MANNA Technology Acceleration Project

Technology Acceleration Project (TAP)

Thank you for joining us today to learn about MANNA’s Technology Acceleration Project. This project is a much-needed overhaul of MANNA’s technology systems that will impact all aspects of MANNA, including our distribution, nutrition & client services, and volunteer departments. The combined effect of these changes will unlock considerable growth potential for MANNA.

In this presentation, we’ll share the origins of the project, detail the work done and still left to do for the project, and show how your support can help us get this project over the finish line.

MANNA’s Current Technology Positioning

On the continuum of organizational technology usage, MANNA is currently what would be considered as a “Tech-as-Needed Company.” This means that up to this point, MANNA has gotten by with whatever tech systems it has needed to solve problems.

We’ve done quite well over 35 years with this approach to technology. MANNA is a highly functioning organization and we’re able to serve an impressive number of clients each week.

But with the various patchwork technologies that have been put in place over the years, our growth potential is limited and there are many inefficiencies weighing down our departments from functioning as well as they could.

What MANNA Needs to Become

For MANNA to scale and grow, we must invest in technology to become a “Tech-Enabled Company.”

As a Tech-Enabled Company, MANNA will become much more efficient due to streamlined processes and integrated systems. These improvements, along with an enhanced payor experience and other features, will allow MANNA to grow, offer more robust services for clients, and become a stronger competitor in the medically tailored meals space.

Who are MANNA’s Partners?

There are two main partners helping us with this project.

The first is Joe Fogiato, MANNA’s first-ever IT Generalist. Joe was hired in October and is leading the Tech Acceleration Project internally in addition to supporting all of MANNA’s overall technology needs. Joe previously worked for MANNA as our Distribution Manager and came to MANNA with extensive knowledge of our program and existing software systems.

The second partner is Process First, a tech consulting firm we selected on recommendation from trusted advisors.

Phases of the Tech Acceleration Project

When Process First started with us, they laid out a three-phase project.

The first of those phases was rigorous discovery. Process First consultants visited MANNA to observe our program, interviewed our staff, and analyzed our systems to identify pain points and areas of focus.

Phase two of the project was to create a roadmap for the work that would need to be done to address those pain points.

Major Departmental Limitations Discovered in Phases 1 & 2

Phases one and two identified a few limitations in MANNA’s distribution, nutrition and client services, and volunteer departments.

The distribution department was using a variety of systems that either weren’t working, were redundant, or weren’t properly communicating with each other. These issues resulted in the distribution team having to do excessive manual work to clean up client and dependent meal data.

In nutrition and client services, pulling data from various portals was costing the team valuable time that could have otherwise been spent with clients.

And in the volunteer department, the volunteer registration experience – both online and at MANNA – was a lot harder than it had to be. This led to volunteer frustration and losing potential volunteers before they ever got to MANNA.

Current Project Status

After Process First identified those pain points and tech needs, we moved into Phase Three of the project. We are currently in this phase and are actively fixing the issues discovered in the first two phases.

This implementation work is further along in some departments than others, but each department either already has seen or will see its pain points addressed.

Project Outcomes for Distribution Dept.

For Distribution, the three major expected outcomes are more automated processes resulting in streamlined delivery data and enhanced client communication and satisfaction.

As a result of the project, the Distribution team will be working only with functional systems that integrate and communicate with each other. The Distribution team won’t have to work as hard to get clean, clear data on which clients and which dependents need which meals.

Through implementing a high-functioning and integrated text-messaging system, the team will also be able to better communicate with clients about their deliveries.

Project Outcomes for Nutrition & Client Services Dept.

For Nutrition & Client Services, the major project outcomes are time savings for the team, access to better and more complete data, and ultimately more time to focus on MANNA clients.

The team will no longer have to spend hours each week manipulating reports to get the data they need to provide information for the kitchen for meal production. Getting better data and getting it faster will free up time for the department to better cater to our clients’ needs and create programming to further nourish and enrich our clients.

Project Outcomes for Volunteer Dept.

For the Volunteer Department, the Tech Acceleration Project is leading to a modernized online and in-person registration experience and better integration for the department’s various systems.

These upgrades will inevitably lead to increased volunteer acquisition. Volunteers are now much less likely to fall off in between their registration and first shift. More volunteers and higher volunteer satisfaction will have very positive downstream effects for MANNA, including food production, public perception, and fundraising potential.

What The Project Can Unlock for MANNA

  • The first among these is the elimination of the tech pain points weighing down our departments. With this tech debt resolved, the Distribution, Nutrition & Client Services, and Volunteer departments will be able to operate with higher efficiency and offer stronger service to their respective constituencies.
  • The second major feature of this project will be a cloud-based data warehouse that will integrate all our software tools. With this data infrastructure in place, we can be nimbler and more realistically grow and achieve the goals of our Strategic Plan, such as an expanded delivery area and increasing the number of clients served.
  • Third is the implementation of client choice. We want to give our clients the ability to choose aspects of their meals while still satisfying their dietary needs. Client choice will also allow MANNA to better address clients’ cultural preferences with our meals. Enhanced client satisfaction is essential to our mission, but client choice will not be possible until the necessary technology to support the work is created.
  • Fourth is maintaining our position as a vendor of choice for medically tailored meals. We’ve earned the trust of insurance companies who are willing to pay for some of their clients’ meals. If we lag behind the for-profit companies that are entering the space and competing for the same insurance coverage, we may lose this position.
  • Lastly, this project will help us future-proof against external threats. This project will better protect MANNA against natural disasters, pandemics, or other threats that could halt our operations.

Project Fundraising Status

The total cost for the Tech Acceleration Project is projected to be around one million dollars. MANNA is paying for $200,000 of that cost through board-directed reserve funds. We are seeking new philanthropic support to cover the remaining $800,000 for the project.

We are very happy to report that we are just over halfway through our fundraising campaign for the project. But we still have nearly $400,000 to raise before the end of our next fiscal year in June 2025.

A gift toward this campaign goes directly toward the work Joe and the Process First team are doing in phase three of this project, as well as any out of the box technologies we purchase along the way to complete the project.

For more information or to set up a meeting with MANNA about the project, please email Chief Advancement Officer Amy Manksy at amansky@mannapa.org.