G.A.I.N. – powered by Lowe’s
As part of the inaugural G.A.I.N. cohort, Young Black Leadership Alliance has completed their technology assessment and plan.
As a result of this Community Impact Project, Young Black Leadership Alliance will have more dollars to put directly towards developing their youth. This means more young leaders trained to give back to the community and mentor others from elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.
Young Black Leadership Alliance (YBLA) identifies, educates 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.
As the first phase of their G.A.I.N. journey, YBLA was matched to a corporate volunteer team from Bank of America, who conducted their tech assessment and provided a plan with recommendations for improvement. This project was facilitated by a volunteer Epic Change Agent from Greenlyte Group, Rusty Reigel, and was generously sponsored by Bank of America.
The tech plan recommended consolidating the number of software solutions the organization uses. Through this recommendation, YBLA anticipates saving $5400+ and 48+ hours annually.
John Martin, CEO & Co-Founder of YBLA, shared his that biggest pain point going into the G.A.I.N. program was how many software solutions they were using. He shared, “It’s been a huge pain point for us because it’s just inefficient. We have so many programs that I know we don’t need, but it’s been easier to install individual programs for a task rather than sitting down and figuring out what we really need.” At one point the organization was using 20+ applications, making it incredibly difficult to be as effective as they wanted to be. “We’d like to see that number end up between 5 and 7,” John shared.
By reducing the number of software solutions used, training time for new staff will decrease substantially. They will also see time savings by not having to search through different applications. Currently, staff spends at least four hours a week sifting through data. YBLA anticipates this time being allocated towards mission-focused work once they’ve reduced the number of software solutions used in the organization.
“The technology plan forced us to review the software solutions we were using to understand if we really needed them all or if we could use a couple more effectively to do multiple tasks,” John explained. Reducing the number of solutions used comes with an estimation of $5400+ in decreased costs. Overall, this will consolidate YBLA’s workflow processes, allowing them to fulfill their mission more effectively. In addition to eliminating software solutions, the technology plan recommends seeking an IT Support Vendor, which could result in additional cost savings for the organization.
Improved ability to pull data for reporting will allow the organization to tell their story better, and in turn, target donors and grants more effectively, helping to increase revenue.
Staff anticipates improved ability to pull data for reporting through recommendations from the technology plan. John shared with us, “By being able to pull data more easily, we’ll be able to tell our story better to students and parents in programs, donors, and grant opportunities which will hopefully increase our revenue.” Cleaner and more accessible data will allow YBLA to target who they need to without the added hassle of searching through a variety of programs.
Having cleaner data will allow YBLA to serve their students and families more effectively.
As part of their technology plan, one recommendation was having dollars in their budget specifically for technology. This will allow the organization to forecast better, and reduce risk by having a budget already allocated. “During our planning we’ll be able to look at our technology budget and know what’s needed on an annual basis, which is not something we currently do,” John shared.
Going forward, YBLA will have a main source of data for both donor tracking and internal tracking that all other systems used will feed into. Not only will this make it easier to find the necessary data, but it will ensure the data is up to date and saved properly. Cleaner data that is backed-up in a more efficient manner will allow YBLA to rely on data for decision making about programs within their organization, allowing them to fulfill their mission more effectively.
This project was a success for all involved.
All members of the project, both from the nonprofit and volunteer side, shared their gratitude towards one another for the work done on the project. John shared, “Thank you all for the effort you put into this project and into our organization. It is true that every dollar will go directly to help our young people. We’re very grateful you took the time out of your busy schedules, especially during a pandemic, to help make sure we’re set up for success. This will help us for many years going forward, and we couldn’t do that without you.”
“The development of the technology plan has been a great process for our team at YBLA. It has helped us to take a step back to think through our processes and applications we use on a consistent basis. We were able to reduce expenses immediately by reducing the number of applications we use and changing the features for other applications. We are looking forward to achieving some of the gains listed in the tech plan this year as every dollar we save we can use it to further our mission of developing significant young Black leaders,” John also shared.
Rusty Reigel, our Epic Change Agent, echoed John’s gratitude for the project and his new involvement in the nonprofit world, “Everyone worked well together to accomplish our goal of creating a plan for YBLA to move forward in their IT growth for their operations. Through the process, I was able to learn more about the nonprofit world and came to understand just how great of an impact YBLA is having on our community in Charlotte and around the country. I would not trade this experience for anything and am excited about continuing to help out to the best of my ability. I want to thank Allison and the Apparo team for giving me the opportunity to participate. They do amazing work for causes across Charlotte and the U.S.”
One of our volunteers, Anil Lall, also expressed gratitude, “Thank you Apparo for the opportunity to learn about your organization and help construct a more efficient YBLA. It is truly a humbling experience to be able to contribute to such a great cause. John, I wish you and your organization all the success in developing our future leaders.”