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All people in tech companies want to improve the lives of their stakeholders, and this can include helping organisations in the charitable or voluntary and community sector (VCS) low or pro bono, an activity usually known in business as Corporate social responsibility (CSR) or Corporate responsibility (CR).
This can include giving the VCS organisation support to use technology better, and more, possibly to automate some of the more repetitive and time-consuming processes in the organisation.
It might also mean joining the Board of a VCS organisation as an unpaid Trustee or Director in order to assist with good governance.
We want to support tech companies and VCS organisations in the Midlands to grow and develop those kind of relationships. We can see there are mutual benefits to be had.
Benefits for the tech companies
Benefits for the tech company can include that the company can offer development opportunities to their staff to increase their employability and retain their talent. They can learn more about and engage better with their local area and community. They can develop new products and services, or improve existing ones. They can gain satisfaction from helping and reinvesting some of their profits and resources in the local community.
Individual staff members can get satisfaction from helping a VCS organisation which helps people in their local area and community.
Benefits for the VCS Organisation
Benefits for the staff of the VCS organisation can include that they can improve their technical and digital skills, thus increasing their employability.
The organisation can learn about opportunities to change some of its processes, possibly freeing up valuable time to spend it with users of their services. They can offer opportunities to local tech companies who want to fulfil their CSR.
How we can help
We are members of the collaborative workspace and community of changemakers Impact Hub Birmingham. We also do project work around open data at the incubation centre of the Birmingham tech community Innovation Birmingham. We have built excellent relationships with colleagues and companies based in each of these spaces.
This, and our many years of senior level experience and networks in the wider voluntary and public sectors, plus our wide social media networks, makes us ideally placed to bring together people from both the voluntary sector and tech companies under the tech for good/social impact banner.
Tech for good meetups and other initiatives
In 2015 we co-founded Net Squared Midlands (@Net2Midlands), a local branch of the global Net Squared network of tech for good groups. We run regular Net Squared Midlands sessions at Impact Hub Birmingham. Every month or so we run a session to bring tech companies and not-for-profits together to address topics of mutual interest e.g. agile processes, using video better.
We also co-founded the unconference for voluntary sector infrastructure organisations interested in digital transformation, VCSSCamp, hosted annually since 2013 at Innovation Birmingham. We work on a number of other related initiatives including the UK Open Data Camp and the West Midlands Open Data Forum
Want to know more?
We are taking these ideas further. If you’re from a tech company or a VCS organisation, or a strategic body which supports these organisations, and this post has sparked your interest, please get in touch with us to find out more and to start a conversation.
Thanks to Joel Blake OBE, Social Innovation Consultant, for some of his expert insights in this field