’s what I’m really grateful for, knowing the amount of time and resources we would have had to put into this and knowing we would be nowhere close to where we are now.”
“It’s been so helpful to work with volunteers who know the right ways for us to store our data and address our problems. When I think about the depth of the roadmap delivered to us, I can’t say enough about how much it’s already helped and how much it is going to help in the future. Looking back at the beginning, I don’t think we even knew what questions to ask. I knew we had problems, but I couldn’t think of how to organize and tackle them. I felt intimidated by the amount of work I knew we needed to do. Our volunteers made it approachable and actionable. They guided us through it and made it easy for us to identify what needed to be done in a way that wasn’t intimidating. We’ve gotten so much from it in just a few months. I really appreciate that.”
Beyonka Fulton (A Better World) – “We are so grateful to you for putting the time in to help move our organization forward. It’s been very enlightening to get Hylaine’s birds-eye view of our systems and get their recommendations for how we can move in the right direction. It’s been eye-opening. I can’t wait to continue to move throughout the G.A.I.N. program and continue to improve the way we work.”
Brian Justice (Hylaine) – “It’s been a privilege to work on this project. It’s the same work I do day in and day out, but it’s so great to have the opportunity to help A Better World with my skills and further their ability to help these kids. I didn’t think I would ever be able to use my technology skills in this way.”
Matthew Burke – (Hylaine) – “I appreciate the opportunity. It has been very rewarding and fun to be part of this great team. I’m looking forward to seeing the further impact on donations and expanded service.”
Jon Carter (Epic Change Agent) – “It has been an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding experience to volunteer my time, knowing the impact these organizations [Apparo and A Better World] have on the communities they serve. I highly recommend volunteering with these organizations if you or your company has the bandwidth.”