Founding Funders Speech

<To Be Read in the Voice of Benjamin Franklin>Ben Franklin

Two score and Eight weeks ago, a man set forth the proposition that nonprofits should not suffer the unwieldy yoke of ineffective information technology, but that through their common business processes and universal need for great data, a collaboration might spring forth, with vision and process, to unite them with one clear IT strategy. Further, that we might gather true leaders from the small and midsize altruistic organization from this fair RVA, and deliberate and prioritize their similar needs for resolute action. That kind-hearted experts in all manner of technology could gather, in due course, to not merely to ponder the wish list, but to do identification, evaluation, and selection and yet find solutions that even the most modest nonprofit budget might afford. And that IT volunteers, both seasoned and green, might seize upon the guidance of one small and nimble agency and go forth and sow these solutions, these seeds of productivity and efficiency, about the many charities with nary a soul who knows the strange language of cloud architecture, that they might prosper and better serve their own clients and missions.

So on the second day of October, 2014, papers drafted and duly scanned, were delivered the fair State Corporate Commission, and by their recording was IT4Causes founded. The intervening months did indeed show these suppositions to be true, and by their usage numerous technology solutions were rendered unto local nonprofits, for the betterment of our lovely RVA. They proved that pragmatic executive directors need not toil at the helm of Google into the wee hours in hopes of stumbling upon cost-effective ways to create fine courseware for hungry pupils. That they need not lose more hours of restful slumber fretting over the integrity of their backups. That nonprofit employees of all types need not waste countless hours through the burden of ineffective paperwork that kills not only trees, but the very spirit of community giving that races in their blood. And that Boards need not squander precious resources on full-price IT services, when the earnest folk at IT4Causes perform their technology miracles for mere pennies on the dollar, when weighed in measure against the full and hefty bill that often accompanies commercial options.

In this manner, was a revolution of Information Technology for nonprofits born!

You your good selves can still join this revolution and be hailed as another Founding Funders for IT4Causes, by making a monetary contribution to these good works, and we shall take and mark your name upon the scroll such good fellows as a record of your noble actions. While giving amounts of all sizes can be used to aid in delivery of great IT, it seems only fitting that you should select some multiple of the $100 amount, as the likeness upon this denomination it that of Ben Franklin himself, the original nerd-in-chief of these United States.

consitution_w_founding

Looking for Academic Year 2015-16 Interns!

School’s back in, so what are YOU doing to keep developing the practical skills and experience that will make you stand out with top employers when you graduate?  More importantly, are you building your professional network outside of campus to help you land a great job when you finally get that sheepskin?  Since one of our summer interns used the network we helped her build to land her first career job, and another one is back to Blacksburg for the school year, IT4Causes is looking for a few sharp students with big hearts to help deliver great IT to local nonprofits.  If you’re interested, or know someone who might be, please read on to learn about the two different roles we are filling, and get those resumes in to thomas.anderson@IT4Causes.org by August 30, 2015.

IT4Causes is a local nonprofit agency. Our mission is to provide stable, secure, and sustainable information technology solutions that enable other nonprofit organizations to focus on their missions and serve their clients better, with lower total cost to their organization and the community.  As a startup, we offer high growth potential. Expectations for these roles are an average of 10-15 hours per week per school semester, with flexibility to accommodate exams and breaks. We will provide a stipend of at least $350 per semester for either position; exact amount may vary depending on our fundraising and business development success. Where possible, we prefer to use the same interns for multiple semesters and through the summer.  Please note that some schools also allow you to earn credits through internships, and in some cases these can even fill experiential learning or other program requirements; please check with your academic advisor for details at your institution.

IT4Causes IT Implementation Internship

As an IT Implementation Intern, you’ll work with our Project Manager and teams of skilled IT volunteers to implement best-in-class small business IT solutions at deserving nonprofit (we like to call them “for-purpose”) agencies across RVA. You’ll leverage playbooks we’ve developed to build towards a strong IT strategy and architecture. In the process, you’ll learn a ton about real life cloud-based solutions for file management, office productivity, accounting, fundraising, and case management, as well as web site development, social media, and networks. You’ll have opportunity to work with IT professionals in all stages of their careers, and you’ll meet some true experts in their fields.

Nonprofit Management Internship

As a nonprofit management intern, you’ll work with staff and volunteers to help our growing agency in many different ways, including marketing and branding, events, business development, and partner agency management. You’ll also help several of our client agencies learn to use donor management and case management systems effectively. And you’ll help us implement our social media strategy by developing content and posting across many channels. Our small staff means you’ll get to know all parts of our business, and because we serve other nonprofits, you’ll get to meet leaders at many other charities in RVA. We’ll provide a ton of networking opportunities, and you’ll work with us to build capacity in not just one agency but in many organizations around the region.

Please submit resume to Thomas.Anderson@IT4Causes.org by August 30, 2015.  Please indicate in the email title your name and which position you are applying for.

We wish all students great success in the coming year, and remind everyone to find some time to give back to your community during the year.  Volunteering makes you feel great, and looks great on your resume, but most importantly it helps others.

In Today’s Media: ConnectVA, RTD, and more.

Breaking News IT4C

Monday, August 17th has been a busy day for us in the office! Between our official 501(c)3 designation and preparing for future events, it’s a wonder we haven’t spent a fortune at the coffee shop across the street.

ConnectVA posted a Spotlight on our CEO and Founder, Tom Anderson, which you can read here.

And the Richmond Times Dispatch gave us a small article about achieving our IRS designation letter, which can be read here.

Even with all of the attention we’ve received from the media and our supporters, we still need  your support to help IT4Causes grow, and make our community a better place.  One great way to do that is to come celebrate with us at our “Happy 501(c)3 Hour“. Located at the Isley Brewing Company on September 1st from 5pm-7pm, we welcome you to come connect with us and other business professionals both in the IT and Nonprofit worlds.  And when helping us help others involves helping yourself to BEER, why wouldn’t you?!?

Throwback Thursday – From Maps to Apps

paper map copy

Do you remember rotary phones, baud rates, or punch cards? (Maybe not😊) Technology has brought about huge shifts in how we do things in just the past few decades. As part of a new blog series, IT4Causes will take you back once a month or so to how some things used to be done and how they can be done now with evolutions in technology. This post will be shared on Facebook so feel free to comment/share your memories/photos there!

Today’s throwback is to the good old-fashioned paper map. Explorers of old developed the maps that have guided individuals for centuries-whether it’s across town, across country, or around the world. While they still exist in places, it is less and less often that you get from point A to point B with their help. Today, cars come equipped with GPS that can get you to your destination while apps can guide you as you travel on foot, whether it’s around a new city or a new event.

I recently attended a special event where thousands of participants navigated their way around a convention center with a specially created mobile app that not only provided background information about speakers but also kept attendees up to date on conference happenings with special announcements. It helped connect a large number of attendees efficiently and effectively.

IT4Causes is using stable, secure, and sustainable information technology solutions to help build a better community right here in Richmond. As IT4Causes helps local small to mid-sized nonprofits, they in turn can focus more on their core missions. To learn more about IT4Causes, visit IT4Causes.org and sign up for the newsletter. IT4Causes is also on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

Making the Most of Your Internship

Internships are awesome, even if you do end up getting paid in chump change …or not at all (which will probably be the case for most you come across). No, really! Internships pay you back in a priceless form: experience. It’s the perfect practice course for the adult world. My current internship with IT4Causes not only taught me a lot but gave me a practice ring for current skills I needed to hone. It also led me to great job prospects which have led me to this current entry. This is a bittersweet farewell as I transition from ‘Koren the intern’ to ‘Koren the volunteer’. But before I embark on my new journey, I thought I would impart some knowledge I have learned!

IT4Causes Koren

My starting advice would be to find an internship in your junior or senior year of college (or sooner!). I admit I was a little late on this front and regret it. While things have thankfully worked out, my bank account would have looked better if I would have started sooner. Internships can lead you to job offers and having a job lined up right after graduation is a lot better than eating PBJs every day. I’m sure some of you are probably thinking, “I just don’t have time for that!” Be sure to look into your university’s policies involving class credits. Some universities allow you to turn your internship opportunity into class credit. If not, take a good look at your weekly schedule and try moving things around before you decide you don’t have time. While a night in with the roommates playing Settlers of Catan is super appealing, remember an internship is a step forward in securing your future and your friends will still be there on the weekends.

Never back down. If given a task you don’t know much about or haven’t done before, don’t pass it to someone else or decline. Take it on and do your own research first. We are lucky enough to have the world’s information with only one click of a ‘search’ button. Use it! Every challenge leaves the prospect of growth. Though here’s a huge secret involving this piece of advice: you will fail at least one of these challenges.

But the best part is: that’s okay! Most people would appreciate your initiative and being corrected on a task only means you’ve become better today than you were yesterday; that’s the real value or experience. Don’t let opportunities pass you by, seize them. Otherwise, how are you going to learn anything?

Now that you have some basic advice, are you interested in taking my place? IT4Causes is looking for new interns! There are two internship positions open. One is the Nonprofit Management Internship involving responsibilities such as working with staff and volunteers to help the agency grow in many different ways, including marketing and branding, events, business development, networking, partner agency management and more. The second is an IT Implementation Intern, responsibilities include working with our Project Manager and teams of skilled IT volunteers to implement best-in-class small business IT solutions at deserving nonprofit agencies across RVA, learning all about cloud based solutions and more! Be on the look-out for full descriptions of each position. Stipends will be offered for each one. Happy interning!

Cost Breakdown

90+% Off! How IT4Causes Makes Great IT a Bargain for Nonprofits

Cost Breakdown

Information technology can get expensive very quickly! From strategy consulting to project management to hardware and software costs, the price is often insurmountable for small- and medium-sized nonprofit agencies, who end up suffering with inferior systems.

IT4Causes helps solve this problem in several ways, so let’s walk through how we do that. We’ve done a number of projects since our inception last year, and we talked to a local for-profit IT shop to get their rates for similar work. Applying those rates to our work, the total commercial value of what we promised to customers through May ’15 would have been about $90,000. This doesn’t include any overheads or the investments we’ve made in developing our common strategy or playbooks.

Of course, since we are a nonprofit, we don’t charge the same rates as our for-profit peers Where the peer organization charges over $150/hr for consulting and project management services, we charge $100/hr and $65/hr for these services, respectively. We also provide most of the hours on our projects with volunteers, which have zero net cost to our nonprofit partners.

We also use community donations, grants, and events to raise funds to cover services provided directly to our partner nonprofit agencies as well as overheads. Gifts from individuals and unrestricted grants from foundations enable us to further reduce what we have to charge for our services. And sometimes, we are able to connect our partner charities to grant sources like Flashpoint Fund, so they don’t have to pay for any of the service directly.

After accounting for all of these factors, our total charges to our nonprofit clients will only total $7,100 for the $90,000+ in services they are getting, representing a 92.1% discount from commercial rates. While we expect these savings to vary based on the amount of funding we can raise, it’s clear that our client agencies are getting a great bargain on the IT services they need to serve their clients and missions.

Volunteer Spotlight: Emily Cowdrey

Emily Cowdrey

My name is Emily and I volunteered with IT4Causes. There is often more than one event on the horizon for this organization but volunteering is easily balanced with full time work. I helped organize a volunteer extravaganza where non-profits were introduced to skilled volunteers. The attendees were featured in the shooting of a new video to promote IT4Causes. Another event I participated in was a showing of the movie Office Space at The Byrd Theater. It was fun to watch the creativity of the team in the planning of this event and the movie-goers appreciated the fun activities (like smashing a printer)! Since volunteering with IT4Causes I have begun a three year management development program with Hajoca. We are a multi-national wholesale distributor for plumbing and HVAC supplies. I will spend time in each position at the company before running my own profit center. IT4Causes helped me to polish my networking skills while job searching and was a fun and rewarding experience all around!

We’ve Joined Club 501(c)3!

Approved

We are beyond excited to announce that our application for 501(c)3 status has been approved and we are officially a certified tax exempt organization.

We want to extend our gratitude to the members of our board; George Welch, Michael Pirron, and Terry Sherman.  And also thank Won-Suk Choi for his counsel on our legal matters, without which we may still be lost in a sea of applications. The combined effort of our board and volunteers along with the low-cost business model we presented to the IRS has earned us our official designation as Richmond’s premier 501c3 technology services provider.

What does this mean?

Nothing has changed in our services to the community, providing low-cost IT solutions to other nonprofits. Having 501(c)3 status allows IT4Causes to fundraise more efficiently. Now all past, current, and future donations can be considered as tax deductible. With nonprofit accreditation comes greater event and fundraising opportunities like involvement in The Amazing Raise and other nonprofit specific assistance.

What can you do?

Everything you are doing! Keep volunteering your time, skills, and support to IT4Causes and your community. If you are interested in becoming a part of the team as a volunteer helping Richmond area nonprofits with IT needs, assisting with marketing and branding, or other behind-the-scenes work, reach out to us at info@IT4Causes.org.

Setting Sail for Lighthouse Labs

IT4Sailing

IT4Causes has applied to Lighthouse Labs Accelerator program. This is Richmond’s premiere incubator program for nurturing new, tech-based startups. If accepted into the program, IT4Causes will receive $20,000 to help us grow, co-working space among the other chosen start-ups to help each other flourish, invaluable mentoring sessions from some of RVA’s best business and start-up leaders, and participation in a launch day where we will present our ideas to potential investors, the media, and the community.

Through this innovative program we seek to hone the Information Technology services we provide, learn to advertise our work better, and to strengthen our strategies to benefits the RVA community. This will help us immensely in promoting our cause and helping Richmond become a better place, but we need your support! Go to the link below to follow our page on the F6s site, which will show the Lighthouse judges that you support us!

https://www.f6s.com/it4causes2015?fb_ref=app_share