AirOps Consulting

Using Airtable to Simplify Non-Profit Grant Management

“Whenever I had a question or felt like I was unclear about something, I just really appreciated the time that [AirOps Consulting] took to help to answer a question and offer a thorough response.”
Gen Carmel, Program Director, LEF Foundation

Introduction

Based in California, LEF Foundation is a private family foundation behind the Moving Image Fund (MIF) that supports new film and video work by New England-based independent documentary filmmakers. The Moving Image Fund provides funding across all phases of film production, providing support from the early stages through a film’s completion. 

AirOps Consulting and LEF Foundation have been working together to optimize their current processes. AirOps Consulting helped LEF Foundation streamline data collection and entry processes by integrating current tools with a Custom Airtable Base and Airtable workflow automation.

We spoke to Gen Carmel, Program Director at LEF, to better understand how Airtable workflow automation has improved data entry and quality and created smoother processes for the team.

The Problem

Before using Airtable, LEF Foundation was mired in manual data entry and management across operations. Their grants database was tied to an old directory designed by and housed on an older infrastructure that was struggling to support the foundation as it grew. There was an impending sense of worry that the database was at the end of its life and would no longer be functional. 

With no integrations or workflows in place, managing the existing database while adding new contacts also posed issues. In addition, there was a considerable amount of manual work involved in each step of the process, and sharing information proved difficult among team members, slowing down operations. 

“Our goals were to streamline the data entry and management process for our grants database, and  give our applicants an opportunity to share updates to their grant information with us more easily.” 

Gen Carmel, Program Director, LEF Foundation

Discovering Airtable

Gen knew that they needed a change, but she wasn’t quite sure where to start. She had come across Airtable consulting in the past and had also seen other organizations move towards it. 

There were plenty of use cases among her peers that highlighted the value of Airtable for organizations, so it was just a matter of finding the right way to implement it. Gen was aware that special skill sets were needed to design the type of Airtable workflow automation she needed and that it would be an impossible task to do on her own.

The Solution

AirOps Consulting first worked with the LEF Foundation to understand their current processes, the bottlenecks, and how automation could help. Part of the discovery phase was also to understand current tools and opportunities for integration, identify potential roadblocks, and build automated workflows accordingly. 

The first step of the solution was to integrate LEF Foundation’s submission management system with their custom Airtable base. This helped organize and streamline applications and applicant contact information into a single space. The next step was to design Airtable workflow automation to reduce manual processes such as email correspondence and designing automated emails with custom forms for easy updates. 

The final step was to create a public-facing directory with pory.io using the Airtable data. 

“We decided to go with AirOps Consulting because of our initial talk with Cherry and learning about the options that would be available to us, and the way AirOps would be able to work with us to really implement our goals.” 

Gen Carmel, Program Director, LEF Foundation

Saving time

Through the changes brought on by Airtable consulting,  LEF Foundation could save significant amounts of time in their workflow. For example, processes such as inputting data across different tools saved the team time and reduced steps in the workflow. Additionally, the new database also meant that time-consuming to-do’s such as data transfers could be taken off the list. Overall, the team saved 5-7 hours in the workday through the solution.

More oversight

Setting up the Airtable workflow automation also meant that the team had more oversight into incoming information, changes, updates on the back-end, and more. As a result, it reduced back and forth between the team and ensured greater visibility around data management and data quality.

Personalized automation

Another advantage of Airtable consulting is that LEF Foundation created Airtable workflow automation that was completely tailored to their processes. Working collaboratively, they were able to identify areas together with AirOps Consulting where automation added the most value. Through that process, LEF Foundation redesigned its workflows and custom forms to match their needs rather than trying to work around existing solutions.

Public-facing database

Using the Airtable database, pory.io then built a public-facing database for website users. The layout of the public-facing side was a significant improvement compared to the one before, with additional functionalities to create a better user experience. This included a more robust search function, with more parameters to help users find the information they were looking for. The overall look and feel was also refreshed to make it more modern while still being easy to use.

 

Experience Working with AirOps Consulting

Gen was referred to AirOps Consulting based on the company’s expertise in database integration process using Airtable and keen eye for design. 

Gen describes feeling clear and confident with AirOps Consulting and its abilities to meet LEF Foundation’s goals. She also appreciated the clear explanations around the process, including the technical side and considerations for decision-making. Overall, she had an incredibly positive experience with AirOps Consulting and their time to make the project a success.

The custom database and Airtable workflow automation AirOps Consulting built for LEF Foundation has made an immensely positive impact for the organization when it comes to streamlining communication and helping team members save time without losing a personal touch. Additionally, due to Airtable consulting, LEF Foundation now has automation and strong processes to ensure data collection and management runs smoothly on the front end of the website and is easy to manage on the back end.

Whenever I had a question or felt like I was unclear about something, I just really appreciated the time that [AirOps Consulting] took to help to answer a question and offer a thorough response.”

Gen Carmel, Program Director, LEF Foundation

Contact Us

Are you a non-profit organization that needs help with client management, grant funding management, or reliable data reporting? Please book an initial consultation with AirOps Consulting. 

We would love to enable your team and organization to focus on doing your best work rather than spend valuable time juggling data management needs.

 

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