G.A.I.N. – powered by Lowe’s
As part of the inaugural G.A.I.N. cohort, Memory & Movement Charlotte embarked on their first phase in Apparo’s 2-year nonprofit accelerator: a technology assessment and plan.
As a result of this Community Impact Project, Memory & Movement Charlotte anticipates improving their ability to work efficiently towards fulfilling their mission, allowing them to expand reach and impact. This means that not only will the person with Alzheimer’s get the best possible care, but their care partner will have easy access to a new educational portal to help alleviate some of the incredible stress they are facing.
Memory & Movement Charlotte (MMC) is devoted to meeting the medical, safety and behavioral needs of patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other forms of memory and movement disorders. Using a time-and-attention model, MMC develops a care plan for each patient. At the same time, caregivers receive continuing education, and time to ask questions and express concerns. No one is turned away.
MMC was matched to a volunteer team, including individuals from Google and Nutanix, who conducted their tech assessment and provided a plan with recommendations for improvement. Through Apparo’s Epic Change Agent program, the project was facilitated by volunteer Bill Hammelman. This project was generously sponsored by Bank of America and the G.A.I.N. program is generously sponsored by Lowe’s and EY.
At the close of this project, we checked in with Janet LeClair (Executive Director) and Mattie Kearse (Director, Community Engagement & Development) to learn about the significance of their G.A.I.N. experience and anticipated impact of this project.
Mattie explains, “We have such an amazing team, but have lacked the processes and systems we’ve needed to run as efficiently as we could. We have 19 employees and have never had a tech plan. As a result, we’re working with platforms that aren’t integrated and we’re reactive instead of proactive. We have collaboration tools, but don’t know how to use them effectively. The future of our organization and ability to deliver health care depends upon on our success with technology.”
Janet adds, “Memory & Movement Charlotte, a not-for-profit organization, fills a critical need in the community and we are poised for growth. This growth would not be possible without the technology infrastructure, tools and business processes to support our growing needs. As a small non-profit focused on providing unique and high touch care to individuals and their families impacted by cognitive impairment and movement disorders, it’s critically important that our focus be laser focused on patient centric care vs. administrative support. We need to ensure we have the technology infrastructure and enabling tools and training to support our mission. Our Team’s need to collaborate, share information efficiently, manage content and version control to streamline internal workflows has never been greater. Having worked in both very large organizations and in small not-for-profit organizations, I know the importance and value of the training, change management support and strategic guidance the G.A.I.N. program is providing us.”
Mattie elaborates, “Without G.A.I.N., we might have tackled these issues piecemeal over years, many more years than the two that we will be in this program.” Janet adds, “It’s with the focus and the discipline brought to us by Apparo, our volunteers and the structure of the G.A.I.N. program that we’ll be able to truly drive change.”
Upon implementing their tech plan recommendations and receiving their new hardware, MMC anticipates saving time and improving effectiveness in the way they work.
Mattie explains, “When we improve our ability to collaborate, we’ll work more effectively and efficiently. Staff will be be happier and able to do their work better. They won’t be hindered in their efficacy.”
Janet adds, “Our time for collaborative work is so limited because the clinicians are with patients in the day. It’s exciting to see the possibilities of how much easier it’s going to be to use the limited time we have together effectively without version control issues and challenges finding and accessing the information we need. Also with the new laptops, were going to increase productivity and efficiency at a staff level. There will be a lot more simplicity overall.”
MMC leadership also anticipates minimized expense, risk and also improved fundraising.
MMC’s server is close to the end of its warrantee and Janet explains the significance of her volunteers’ expertise in helping her evaluate their service provider’s proposed options for moving forward with data storage. “As non-technical people, it’s hard for us to assess the proposal against our needs. The volunteer team broadened our thinking in terms of options. Because of their support, we were able to truly analyze our choices and challenge our on the vendor to decrease costs. Without the input and mindshare of our volunteers, we would have perhaps taken at face value what was proposed to us. We did not have the expertise to question it. Our volunteers gave us an objective look at what we are receiving versus what we are paying for and we will end up with a better solution at a lower cost.”
Additional benefits related to risk and fundraising include:
- File backup and cybersecurity protocols, which are especially important given the confidential medical information they store.
- Freed time, which will allow for more bandwidth for community outreach efforts.
Importantly, these benefits are expected to yield better service to MMC clients and expanded reach.
Mattie shares, “We’ll be able to ensure that our patients and their families have the best possible experience they can have.”
Janet provides an example, describing a new caregiver education program they are building. “With these improvements, we’ll be able to streamline our deployment of this critical caregiver information. Caregivers can be under a lot of stress, concerned about a loved one and their care. Our intent is for them to easily access the information they need to address their concerns.”
Janet also explains that this tech plan will support MMC long-term goals, “In the near future, we plan to expand services and add new providers, allowing us to serve more people, more holistically through caregiver counseling, on-site therapy services, and additional research and education related to caregiving and lifestyle management. Our goal is to build a campus with all end-to-end services all under one roof.”
As the project wrapped, members of the team shared their appreciation for each other.
- “We are so grateful to our Apparo volunteer team. They gave us invaluable attention and expertise. We’re confident that this tech plan is going to help us fulfill our mission of delivering the best possible experience and service to our clients and their families. The ability of our team to collaborate effectively is going to be key to our ability to achieve our goals. I’m envisioning MMC a year from now and really seeing it as this incredibly well-oiled machine. We’re already very efficient in some ways, but this was the final piece of the puzzle, catapulting us into what we want to be in the future. This changes the game.”
- “Being a part of the G.A.I.N. program is like having an army of tech guardian angels! I was so pleased with the final product, and it was so much more robust and comprehensive than we ever could’ve expected. I feel like we went from being completely in the dark to having an incredible tool we can implement and use for many years. Thank you team!”
- “G.A.I.N has been a game changer for Memory & Movement Charlotte. As a small non-profit focused on providing unique and high touch care to individuals and their families impacted by cognitive impairment and movement disorders, it’s critically important that our focus be laser focused on patient centric care vs. administrative support. That said, we need to ensure we have the technology infrastructure and enabling tools and training to support our mission. Having the support of Apparo and access to an experienced IT professional volunteer team has been invaluable to us. The grant for the laptops enables us to channel donor funding to patient support activities and the expert advice and counsel has been invaluable as we develop our long-term strategic plan. We are beyond grateful for the G.A.I.N program.”
- “You educated us in a way that helped us understand without making us feel bad about what we did not know. You are our lifelines.”
- “It was a privilege to meet Janet and Mattie, and to learn about the important service their team at Memory & Movement Charlotte is providing for our community. In bringing together a volunteer team with a diverse set of experiences and skills to support MMC’s Technology Plan, a significant breadth of technology transformation focus areas were identified, evaluated and prioritized, and an actionable set of recommendations was composed. Memory & Movement Charlotte has already embarked on their journey to transform to better serve their patients and caregivers, and I’m delighted that the volunteer team’s contributions have added to that mission.”
- “I’ve been very proud to be a part of this project. Everyone was so motivated to give of themselves and to make a difference. I love being able to volunteer through the Apparo Change Agent program because I get to experience the missions of so many different organizations. I’ve worked with many interesting nonprofits around Charlotte doing very important things, very differently. I’m looking forward to continuing to support Apparo and the Apparo mission.”
Ryan Skwara – “I am humbled by the opportunity to work with an organization with a mission like MMC –to learn about the challenges they, and many nonprofits face day-to-day. This project would not have been possible without the enthusiastic joint efforts of both parties. And I am delighted that the outcome resulted in a well-mapped strategic business technology plan for MMC that will empower them to continue to best serve their patients, caregivers, employees, volunteers and the broader community.”
Paul Happel – “It is great to offer technical guidance to MMC as they look at their technology operating environment. We hope running technology more efficiently and cost effectively can help MMC even more on their family focus approach in their key mission around memory and movement disorders.”