Alec Sprague is not an IT guy. His background is in consumer advocacy, but in his position as database developer for Work for Progress, he has instituted a culture of citizen development at the fast-growing nonprofit organization.
“Our organization is scrappy,” Sprague said. “We operate on shoestring budgets to maximize our benefit to society and our return-on-investment for our funders and donors.”
At the beginning of his tenure with Work for Progress, Sprague struggled with outdated systems and felt the organization’s issues were too important to waste time with antiquated technology. “In the past year, we’ve made a more intentional push at digital transformation, moving a lot of our data out of siloed systems and into the cloud so that we could save everyone’s time and productivity,” he told an audience at QuickBase’s #EMPOWER2016 user conference in Nashville, TN.
In the last year and a half, Work for Progress has developed 22 applications, including 12 apps that are each used by more than one department and more than 80 people. This from an organization that doesn’t even have an IT department!
App Progress at Work for Progress
One example of this citizen developer led transformation took place within Human Resources. The group was working with paper files and using a clunky database. Sprague taught a representative to build an app that would bring all of the group’s data online in one place. He followed up with weekly calls to workshop questions and problems. The whole department now uses the app, with several team members working on front-facing dashboards and workflows so that supervisors can take action on benefits and other HR-related items.
A second implementation involved grant reporting. Sprague surveyed end-users and determined that reporting grants fundraising was a complex and confusing process. He worked with the grants department on an application that could quickly and easily report grant proposals, income, and deliverables so the organization could better keep track of fundraising work and communicate with donors.
For more where this came from, please visit the QuickBase Fast Track blog.