Database management. Website improvements. These are IT issues that can be particularly vexing for nonprofit organizations. At Taproot, we’re always looking for ways to support nonprofit capacity across issue areas, including technology. Luckily, we have corporate partners with the skills to do just that.
Partnering with MasterCard
Taproot and MasterCard partnered to launch the third MasterCard Pro Bono Challenge at MasterCard’s technology headquarters in O’Fallon, Missouri, in order to leverage the organization’s high-caliber IT talent. Twenty-eight MasterCard pro bono consultants paired with nonprofit leaders from five MasterCard grantee organizations – Girls Incorporated, Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis, The Magic House, United Way of Greater St. Louis and Youth Learning Center – to solve their various tech-related challenges. Projects ranged from developing an IT strategic plan and designing a framework for a new website to creating an RFP for a user-friendly point of sale (POS) system.
At the outset of planning for the third Pro Bono Challenge, we were unsure the extent to which nonprofits could walk away with tangible solutions to their IT needs after a one-day event. After all, IT is one of the most complex areas of nonprofit need. As one MasterCard nonprofit partner put it, “Our technology challenges feel so large and overwhelming – they’re black holes and it’s the first area we cut from the budget every year.”
“It becomes a vicious cycle when we don’t have the means to improve our systems and processes, and they don’t meet the needs of our employees, volunteers, and stakeholders.”
The Challenge proved that pro bono for IT works! For example, one nonprofit came into the Challenge expecting to have MasterCard help them identify an off-the-shelf solution to replace their cumbersome scheduling system, but the MasterCard pro bono team realized that it would be easier to update the nonprofit’s existing home-grown system, ultimately saving the organization time and money on products. These a-ha moments for the nonprofit participants led to real outcomes: after the Challenge, 100% of nonprofit participants expect to implement their project deliverables and 100% expect the project outcomes to have a significant impact on their work.
Are you a nonprofit that has similar needs to the ones addressed above?
While the MasterCard Pro Bono Challenge is a limited opportunity, it underscores that nonprofits can start to address their most pressing technology challenges through pro bono. Here are a few recommendations for leveraging pro bono to solve your organization’s IT-related needs:
- Create a Project on Taproot+: Taproot+ connects nonprofits to a curated group of highly-skilled volunteers, ready to tackle nonprofit needs. The best projects for Taproot+ are short-term, focused pro bono engagements that take 4-6 weeks to complete. IT-related projects that could be a good fit include anything from app development to website design or Salesforce optimization.
- Tap your Network: Taproot’s Provider Finder allows you to filter by issue area to hone in on pro bono providers or experts in your LinkedIn network who may be willing to offer their technology-related expertise pro bono.
- Apply for a Service Grant: Taproot’s Service Grant Program connects nonprofits in the New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles metro areas with a team of pro bono professionals for longer-term projects. Available IT Service Grants focus on Salesforce Implementation and WordPress Website design.
Ready to harness the power of pro bono for your technology needs? We look forward to hearing how your project goes!