Originally published on VMware’s Radius, Taproot Foundation’s President & CEO, Lindsay Firestone Gruber, sat down with VMware for a conversation on tapping into the spirit of giving to bridge the social sector resource gap.
Listen to the podcast, which is hosted by Blakely Thomas-Aguilar, or read the excerpt below.
The Gift that Keeps Giving
Gift giving has long been part of the human experience. Only recently has it gone viral.
From crowd-funding platforms to social media campaigns, technology and giving are now powerful partners. Today, more than half (55 percent) of people who engage with nonprofits on social media end up taking some sort of action, according to Nonprofits Source.
Behind the scenes, massive collections of tech innovations are fueling not only charitable moments, but also real-world missions.
In the Service of Others
Innovative technology use also helps ensure nonprofits and social-good organizations get access to the support they need through pro bono service. That’s the goal of the Taproot Foundation. The non-profit’s mission is to nourish social change organizations by connecting them with the expertise and insights of skilled volunteers.
“Folks typically think of pro bono service as pro bono legal work, which is incredibly important, but already has a lot of avenues for support within the nonprofit sector,” explains Lindsay Firestone Gruber, Taproot Foundation president and CEO. “But nonprofit organizations also have a critical need for effective HR, IT, marketing and other staff to achieve their missions.”
Since its 2001 founding, the foundation’s infused more than $200 million worth of pro bono support directly into the nonprofit sector. That’s 1.7-plus million hours of pro bono consultation serving upwards of 8,000 nonprofit organizations across more than 13,000 engagements.
Pairing Volunteers and Tech for Good
While giving charities a tremendous boost, pro bono engagement also rewards the professional giving back. Volunteering actually hones skills. And this new benefit—called service learning—is growing as a corporate giving trend.
“We’ve seen a very heavily increasing recognition that participation and pro bono service is an incredible experiential learning opportunity,” Lindsay says, before providing an example. Haiti Now, she explains, is focused on ending child servitude through the power of education. Founded in 2010, “…it remains entirely volunteer run, making use of pro bono support to fuel its critical work and expand capacity.”