Initial VAH Emails

Updated over 5 years ago by Sam Joseph

Sending emails was originally coordinated through this spreadsheet:

Initial Email:

Dear Harrow Bereavement Care,

We are a group of students taking a course called Software as a Service (Saas) organized by Berkeley University through EdX Online. ( ) Some of us thought that it would be a great opportunity to help a non-profit organization like yours by expanding our work in the semester to a project which could be utilized in real-life.

We all have programming background and are now taking the second semester of SaaS, which gives us confidence to take on a project of this kind and we would be delighted to work with you on a web application or technical project, where we could support your organization's work, which we very much admire.

Please let us know if we could help.

Best regards Sam Joseph

1st response

Dear Sam, Thank you for your email. HBC would love to take your students on board and help us create a database. I would very much like to meet up with you and discuss the needs of HBC. At the moment we do not have a database, I just use 'lots' of excel spreadsheets which has our contacts/members/clients etc. As you can imagine updating this information is very time consuming, and having a central database with all the information we need would really help us. Please give me a call on the number below, and I would like to discuss a time when we could meet. Or if this is not possible (due to distance), just call me and I can always email you our requirements.

I am in the office between 9am - 2pm on Tuesdays/Wednesday/Friday. You could also leave a message on the answer machine and I will get back to you. Kind regards

Follow up email:

Dear Angela,

Great to hear from you.

I can totally relate to the 'lots' of excel spreadsheets situation

I am actually very close - within walking distance of your office, I could possibly drop by to discuss in person on Friday morning, i.e. the 16th?

Forgive me as I have to record lots of lectures before the end of the week, so I hope you don't mind me just staying in email for the moment - I'll call if I don't hear back from you on email.

Many thanks in advance Best regards Sam Joseph

I sent an additional follow up with my contact phone numbers and also left a voice mail and managed to arrange a meeting for that Friday at 9:30am

Post meeting follow up email:

Hi Angela,

Very nice to meet you today.

I've written up notes from our meeting, and put them in a shared Google document that I hope you can access through the following link:

I'd be most grateful if you could have a read through and correct any mis-understandings on my part. In principle you could edit that document directly through your web browser, but just in case I attach a word version of the same document.

I also look forward to receiving an electronic copy of your existing database proposal from Brett.

And of course, please don't hesitate to get in touch if you think of any other relevant information regarding your technical administrative challenges.

Many thanks in advance Best regards Sam Joseph


Dear Sam, It was good to meet you today. Sorry I haven't sent you the document yet!!!! I attached it herewith. I will read the notes you have written and get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you for your swift response!!! Kind regards*


Following the first emails I received an unsolicited follow up from a related oragnization:

Dear Samuel,

*Angela from Harrow Bereavement Care passed your details. I was working in the office next to Angela and am wondering if you would be able to help us as well. We are a not for profit Co-operative providing services to support local not for profit organisations. *

Similar to Angela, we are looking for help in setting up a database.

*Please get in contact if this might be something you can take on. *



I replied as followed:

Hi Rachel,

Good to hear from you.

I'd love to hear more about your work and your technical needs.

In the first instance, as much as you can tell me in email would be great. Otherwise I'll likely be coming by the office this Friday for a follow up meeting with Angela (not confirmed yet), but could talk to you then if that's convenient.

Best regards Sam Joseph

and got this response:

Hi Sam,

*Thanks for the quick reply. *

*The type of support VAH provides to local not for profits includes; training for management boards, volunteer management support, consultancy and a CRB service. *

*We are quite new, 18 months old, and do a mixture of paid and voluntary work. We have an office but we work from home as well. We don't have a server, instead relying on cloud computing services (mainly free ones) including; google (mail, drive, calender), waveaccounting, mailchimp, survey monkey. So far, this has been adequate in all areas except a database. *

Currently we have lots of spreadsheets, each event we create a new spreadsheet with attendees, a list of people we have had contact with and what sort of information they are interested in, records of work we have done with organisations (we do some funded work so need to report to funders). When we are publising something we then need to go through each list and contact them separately. Also, we sometimes need to create activity reports for funders or create a report for a funding application.

I've had a look round to see what is out there, the type of things I had looked at were things like the LASA software: However, for our need we would need to pay and to set up a database, if we then decide it isn't great it is a waste of time and money.

*I hope that is clear! *

I could come in Friday, I will have a 2 years old but as long as I have some biscuits he shouldn't be too much trouble. I'll also be around Thursday.



I responded:

Hi Rachel,

Thanks for the additional details.

Regarding your existing spreadsheets, are they Excel spreadsheets, or are they google spreadsheets? As it happens I'm looking at a similar "contact details spread over many spreadsheets" issue for HBC :-)

Lasa looks like an interesting solution, particularly with the free trial, but I guess you are saying that the cost of getting support from the LASA people would be prohibitive? Or perhaps just that even trying them as a solution might be prohibitive in terms of time setting things up?

Anyhow, no need to answer those questions immediately. I have three young boys - my youngest are both 3 so no problem if kids are around :-) Thursday is challenging for me, but perhaps I should confirm the follow up meeting with Angela - I know she is in the office on Thursdays as well.

I'll try to come back to you before Wednesday.

Many thanks in advance Best regards Sam Joseph


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