Today, every organization needs technology to manage operations and deliver services. Yet, due to resource constraints and systemic inequities, social sector organizations struggle to fully realize the benefits of technology.
This gap became even more pronounced last year as we faced the pandemic. During this time, nonprofits had to quickly adopt digital strategies to serve their communities. One of those nonprofits is Planet Bee Foundation.
Planet Bee Foundation is dedicated to developing an eco-conscious generation. The nonprofit promotes environmental stewardship and individual action through the teaching lens of the struggling honeybee. But in the wake of a pandemic and social distancing, how can in-person teaching continue?
To support this critical need, Planet Bee teamed up with VMware people on a Good Gigs Project.
Tech Pro Bono: From Theory to Practice
VMware created Good Gigs Projects to strengthen nonprofit tech capacity through pro bono service learning. This is one component of VMware’s ongoing commitment to nonprofit digital transformation 2030 Agenda.
To ensure digital transformation projects are meaningful and long-lasting, Good Gigs uses a phased approach. Teams discover, design, implement and maintain each project.
Through the partnership with Good Gigs Projects, Planet Bee staff assessed IT infrastructure and explored ways to:
- Maximize efficiencies.
- Reduce costs.
- Redirect IT administrative efforts towards other needs.
Planet Bee staff also quickly pivoted to digitize its curriculum and deliver virtual Bee STEM lessons.
“The ability to fulfill our mission at this junction is more important than ever with the inequities occurring due to COVID, the limited access to environmental education in schools and communities, and the relentless acceleration of climate change. Because of the VMware Good Gigs team, we were able to meet this unprecedented moment of the pandemic as a small, local nonprofit and address the needs of the students, teachers, and community members that we serve.” – Debra Tomaszewski, Founder, and Executive Director, Planet Bee Foundation.
Nonprofit staff and VMware employees reflect on their Good Gigs experience.
“Throughout the Good Gigs Project, my goal was to place the nonprofit’s needs first. (I had to) understand their line of business, their challenges, and vision before arriving at a hasty solution that might not address their needs.” – Mona Houcheime, manager, VMware, and Good Gigs project lead with Planet Bee.
Leaders for the Future
In the past two years, 22 nonprofits in six countries have been supported on their digital journey through VMware employee-led Good Gigs Projects.
“I think one of the best ways to grow as a leader is serving others. When you're doing that, you have to humble yourself and work towards a common goal.” – Matt Snyder, Senior Threat Analytics Engineer at VMware and Good Gigs Project Lead with Planet Bee.
Research shows that pro bono service-learning is an avenue to diversify and broaden our perspectives, which helps us innovate, navigate ambiguity and become agents of meaningful change.