May 04, 2021
How Software Makes a Difference for Nonprofits and Volunteers
April 30, 2021
As April comes to a close, Software.org is proud to recognize National Volunteer Month in the United States. We would like to use this moment to share more about the software industry’s commitment to philanthropy and its active role in giving back to communities large and small across the nation.
Philanthropy remains an important pillar of Software.org’s mission. Over the years, we have been honored to support the efforts of leading nonprofit organizations making a positive impact in US and global communities, whether it’s expanding opportunities in computer science to aspiring young women in STEM, helping military spouses, veterans, and servicemembers explore careers and reskilling programs in technology, and supporting historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in their work to extend tech workforce recruitment in underrepresented populations.
In recognition of National Volunteer Month, here are three ways the software industry assists volunteers and aid organizations that you may not hear about in the news:
Enterprise software companies continue to help government agencies, schools, and nonprofit organizations combat and respond to COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed an immense challenge to nonprofits and the sector continues to face immense hardship today. As of December 2020, nonprofits had lost nearly 930,000 jobs compared to pre-pandemic February 2020 levels. At the same time, aid organizations are facing a huge increase in demand for their services while resources remain in short supply.
Software companies did what they could to help in the early days of the pandemic by offering many of their products, services, and remote work resources free of charge to nonprofits, schools, and governments struggling to stay afloat in a time of crisis. Companies also partnered with aid organizations such as the Red Cross and local food banks to provide monetary support, meal donations, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to communities in need.
Many in the industry, including IBM, leveraged their supercomputing and cloud resources in partnership with academia and the medical research community to understand the virus, develop treatments, and pioneer COVID-19 vaccines. As vaccinations increase and a return to normal approaches, the software industry will continue to be an important ally to nonprofits, governments, schools, and other institutions in their efforts to reopen safely.
Software companies give back to their communities.
Even when the world is not engulfed in an unprecedented global health emergency, software companies and their staff consistently take an active role in the communities where they live and work.
- Adobe offers discounted rates on their software products for nonprofits and NGOs working specifically to benefit local communities.
- The Autodesk Foundation contributed over $20 million to organizations working to address climate change and inequality through low carbon innovation, building more resilient communities, and preparing for the future of work.
- Through IBM’s Service Corps program, IBMers volunteer their professional and technical expertise to help solve problems in local communities, from boosting internet connectivity in a natural disaster to helping schools prepare for and respond to cyberattacks.
- Intel makes it a point to work with local charities in its neighboring communities and has partnerships in states across the country such as California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Texas.
- Microsoft employees have participated in a diverse range of pro bono volunteer activities worldwide for over 17 years, including partnerships with national organizations and local operations in the state of Washington like Seattle Stand Down, which works to prevent and eliminate homelessness among military veterans.
- Oracle Volunteers donated more than 130,000 hours of their time in fiscal 2020 to support organizations around the world promoting diversity and inclusion in STEAM careers, caring for the natural environment, ending food insecurity, and much more.
- Salesforce employees get six days of paid Volunteer Time Off each year under the company’s 1-1-1 model, which dedicates 1 percent of workers’ time back to their communities.
Many talented software professionals volunteer their own time to provide pro bono services.
It’s no secret that software developers and other tech workers possess a highly desirable skillset in today’s job market. Many technology skills, such as web development, coding, and programming tasks, are cost prohibitive for nonprofits even though organizations could stand to benefit from adopting modern digital tools.
Thankfully, generous software workers volunteer outside of their normal work hours to provide pro bono services and consulting to nonprofits implementing technology solutions. Salesforce, a company known for its suite of cloud CRM products, offers a Pro Bono Program to eligible nonprofits who need help configuring their tailored Nonprofit Cloud product or other labor-intensive technical tasks. This way, nonprofits can spend more time helping their communities and less time bogged down in admin projects.
This National Volunteer Month, we salute volunteers across the world and encourage you to seek volunteer opportunities near you. To learn more about Software.org’s philanthropic work, please visit https://software.org/initiatives/.
Program Manager, Software.org
Jake Morabito serves as Program Manager at Software.org: the BSA Foundation. In this capacity, he provides research, analysis, and project management support for the Foundation’s key organizational initiatives and events.