#SpotlightOnCLT: Apparo | SHARE Charlotte

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#SpotlightOnCLT: Apparo

Written by Eden Estabrook    on February 25, 2021    in
Presented by AvidXchange Foundation

In the digital age, IT is the backbone of the modern organization. As critical as it is, it’s complex, and honestly, not everyone’s dominant skill set. Nobody knows that better than us writers. We can pull drafts of inspirational stories together in a matter of minutes fueled by nothing but a bottle of Dr. Pepper, but if our computers go down… oh boy. It’s not good (especially hyped up on all that Dr. Pepper). I remember once when I was in college I was desperate enough to hand-write an essay on a NOTEPAD, which I later transferred to a Microsoft Word doc. I felt like I was in the stone ages. But, I digress.  

Nonprofits and writers have a lot in common. We just want to use our skills and talents to make a change in the world. But, we rely on technology to do that effectively. Generally speaking, nonprofits are run by individuals with backgrounds in social services, ministry, philanthropy, or other related areas. IT skills in nonprofit leadership can be hard to come by. Or, if the nonprofit mastermind does possess the skills to implement, the time to work on it or financial limitations can be a hindrance to getting the organization’s technical infrastructure to the level it needs to be to run smoothly. Compared to for-profit companies, it’s important to recognize that nonprofits will rarely have the bandwidth, skill set, or financial resources to build and manage a digital infrastructure with the same level of proficiency. It’s not uncommon that supporters of the organization may want to help fund the service the organization offers, but they often don’t want to fund the infrastructure that makes the service run.

That’s where Apparo steps in. Apparo serves the city of Charlotte by offering IT services to nearly 600 nonprofits in the Charlotte Metro area. Apparo gets into the mix by leveraging community skills to bridge the gap between nonprofits and technology-skilled individuals. In addition to facilitating and managing relationships, they also walk alongside both the nonprofit and community volunteers to make sure that technology changes can be sustained on both sides. 

I get it. It can be tough to understand exactly how Apparo’s mission impacts the community. They’re basically just offering IT services, right? Wrong. They’re helping organizations to optimize their processes so staff can spend less time worrying about the backend and spend more time doing what they’re passionate about.   

Chief Executive Officer of Apparo, Kim Lanphear, shared the example of a project they led for the Charlotte Rescue Mission Dove Nest Program. In this project, employees of Rodgers Builders worked closely with Charlotte Rescue Mission staff and Apparo to help the program free up 250 hours of admin work with data-related process changes. That means the volunteers and staff of the Dove Nest Project can spend 250 more hours counseling women recovering from addiction, rather than 250 hours in front of a computer doing tedious admin work.  

I don’t know about you, but I thought that’s a powerful testimony of the power of IT. Following that, I’d like to offer a couple of ways to get involved with Apparo if you’d like to be a part of the work they’re doing: