Many nonprofits have to wade through a flood of paper work before they get to the real work of helping people. But ignoring paperwork isn’t an answer, either; it could have serious consequences like putting a nonprofit’s tax-exempt status at risk.
A mobile phone app recently developed by a graduate of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business greatly simplifies the process of tracking volunteer hours and other information that keeps nonprofit regulators happy.
George Vlahakis wrote this article for the Indiana University News:
Civic Champs — based in the Kelley School’s Hoosier Hatchery incubator — has developed a mobile application that helps nonprofits digitally track volunteer hours and other information they need to apply for grant funding.
Bloomington nonprofits Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County and My Sister’s Closet are partnering with the company to test the app’s effectiveness before it is marketed more broadly.
“We want to give these people their time back to focus on the mission that matters to them,” said Ryan Underdahl, Civic Champs chief operating officer and a 2019 graduate of Kelley’s Full-Time MBA program. “We wanted to help automate that by leveraging the technology that’s already in everyone’s hands: their phone.”
Civic Champs’ application uses a geofence — a virtual geographic boundary, as defined by GPS technology — to trigger a response when a volunteer’s mobile device enters or leaves an area.
Volunteers receive a message from the nonprofit asking if they are there to volunteer and another message thanking them when they leave; the nonprofit can collect the information to keep track of volunteer hours.
Civic Champs also wants to develop the ability for organizations use the app to accept small donations from volunteers. Goodlett said paperwork isn’t just a drain on staff time; it’s also time-consuming for the volunteers once they arrive.
“They’re really anxious to get just started, so it will be nice that it will provide them with a smoother process to start their day when they come to volunteer,” she said. “And if they volunteered with us before and we have all that information in the app, then it makes it even easier for them when they come back.”