Crisis Assistance Ministry leadership has been working with Apparo since 2014 to improve their ability to serve their clients in need.
We checked in recently with Sue Wright, Crisis Assistance Ministry’s Chief Information Officer, and Liana Humphrey, their Chief Marketing Officer, to learn about the impact of our work together. This work includes Tech Therapy, Training and three Community Impact Projects (one being the Website for Good Award.) See PDF of Impact Update Snapshot.
Stephanie McKee, Apparo’s Director of Technology Engagement, shares, “Sue and I bonded as two women in technology. We began Tech Therapy together talking about moving to the cloud and upgrading their phone systems.”
Sue adds, “I could connect with Stephanie, and she helped me understand how other nonprofits are leveraging technology.”
These initial conversations led to their first Community Impact Project, a 2015 security assessment with a volunteer team from Stalwart Technologies (now NorthState Technology Solutions, who also generously sponsored the project.)
Sue explains the importance of this assessment. “We had been working with the same managed service provider for a long time and it can be hard to see under the covers. We wanted to be sure that we were doing everything we should be doing for our organization’s security. The assessment they delivered would have cost us $15,000. We would not have been able to afford that, unless we had budgeted ahead significantly. The volunteers came in and did it so efficiently. We applied their recommendations then and are still following them today.”
In 2018, to help support their organization’s transition to Microsoft 365, Sue reached out for training support. Apparo matched them to a trainer from RoundTower Technologies. “Change can be scary for any team,” shares Sue, “but we have a team of learners who were hungry for information and excited for their new tools. It was very helpful to have someone external to our organization introduce the technology and answer questions. We’ve really enjoyed the benefits of Microsoft 365. For example, having replaced a lot of email back and forth with the use of Teams.”
The same year, Crisis Assistance Ministry embarked on a business process assessment with a volunteer team from Jabian Consulting. Jabian volunteers conducted interviews with Crisis Assistance Ministry’s partner agencies, in an effort to help make their partner agency program more efficient and effective. Working with Apparo, the Jabian volunteer team conducted interviews with multiple partner agencies to understand their experience in the program. Based on interview findings, Jabian provided helpful recommendations and feedback.
The new Crisis Assistance Ministry website has contributed to a doubling of online fundraising and five-fold increase in social media traffic.
Also in 2018, Crisis Assistance Ministry applied for and won Apparo’s Website for Good Award, generously sponsored by Piedmont Natural Gas. They received a new website from a volunteer team from Rabell Creative.
“Because the new website is easier to manage,” shares Liana, “we’ve had more time to create and deliver content. This helps us:
- Meet our mission of educating our community about issues that impact those we serve
- Fundraise, by delivering information that engages our donors.
- Respond to quickly-changing times, such as the recent pandemic, by enabling us to be nimble and responsive with the information we deliver.”
“Within the first 6 months of launching the new site,” explains Liana, “we had a 6% decrease in bounce rate, we increased session duration by 6% and increased traffic from social media 517%, year over year. The new website has also contributed to our improved ability to fundraise. In our last campaign, our online donations were up 100% compared to last year.”
Laura Rabell, Chief Creativity Office of Rabell Creative, shares, “It’s inspiring to see the results that Crisis Assistance Ministry has been able to generate with their new website. It’s a real case study on the power of storytelling.”