The Corner Health Center located in Ypsilanti, Michigan is a healthcare non-profit that strives to provide high-quality primary healthcare, education, and support services to young people in the age group of 12 to 25 years. Their target group primarily fall under low-income communities.
The client wanted to incorporate the process of developing and soliciting new grants into their database and hope for some way to include spending statuses of exiting grants. Additionally, they required like grouping of different grant types, donor types, track spending, notifying donors of spending statuses, timeline of grant development and spending, and establishing good communication with their donors.
Nalin Bhatia (Masters, HCI)
Kesava Karthik Kota (Masters, HCI)
June Park (Masters, Data Science)
Sangho Eum (Masters, Data Science)
To extract information about their work and challenges faced, a comprehensive background study was done on grant management at non-profits. Areas with challenges and opportunities was identified which are listed below.
Duration: Sept 2017 - Dec 2017
Choosing the right product
Communication and Engagement
Tracking funder metrics
User Interviews of the following staff members were conducted in accordance with their respective roles as shown in the figure below. Organizational fit of the interviewees was analyzed before to understand the workflow between the different members. A comprehensive interview protocol was developed based on our background research and problem definition.
Chief Dev & Comm. Officer
Adim & Dev. Associate
MIHP Social Worker
Based on background research and analysis, an interview protocol was developed which touched upon the following 3 categories addressing the given overarching questions:
Management and Coordination: What is the “people-side” workflow in coordinating grants and donations?
Grant Management: How does the Corner Health Center use DonorPerfect to track and manage grant details?
Communication and Outreach: How connected do the organization fells with their donors and granting agencies?
Each interview session was recorded, interpreted and annotated to identify key insights, strengths, and areas for improvement.
Figure: Annotated Interview Notes
Additionally, there were key pain-points which were quoted by most of the staff as shown below.
Collaboration and Communication
Use of Technology
Mismatch of Information
After consolidating notes from each interview, we gathered 350 data points were organized into information clusters called affinity notes. Each cluster was further organized into a meta cluster which was again organized under a higher level cluster and so on. The highest level of information provided us with key pain-points and problems existing in our client organization. The images below gives an overview of what our version of affinity wall looked like.
After analyzing the affinity notes from the interviews and affinity wall, we have found multiple problems in the organization workflow. These problems broadly fell under the following domains as shown below.
The findings of the Contextual Inquiry process presented mismanaged collaboration and information gaps as a key underlying problem. The inconsistent internal communication and collaboration was the target issue which aimed to resolve. To overcome this problem, we essentially identified ways that could improve their internal collaboration, and recommended the use of an Internal Collaboration and Communication software.
Recommendation 1: Collaboration Software
In deciding upon the appropriate collaborative tool, it was important to consider certain criteria relevant to the organization, and considering its nonprofit status. The criteria considered were not only to ensure successful communication and collaboration, but also features that a non-profit organization can benefit from which other tools might not offer.
Recommendation 2: DonorPerfect and Quickbook Integration
As discovered in our findings, there was a good disconnect between DonorPerfect which is the client’s prime data entering tool and Quickbook, which is the prime financial management tool.
Therefore, our proposed solution which is QuickBooks Integration for DonorPerfect is an additional add-on to DonorPerfect that allows the Data entered into DonorPerfect to be easily integrated within Quickbooks.
Why this integration is useful?
It eliminates the need to enter data twice and saves time. The redundant data entry as quoted by the Admin and Development Associate, caused errors which are then tracked manually, causing delays.
Recommendation 3: Tracking Donor Metrics
This is a strategy based solution to track the overall performance of the client organization similar to how businesses measure performance through metrics such as growth rates, turnover, quarterly sales etc.
Nonprofit organizations should aim to establish metrics on donors since they are the major revenue generators for the organization. These metrics when incorporated into the donor profiles will help in more effective organization and segregation. The key metrics to be tracked are discussed below.
Donor growth or acquisition
This metric defines the number of new donors the nonprofit is acquiring in a given time. It is an important factor as more donor acquisition means that the organization is growing, and its activities are gaining recognition.
Tracking retention rates of previous donors is a wise thing to do. It basically determines the organization’s strength in maintaining and building relationships with old donors and higher retention rates also help in acquiring new donors.
Grant size and number
It is also important to track the number and size of grant from each donor each year. Ideally, the organization should strive to increase this metric for each donor, since growth in grant amount and number means that the organization is growing
Our study revealed some hidden problems that stems from internal and external communications, which was impeding an effective workflow of the organization. From our analysis, we concluded that main problems of the Corner Health Centercould be categorized as:
In order to address all of these categories of concerns, we have made in total three recommendations:
Using a collaboration software.
Utilizing an integration add-on tool for QuickBooks and DonorPerfect.
Establishing donor metrics.
We firmly believe that our recommendations will effectively aid the Corner Health Center in current obstacles in efficient workflow, and furthermore benefit the organization both internally and externally.
Click here to access the final project report.