Fri 5 May 2006
At our meeting last week, Ryan and I were asked to organize an access sheet that was so confusing, it made an Erfle test seem like a walk in the park. So as everyone can see by my feeble attempt at humor, the quest for implementing a new program continues with the ladies from Project S.H.A.R.E. During the meeting, Ryan and I met with Elaine and Pam to discuss more options regarding the implementation of a competent data management system. We introduced them to new ideas; ideas Ryan and I learned about through contacting other non profit associations around the local community, as well as Jenn Ross from PANO.
Ms. Ross offered some great suggestions, and programs that might be helpful for a small non-profit such as Project S.H.A.R.E. She also stressed the importance of contacting other non profit organizations, that have similar operations to Project S.H.A.R.E., to discover what programs are used by these comparable organizations. However, Pam brought up an interesting point when we were discussing this issue. She began to explain that while Project S.H.A.R.E. is going through some difficulties right now, this organization is somewhat of a pioneer in this specific sector, in terms of how they operate. There are organizations that exist that simply collect food, with the primary object of distributing this inventory to food banks in local communities. Food banks then exist to distribute these goods to the consumers in need. Project S.H.A.R.E. is unique in that they encompass both of these activities, and therefore Elaine and Pam have a difficult time in contacting organizations that operate in the same manner. Elaine and Pam both firmly believe that when these frustrations are settled, they will then be able to share their experiences with future organizations that share the same passion.
However, something obviously needs to be done, as this system is causing problems at the management level, and is beginning to funneling down to the volunteers as well. Elaine keeps saying that she can see a solution for this data management problem that she desires, in her head, but that she is having difficulty in translating this vision into a concrete system of operation. However, because there are still large inconsistencies that exist, volunteers are beginning to suffer as well. Two weeks ago, a volunteer, whom Elaine and Pam adore, made a mistake when working with the donor list, and accidentally deleted all the names. This poor woman became so distraught at the thought of making this mistake, that she now is too timid to come back in and volunteer with the organization. I have a firm belief, that if this organization implements a new program, there can be a systematic and consistent way of managing this data. Everyone in the organization, including volunteers, can then be trained to handle these daily operations, without having to worry about problems such as deleting a donor list. If this frustration is starting to affect the volunteers, that will be detrimental to Project S.H.A.R.E., because as our class had discussed last week, these people are important constituents to a non-profit.