“People ask me sometimes, how do you run a remote team so efficiently? I typically respond, ‘Have you heard of Trello?’”
Kristina Valdez, MSW, has little time to waste micromanaging staff or attend extraneous meetings: as the Executive Director of Along the Way, a registered nonprofit that provides free, reliable after-hours child care to single mothers whose job, school, or training requires non-traditional work hours when daycare centers and schools are typically closed.
“Only 8% of childcare centers are open after 7 pm,” Valdez explains. “The impact of reliable access to childcare during non-traditional work times greatly improves a single mother’s social and economic mobility. Put simply, if they don’t have childcare, they can’t work or go to school”.
Valdez and her team of staff, interns, and volunteers aim to support single mothers with their professional and academic goals while attaining economic independence for their families.
Streamlining fundraising, one card at a time
Of course, reliable child care isn’t free, and so Along the Way holds many fundraisers and works with many different partners. Valdez and her team constantly build and maintain relationships with community partners, corporate partners, government agencies, and other essential fundraising contacts. And all of this information, history, and data lives in Trello.
“Trello is the infrastructure of our operations,” explains Valdez, “everything from donor management to operations, board member communication, announcements, event planning, fundraising, marketing, intern onboarding – Trello just makes it easy to collaborate.”
“How are we not using Trello, is probably a better way to put it,” adds Maddie Freeman, Along the Way intern. “For example, I’ve been working with Kristina for months – but we’ve only met in person once. Because of Trello, we can collaborate from anywhere.”
“Trello absolutely streamlines our fundraising,” said Valdez. “For example, every business owner who is a potential sponsor has their own card, and in the activity section of that card, we’ve got cut and pasted emails, notes about who precisely we talked to – everything. I love that you can upload documents from your computer or Google Drive directly into Trello. Now, even if an intern or a volunteer has moved on, anyone can pick up directly where they left off. All of our information is in one place.”
Along the Way has an ambitious mission, so “we sometimes make big asks,” says Valdez. “Our Education Collaborative board is our home for ‘the why.’ There are data; there are stats, there are references – everything we claim is backed up with data.”
Protecting the lifeblood (e.g., data)
Both Valdez and Freeman agree that Trello is the lifeblood of Along the Way.
Valdez clearly remembers a brush with data loss. “I accidentally locked myself out and was having a hard time accessing my account,” recalls Valdez. “I was in a bit of a panic, so I called my brother, my tech guru. The first thing he asked was, ‘do you have a backup?’”
With Rewind Backups for Trello, Along the Way’s precious info is secure. “Having that failsafe gives me peace of mind,” said Valdez. “If our Trello data were gone, there would be tears. So many areas would come to a grinding halt.”
The Along the Way team relies on the deep and detailed information stored in Trello to maintain vital fundraising relationships. “We have so many collaborators, service providers, organizations, and sponsoring businesses. The thought of losing all that rich information which supports those relationships gives me goosebumps,” added Valdez.
More than just childcare
Along the Way, unlike many businesses, aims to have no repeat customers after 5 or 10 years. Their goal is to support mothers in achieving their own economic independence, directly lifting themselves and their families out of poverty. “I like the metaphor of a ‘hand up, not a handout,’” explains Valdez.
Towards that goal, Along the Way offers a variety of services and support for mothers and families. Career skills like resumes, interviews, and job training are available on flexible timelines for women who work nights (and therefore sleep during the day). Other programs provide free legal consultations, career counseling, and access to additional support available in the community. “One day, I’d love to partner with some mechanics and run a car clinic,” adds Valdez.
To support these and future programs, Along the Way welcomes donations and partnerships with organizations of all sizes. Check out their recently published report titled, “Child Care Challenges: An Innovative Community Solution.” Connect with Along the Way on LinkedIn and sign up for their newsletter to stay up to date on all of their impactful programs.
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