If you’ve ever worked for a nonprofit organization, you know they’re being stretched in every direction – helping those around them, while also trying to get funding, get volunteers and keep up with technology trends so they can stay ahead. Today, on Giving Tuesday, Dell Technologies is opening the Pro Bono at Dell nomination process to the public in support of nonprofits around the globe in their digital transformation journey. I’ll share more about this exciting announcement later in the post.
I’m deeply familiar with nonprofits’ challenges because I spent the first half of my career working in international development and emergency humanitarian aid for international nonprofit organizations, providing critical services to refugees and vulnerable populations around the world. I loved the work. I was relentlessly passionate about the impact I was making, and the sense of purpose I felt put a constant fire in my belly. But the work was both rewarding and exhausting at the same time. I felt overworked, underpaid, tired, bogged down by bureaucracy and a lack of resources, extremely stressed and constantly frustrated.
One day, I was making the rounds in our office of more than 200 colleagues checking on the status of some critical data on which I was waiting. To my surprise, some of the colleagues were just sitting at their desks doing nothing. With deadlines approaching, I could feel my frustration rise when I asked for an explanation. My heart sank, however, when they told me there were not enough laptops for everyone in the office to complete their reports at once. This meant two colleagues took turns using one laptop because we did not have enough funding for everyone on the team to have their own laptop.
It is a conundrum with which nonprofits around the globe contend: keep costs low and output high. The example above is only one of many from my early career. From lacking enough emergency satellite phones while working in dangerous regions, to struggling with reporting and data collection errors due to lack of staff training, to reviewing 10,000 printed job applications to ensure fair hiring practices for basic jobs, the inefficiency was pervasive. How can we expect nonprofit workers to solve some of the most complex issues facing society without sufficient technology, staff and funding?
That is why I joined Dell. As part of our Environmental Social and Governance initiatives, we have committed to help 1,000 nonprofits’ digital transformation journeys by 2030, and I was tasked with building a suite of pro bono programs to make it happen.
With my field experience and understanding of the challenges nonprofits face, I built the Pro Bono program. Pro Bono at Dell connects our talented and diverse team members with nonprofits all over the world that need our support. Pro bono consulting services can range from helping a nonprofit go from paper to paperless data collection or creating new ways for employee or customer interaction. We can help provide expertise on any operational challenge, not just the “high-tech” ones.
We primarily engage with nonprofits through Pro Bono Consulting Workshops and Pro Bono Projects. Workshops offer short, highly structured and intense bursts of consulting support through a two-day workshop, while a project is longer-term and offers more flexible support over several months. In all cases, the challenge is unique to the participating nonprofit, and we match volunteer teams to provide support based on their professional expertise.
96% of our volunteers have said that volunteering through pro bono to help us achieve our ESG goals makes their work more meaningful. 97% found it fulfilling to use their professional expertise in a new context while 77% reported direct value to their career development goals.
This isn’t just good for the nonprofit; it’s also good for our business. Offering pro bono volunteering as a benefit to our team members is core to our strategy. Pro bono, or professional skill-based volunteering, is an opportunity for our team members to enhance their leadership, consulting and technical skills. Along with providing an additional sense of purpose in the workplace, it allows them to challenge themselves in a new way, while gaining insights into operational challenges facing nonprofits. For nonprofits, it is an opportunity to get pro bono help from industry experts who understand digital transformation and the challenges a business can face on their journey toward digital transformation.
In just three years, we have already supported more than 200 nonprofits through our pro bono programs, and our team members have provided more than $3 million in pro bono services by lending their time and talent.
97% of Nonprofits felt they received the same courtesy, respect and effort as a paying customer. 87% believe participating will help their organization’s digital transformation. 82% anticipate an increase in effectiveness, 92% reported their deliverable was good or excellent and 46% anticipate an increase in their organization’s reach.
Today, I am excited to announce we have opened our nonprofit nomination process to the public for the first time, enabling everyone, including our customers, team members and partners, to nominate nonprofits to receive free pro bono support from us. For Giving Tuesday, the season of giving and all year round, help us support nonprofits around the globe by nominating a nonprofit that needs support on their digital transformation journey.
In addition to your regularly planned giving, nominate a nonprofit for pro bono support from Dell today.
Featured photo courtesy of Britney Wehrfritz.