Rowan Helping Ministries provides food, shelter and critical support services to those in need in Rowan County. We turned to Apparo in 2017 for support in modernizing our client management system.
Before working with Apparo we were using a manual, paper-based tracking system. We could operate only two food pantries with the possibility to duplicate services because we did not have an online system allowing coordination between locations. Apparo paired us with a community partner and facilitated our selection of Virtual Case Manager (VCM), a tracking system developed specifically for social service and community support Agencies. VCM enables us to share client demographics, case notes, and detailed service records for individuals and families who receive support from Rowan Helping Ministries. This effort was a critical factor in enabling us to open a third pantry location and expand our reach to those in need who were not able to access our other pantry locations due to transportation limitations.
Today, with VCM, we easily can track when and where people are being served. This analysis led to our insight that we needed to be open on Saturdays, which we are in our new location. Real-time data helps us better understand the community we are serving and how we can adjust to more effectively meet their needs. This analysis also helps us be more specific in our grant writing. We can more accurately identify how we need to direct our funds and tell a more compelling story in grant applications. We are also much faster at collecting the data we need. What used to require all hands on deck for days can now be accomplished with the press of a button. If we hear about a grant at the last minute, we can apply. In a world where grants are shrinking, this is very helpful.
The increases in efficiency with our new system have been quite significant, saving three office staff members a total of 20 hours a week. We were able to eliminate a 40 hour a week administrative position and repurpose it into a Housing Coordinator who works directly with those in housing crisis to help them find affordable, long term housing solutions.
We are able to make a more meaningful – and more measurable – positive impact on our community, thanks to the support of Apparo.
Kyna S. Grubb
Rowan Helping Ministries