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Bean's Cafe Process Enhancement VISTA

Rural Alaska Community Action Program, INC.
No listings recruiting at this time

The VISTA Member will be working as part of a collaborative team to implement new systems for client meal and referral tracking. Tracking unduplicated clients served with a transient population served is no small task, this will require networking with programs nationwide that have implemented successful systems, fundraising for the technology acquisition and developing a staff training program on use during the implementation phase. With this VISTA service opportunity you will have an opportunity to develop solutions to a real problem faced by Beans Cafe and lots of other nonprofits in Alaska and nationally. As project time allows, the VISTA will work collaboratively with development staff to implement a new fundraising campaign targeting volunteers who are not yet cash donors to Beans Cafe.

Service Activities

- Research existing client and referral tracking systems in place at soup kitchens or shelters, and make a recommendation for implementation of a tracking system.
- Purchase and install a client and referral tracking system. It is essential for Bean’s Café to have accurate and defensible tracking systems that can provide an unduplicated count of services rendered in order to receive public funding for programs. Through development and implementation of a tracking system, Bean’s Café will be eligible for new revenue opportunities and build stronger relationships with grantors.
- Build a system to import information from the volunteer database in to the donor database. Beans Café generates a large portion of their labor force from ongoing volunteer opportunities, their public volunteer interface can be found here: https://www.beanscafe.org/volunteer.php . Additionally, Bean’s Café generates 80% of their operating revenue from private gifts and donations, many of the community volunteers would also be willing cash donors but Bean’s Café’s development team has not tapped this resource. By merging information from the volunteer database in to the donor database without duplicating people who are both donors and volunteers, Bean’s development team will be able to reach new donors.

Community Need Addressed

Bean’s Café’s mission is to feed the hungry and the homeless without discrimination, to embody the values of compassion, dignity and respect for all who enter their doors. All of this cannot be done without their volunteers and donors, and the ability to accurately count unduplicated clients and services rendered. This VISTA project will focus on building the capacity of Bean’s Cafe by developing a tracking system to count unduplicated clients served, and services rendered – which will grow the capacity of Bean’s Café to receive state and federal funding. Additionally, strengthening the volunteer and donor matrices with an end goal of creating a more sustainable and more meaningful way to reach and engage with their donors and volunteers, working together to serve the homeless populations of Anchorage through their café as well as the Children’s Lunchbox programs. This VISTA will work on bridging the gaps of both databases to help identify a more efficient outreach, volunteer & donor engagement strategies.

Position Outcomes

This project will lead to an increase in Bean's Cafe's capacity to report on clients served, which will contribute to the long term financial sustainability of the organization.


Childcare assistance if eligible, College Credit, Education award upon successful completion of service, Health coverage, Housing, Living allowance, Non-competitive eligibility (federal jobs), Relocation allowance (if applicable), Stipend, Student loan forbearance, Training

Education Benefits

College Degree

Skills you will gain

Project Management, Staff Training, Technical Writing

Competencies You Will Develop

Demonstrate sensitivity and empathy, Listen to and consider others' viewpoints, Maintain open lines of communication with others, Speak clearly, in precise language and in a logical, organized and coherent manner, Write cleary and effectively
Creativity & Problem Solving
Able to identify and define the problem, Capable of generating possible solutions, Communicate the problem to appropriate personnel, Improvise, Provide relevant expertise, Select and implement well-considered solution
Derive consensus, Develop constructive working relationships and maintain them over time, Establish a high degree of trust and credibility with others, Stay positive and outcome oriented
Accepts responsibility, Anticipate the consequences of decisions, Identify and prioritize the key issues involved to facilitate the decision making process, Involve people appropriately in decisions that may impact them, Quickly respond with a back-up plan if a decision goes amiss
Carefully consider which tools or technological solutions are appropriate for a given job, Consistently choose the best tool or technological solution for the problem at hand, Operate tools and equipment in accordance with established operating procedures, safety standards, and ethical guidelines, Seek opportunities to improve knowledge of tools and technologies that may assist in streamlining work and improving productivity
Able to prioritize various competing tasks, Create environment of contribution, Create plan of action, schedule tasks so that work is completed on time, Demonstrate the effective allocation of time and resources efficiently, Drive decision making, Effectively delegate tasks, Facilitate group planning, Set goals
Be pleasant, courteous, professional and respectful when dealing with internal and external customers or clients, Honor the privilege of being able to work with and for those being served, Provide personalized, prompt, and efficient service to meet the requirements, requests and needs of customers, Understand and anticipate the needs of others, Understand the importance of one's role in the functioning of the organization
  • Activity Types Office Activities, Professional Activities
  • Focus Areas Community & Nonprofit Development, Health & Nutrition
  • Length of Service 12 Months
  • Education Requirements College Graduate
  • Placement Individual Placement
  • Service Setting Homeless Shelter, Soup Kitchen, or Food Bank
  • Weekly Training Hours 5

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