Nonprofits form collective for data collaboration

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Jessa Challa. Courtesy Mallowfields

Five agencies formed a new entity to create a digital tool that will allow for streamlined processes, workflows and data-sharing.

Grand Rapids-based software company Mallowfields, Affinity Mentoring, EuzenConnect, NAACP Grand Rapids and Treetops Collective, with Casual Simulation acting as a fiduciary, last week said they formed The MINT Collective, or Modernization Initiative for Nonprofit Technology, that will develop a tool called Junction to help nonprofits facilitate collaboration while allowing nontechnical users to easily modify, update and automate their organizations’ day-to-day functions.

Junction will automate manual and time-consuming processes, will be interactive and configurable, and will keep track of streamlined workflows, the group said. The goal is to increase efficiency and capacity, reduce overhead, and allow nonprofits to redirect a higher percentage of funding toward primary programming while maintaining good data.

“Technology is changing daily, and it can be intimidating and expensive to keep up,” said Jessa Challa, co-CEO of Mallowfields. “That is why it is so important to me that those who serve the community (can) stay up to date with the best tools that work for them. The MINT Collective allows us to be intentional about creating a solution by having the voices of our partners guide us throughout the design and build processes.”

One factor that keeps smaller, local nonprofits from being able to extend services to everyone on their wait list is they can’t afford to purchase top-of-the-line technology to streamline processes and increase efficiency, the group said.

Blythe Kazmierczak. Courtesy EuzenConnect

“We could support so many more consumers in finding good work if we had a single, integrated, technology platform that truly served our needs,” said Blythe Kazmierczak, CEO of social entrepreneurship organization EuzenConnect and principal of human resources consulting firm Blythe Talent. “The Junction platform will help us support our community better and streamline how we collaborate with our key partners.”

Very few tools exist specifically for the nonprofit sector, the partners said. This means several for-profit and nonprofit tools must be combined, creating clunky, expensive and inefficient systems.

“(The Kent County Essential Needs Taskforce, or ENTF) is pleased to support the work The MINT Collective is doing to establish and expand ways that local nonprofits access excellent technology and resources to do their work successfully,” said Wende Randall, director of the ENTF. “This collaborative envisions and is actively developing technology that is based in equitable, people-centered, collaborative, sustainable and community-based ideals, and that furthers shared community goals to support every community member having access to the resources they need to thrive.”

The MINT Collective currently is applying for grants and speaking with investors who want to support the short- and long-term goals of the project.

More information is at mintcollective.org.

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