One of the primary concerns of the nonprofit was that they didn’t have financial expertise and knowledge, especially concerning record keeping. They wanted to develop new strategies that would make book-keeping a more streamlined process for them. For this, they decided to completely move away from excel sheets to an automated form of recording data. In addition, they didn't have a clear understanding of running an organization. This is why they needed a volunteer to help guide them through the process and explain the nitty-gritty involved. The nonprofit was only recording basic information and numbers but this wasn't helpful for their donors to understand completely where their money was being spent. This project of setting up and digitizing a Financial Accounting System ( strategies, software/technology suggestions) was meant to solve these issues.
Before the first interaction with the nonprofit, Kiran made sure he prepared himself for the meeting and the project he was about to take on. Once the team finished their introductory call, Kiran realized he already had all the skills required to take on the project and this would be a breeze. Gaurav too was excited to begin his project as he was looking forward to connecting with people from different industries. He was also hoping to get a firsthand view of how his skills can be applied to the real world and for their benefit.
They were at first given all the information necessary by Chezuba after which they had their introductory call where the volunteers first met the nonprofit. On their first few calls with the nonprofit, they only tried to build a clear picture of how the nonprofit works, its history, and their requirements from the volunteers. Once the volunteers had a clear understanding of the nonprofit’s requirements, they got right to work.
Kiran was good with the documentation side of the project whereas Gaurav’s strength lay with the technical aspect of the project such as Excel and automation. Thus, they decided to play to our strengths and we divided the work among ourselves in the same way. Even though we didn't set any hard and fast rules about who would do what, they chose to rely on their strengths.
The volunteers connected with the nonprofit team over WhatsApp and via their various social media platforms. One of the challenges the nonprofit sought to resolve was that they didn't have a lot of financial knowledge. Educating them in the process and helping them apply this new knowledge in the right way was what the volunteers saw as their responsibility and made sure they answered any queries they had.
The nonprofit is a very young organization and thus working with them gave the volunteers a new perspective but there are a few challenges that come with being new. The nonprofit had a lot to learn and a long way to go when it came to having streamlined processes and meticulous procedures. Kiran remarked that he felt limited by the scope of this project and would have wanted to help and share his expertise and experience with the nonprofit to help them put in place certain procedures to make the organization more efficient. “Lending our support only in one area knowing that the nonprofit needs help in so many different ways, didn’t feel right to me,” Kiran added.
Gaurav noted that the nonprofit didn’t necessarily have a clear understanding of their requirements. They seemed to be unaware of the kind of ways in which they can leverage their work and data. “They weren’t aware of the scope to which they could scale their processes with the right tools in place. I tried my best to give them a master sheet with tips they could use. I would have wished we had more time to educate them better,” Gaurav remarked.
The volunteers helped us create a financial dashboard and helped us automate the process. They gave us a blueprint of the process in Excel and we then replicated the same dashboard on salesforce. Salesforce is very convenient as automatically details will be filled and invoices can be generated. This saves us a lot of time and manual effort and makes it easier to convey the workings of our organization.