Apparo volunteer since the summer of 2020, Jake Rue has delivered nearly $3,000 of pro bono support to three local nonprofits and continues to serve on a regular basis.
In the summer of 2020, Libby Currier, Donor Engagement Manager at the Humane Society of Charlotte, participated in a Microsoft Excel IT Coaching clinic and was matched with CapTech volunteer, Jake Rue. She explains, “I would definitely recommend IT Coaching to others. I’m good at fundraising, but not at technology. The Excel coaching was not only great training, but also great fun working with my volunteer, Jake. He was so dynamic and helpful. I knew there were so many things that Excel could do and I felt that I was limiting myself to the bare bones basics. Using one of my own worksheets, he taught me how to use formulas and new ways to manipulate my donor data for more multi-faceted functionality. This should be able to help improve fundraising effectiveness and also save time that I was spending recreating sheets for different purposes.”
Later that summer, Jake stepped up again to support Crisis Assistance Ministry in another IT Coaching Clinic. Fast forward to the spring of 2021, when his ongoing relationship with LIFESPAN began. LIFESPAN is a human services nonprofit with a mission to empower children and adults with disabilities by providing education, employment, and enrichment opportunities to live, work, and play in their communities.
Alisha Tatum, Sr. Executive Director at LIFESPAN, describes the impact of the Microsoft Excel IT Coaching and Training that she and her team have received.
“We use Excel to track time and mileage for reporting to our funders, so everyone in our agency has to have a comfort level with Excel. Asking a human services professional to even use a computer can be a stretch and Excel can be scary. The coaching and training were all smoothly organized by Jennifer (Ray, Apparo Program Manager) and Jake was very flexible with our schedules.
“I was surprised by how enthusiastic and grateful the team was – they are hooked on Jake! Our team has a wide range of abilities and he has been able to meet everyone where they are in terms of skill level. Sometimes those at the higher levels don’t get a lot of value out of courses, but with Apparo and Jake, everyone was able to get a lot out of it, at a price that we could afford.
“He would slow down, repeat and was very kind, humble and grateful to be able to volunteer with us. We appreciated not only how he taught us, but how he shared his appreciation for the work we do. It can be intimidating to learn from someone in your organization. You don’t want to say that you don’t understand. A volunteer from the outside helps overcome that problem. Jake was the right person for the job! He eliminated the fear factor and upped people’s interest in learning how to use Excel. Because of Jake, they want to learn more, they want to get better and that was my goal.”
Jake also went above and beyond his coaching and training role, fixing a 10 year old form that was plaguing LIFESPAN staff with its unnecessary complexity. He simplified 6 pages down to 1, saving staff time and significant paper (the filled-out form must be printed for the funder.)
We’re excited to continue working with LIFESPAN and Jake, as many LIFESPAN staff members will continue with free IT Coaching sessions to expand their Excel knowledge.
Jake shares his perspective on why he enjoys volunteering with Apparo:
“CapTech values community service and it’s something I have prioritized throughout my life. As a CapTech team we’ve volunteered together in the warehouse for Second Harvest and that’s fun, but with Apparo I feel like I can add even more value by taking my workplace skills and applying them to nonprofits. You don’t have to be an expert to make a big impact, but I’m doing something that not everyone else can do.
“I like the public speaking aspect and it helps me grow in my skills as speaker and trainer. I’m working with people at all different levels, which is a challenge. I have to learn how to gauge peoples’ individual skill levels, which helps to focus me and gives me practice slowing things down to make sure each person is grasping the concepts.
“It’s an easy and natural way for me to add a lot of value and make a big impact. It’s also fun to teach new people. Jennifer (Ray, Apparo Program Manager) does all the hard work to make it easy for me. She organizes everyone and I just have to show up and get to the fun with the nonprofits, who are so appreciative. Apparo adds so much value by just connecting the right people. I really appreciate what they do as an organization.”