How QuickBooks Time helps nonprofits focus on their missions
Mana Services helps disadvantaged youth build a better future. Behind the scenes, QuickBooks Time keeps the ball rolling.It takes a special heart to run a nonprofit and a courageous one to build that nonprofit from the ground up. It’s fitting, then, that mana is the Hawaiian word for “inner strength.” It’s a word that describes the people who come through the doors at Mana Services and its founders, Jennifer and Harland Ah You.
Mana Services’ programs are invaluable to the Ah You’s community. They don’t just help disadvantaged youth via housing, counseling, and education. They also provide more permanent group homes to people with developmental disabilities. In many ways, Mana Services assists young adults who might otherwise be lost between government and community programs.
“My husband and I are from Hawaii, so mana is the basis of all our programs,” Jennifer says. “We help our clients recognize their strengths. Then, hopefully, we can build onto those and add tools for them to be as independent as possible for whatever they’re working through.”
But while their cause is noble, it’s how Jennifer and her team accomplish their goals that strikes a unique chord in the community.
Mana Ohana: Mana Services ensures nobody gets left behind
Idaho nonprofit, Mana Services
, works with youth who are aging out of foster care and juvenile corrections. “It started out as youth in foster care,” Jennifer says. “But now it’s mostly juvenile corrections kids who are 18 and 19 and, for whatever reason, can’t be released to their families. Maybe they don’t have family, or family is the reason they are where they are.”
The people who come through Mana’s doors are 18 and older, but in a lot of ways, they have the same needs as kids. Generally, those who come from juvenile corrections pair with Mana Services for the last 90 days of their custody.
“We have that length of time to teach them all the independent living skills we think they’ll need to know to be on their own,” Jennifer says. Things like how to find a job, how to save their money, and how to get their own place.
Initially, Mana Services was supposed to fulfill more short-term housing needs. But Jennifer says the program has expanded as she’s learned more about the kids they serve. One of the ways they expanded was by bringing on in-house counselors.
“We learned that a lot of the kids have mental health issues they’re dealing with. It was really difficult to partner with other agencies, because usually, those kids don’t want counseling, and many don’t trust adults.” So Jennifer and her husband hired their first counselor, and from there, nine more.
The program grew again when the couple realized some of the kids they were getting might never be able to live on their own.
“Last year, we started residential habilitation. Some of the kids who come to us have developmental disabilities. So we got credentialed to provide residential habilitation services. Now they can stay with us long term, and we can provide staff support in their own home. Or they can rent from us. And we have staff who assist them in being independent, too.”
QuickBooks Time helps Mana Services, so they can help the communityIn a perfect world, nonprofits like Mana wouldn’t have to think about things like payroll or taxes. But like any business owner, Jennifer has work to do beyond the group’s mission. “Three or four years into the business, I hired my first employee. It was scary, financially,” Jennifer says.
Part of that fear came from the knowledge that Jennifer and her husband are not “business-savvy people.”
That’s not why they got into the work they do.
“At first, I tried to do it myself,” she says. But Jennifer was frustrated by all the details that go into running payroll correctly by hand. And on top of that, doing it all on her own was extremely time-consuming
“It would take me just about a workday every week to get payroll done,” she says. “That didn’t include all the reporting things, too.” Then Jennifer found ADP for payroll and, from there, QuickBooks Time by QuickBooks.
“It frees me up. I used to have a payroll day where I’d be like, ‘Don’t bother me. It’s payroll day.’ It would take me that long to get that stuff in my head worked out,” she said. Now, Jennifer approves time and runs payroll for around 15 contractors and 30 employees in just a couple of hours.
As for specific features, Jennifer says QuickBooks Time’ Who’s Working window and the ability to add notes to timesheets both help considerably.
“I use [the Who’s Working window] a lot to see who’s on shift,” Jennifer says. It’s especially helpful because Mana Services has several houses and sites. “There are different people in different places at any given time. If I need to get in touch with one of our youths, I can see who’s on shift at that house. It’s awesome to be able to see who’s clocked in right now.”
Jennifer’s team also uses timesheet notes to keep track of mileage.
“QuickBooks Time helped us set it up so employees can enter their start odometer and stop odometer, and then we pay them. We reimburse them for mileage based on that.”
Time tracking and payroll might not be the most influential parts of Mana Services, but they’re essential tools to keep the nonprofit running.
‘Once a Mana kid, always a Mana kid’: Mana means family for lifeMana Services is a family for life for kids who need one.
“We do Thanksgiving and Christmas, a kickball tournament every summer, host barbecues … We invite our past youths as well. So the hope is that they won’t need us anymore, but if they want us, we’re still here for them,” Jennifer says.
“We always say, once a Mana kid, always a Mana kid,” she continues. “If they ever need us again, they can always call us, and we can help them. We’ll always help them find another job or help them find a place to live or connect them with resources. Even if they lose their health insurance, our counselors will still see them for free.”
It takes nothing short of mana—that inner strength—to start a nonprofit as important and impactful as Mana Services. The work is not always glamorous or recognized. But Jennifer and her team show up and give from their hearts every day. And thanks to behind-the-scenes tools like QuickBooks Time and ADP, employees can focus on the work that really matters. With worries like payroll and taxes out of the way, they can dedicate themselves to being family for those who need them most.