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A Time-consuming Task Completed!

The Christian Aid Mission had a total of 14 Day of Caring volunteers doing projects ranging from shredding a fallen tree to filing in the accounting department.  Groups from State Farm, Crutchfield and First Systems & Resources came early on the United Way Day of Caring and stayed for a lunch lovingly prepared by our guest house hostess.  The detail of some of the work done has been highlighted below but even the areas not highlighted were a wonderful gift and we are very grateful to United Way for organizing this community event.

The Publications and Donor Relations Divisions were each given three volunteers to help create databases using the Excel program.  One information source was a stack of our publications called “Prayerline” which describes items needed by indigenous missionaries overseas.  For each day of the month, there is an item, its cost, and the area of the world needed.  The other data source was a pile of our quarterly magazine.  These magazines cover various aspects of missions work going on overseas.  Some of the topics covered are church planting, the care of widows and orphans, disaster relief, and recent accomplishments.  (There were 43 items to look for.)

These volunteers divided the information between them and arranged it for data input.  Each Prayerline item had to be read, then the above criteria entered into specific columns in Excel.  This very work-intensive job was accomplished in three days and is still updated each month.  The information can be sorted by item, date, area of the world, or specific ministry.  Various divisions of Christian Aid use this information for a variety reasons.  Many times donors will call and ask how much it would cost to give a missionary family a milking goat.  Since the cost of livestock varies from country to country, we are now able to provide a more accurate, up-to-date price. 

The magazine database required perusing the articles, looking for certain keywords.  Country names, topics, the ministry, and the gist of the story are some of the things they looked for.  These criteria were noted on a special form.  Once all of the magazines (and there were a lot of them) had been completed, this data was given to a staff person to input into another Excel database.  This information is used primarily by the Publications Department in order to determine what countries or topics need coverage.

Christian Aid is very grateful to these volunteers whose help was immeasurable.  This job just kept getting put on the back burner due to the enormous amount of time it would have taken one person to do it.  And having this kind of information compiled in databases makes research much easier and less time-consuming.  Thank you, and thank you! 

Posted by guest blogger, Lucinda Speers, Christian Aid Mission

With more than 3,000 volunteers expected to register this year, please consider all nonprofit agencies and schools (including child care centers) where you work, volunteer or support and encourage them to register projects.  A Project Development Toolkit is available to help organizations identify needed projects, and United Way staff is eager to help, as well.  Please visit our website or contact Shaele Wood for more information (434-972-1705).

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