August 26, 2019
The tech sector is flourishing in Central Indiana and with it comes all kinds of opportunities. One thing people may not expect is the impact the industry and its growing workforce are having on the nonprofit sector.
Tech mindsets, talent, and resources are making waves for nonprofits in numerous ways. Some tech companies are experimenting with their own style of corporate philanthropy, looking for new ways to give back and engage their employees. Others have created interactive, social-fueled fundraising competitions, like Brackets for Good and OneCause’s new Indy Tech Gives initiative. Some exist to serve nonprofits, creating new products to help the sector find efficiencies or scale up to have an even greater impact. And some, like Boardable, do all those things.
We’re honored that Boardable, an Indianapolis-based platform for board and volunteer engagement, chose United Way of Central Indiana as their recipient for the inaugural Indy Tech Gives. For this competition, participating companies get six weeks to raise funds for a nonprofit organization of their choice.
Our relationship goes back to the very beginning of Boardable, before it had a name or even existed. We worked with Boardable CEO Jeb Banner and his team at SmallBox on a website project. During those conversations, we expressed the need for a digital portal to engage our board, store and share key documents, and have conversations when face-to-face meetings weren’t possible. We didn’t pursue the platform at the time, but it planted a seed. Later, when Jeb and the team launched Boardable, we were among the early adopters.
Aside from our shared history, Jeb also serves as one of our board members. When asked why they chose United Way, he added: “we strongly support their mission to eradicate generational poverty in central Indiana.” Another Boardable employee, Caroline Hoy, shared that she appreciates the diversity of goals and initiatives supported by United Way.
We’re honored to partner in this new way, seeing the Boardable team stretch their wings as fundraisers for Indy Tech Gives. They wanted to engage their employees in philanthropy, and this was a good way to get started.
Interestingly, they spend a fair amount of time on fundraising, but instead of working with donors seeking charitable gifts, they are sharing pitch decks with investors. The language is different, but one thing Jeb noticed – it’s all about storytelling. Jeb said, “As much as we would like to think, we make decisions based mostly on what we feel, not reason. In both tech and charitable fundraising, an effective pitch must tell a compelling story and, if possible, help people see their lives being improved by being a part of that story.”
Jeb envisions a day when the industry is lock step with nonprofits, sharing their knowledge, design and technical chops. He said, “What is obvious and easy for a professional designer or developer is Greek to many nonprofit professionals, who have deep mastery in their own areas of expertise. I think we could see many nonprofits transformed and I would hope the connections made would lead to board roles, volunteering, networking, etc.”