Mila Whiteley joined GivingData after working as a grants management assistant at a DC-area foundation. She brought with her not only hands-on experience using GivingData, but a deep understanding of how grantmakers can use a GMS to optimize their giving. In her spare time, Mila loves to travel to far-flung destinations and spend quality time chilling with her adopted cat, Lucy.
I was inspired after attending my first GivingData user meeting in 2019. At the time, I was working for a small foundation that had just decided to transition its grants management system to GivingData. I was so impressed by how engaged the attendees were and by GivingData’s focus on getting feedback from the user community. The team listened to their user stories and made a note for further conversation, future enhancements, or workarounds that could help users do their work.
As someone who’s always been a big fan of continuous improvement, GivingData’s approach was exciting and I wanted to be a part of it.
In some ways the work I’m doing now is similar to my previous foundation work. In both roles, I needed to better understand GivingData’s platform. And as with my previous job, I focus on how to help others use the system to improve their processes.
That said, it’s definitely been a change to go from working with one foundation to many, all at once. As a client success manager, I’m supporting organizations that operate at very different paces, with diverse cultures, structures and processes. So there are a lot of balls in the air at once, and I wear a lot of hats.
"As someone who’s always been a big fan of continuous improvement, GivingData’s approach was exciting and I wanted to be a part of it."
That’s not even taking into consideration some of the side projects, like writing articles for our knowledge base and creating resources for our new-feature webinars. There is always a lot going on, and many opportunities to learn.
Specifically, it’s different working at a software company. There are colleagues who, like me, come from philanthropy, and others who come from other industries. Everyone has a different perspective, and it’s fun to hear other points of view.
To me, GivingData’s mission means a commitment to not only create a great, ever-improving software, but also to listening and appreciating the ways our clients’ work is changing and evolving. In the world of COVID-19, philanthropy is more important than ever – it’s important to support foundations as they work to build capacity and provide resources for organizations and communities around the world.
The one piece of advice I would give is to not be too hard on yourself. One of the best and sometimes tricky parts of the job is that we are always learning because the software is continally changing and improving. Be kind to yourself, ask questions, and enjoy the ride!
The most rewarding aspects of my work involve collaboration. Whether it’s coming together with my team to improve processes, or brainstorming with a client so that the system better serves them, there are so many ways to help others and make things generally better, which is really satisfying.
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