Wanted: Technologists to make a different kind of difference by helping Silicon Valley nonprofits

A new program designed to help Silicon Valley nonprofits take better advantage of technology is seeking tech savvy individuals to create a volunteer help desk.
These organizations feed the hungry, comfort the traumatized and provide countless other human services for Silicon Valley residents. But they don’t know how to develop and deploy a cloud computing strategy.
“It’s about demonstrating a commitment to the community — making an impact,” said Brian Mattos, a coordinator with HandsOn Tech Silicon Valley, a program sponsored by the federally-funded AmeriCorps and Points Of Light, a nonprofit that promotes volunteer networks. Last year, teams of tech experts were set up in various cities, from San Francisco to New York. Now a team is setting up a similar program in Silicon Valley.
Mattos is one of four staffers who will be leading seminars for nonprofits, as well as working closely with a handful of organizations. But volunteers are needed to help nonprofits evaluate their technology strategies and implement plans.

“There are only four of us. We can only do so much,” he said. “The volunteers are there to be extensions of the team.”

A central component of the program includes introducing nonprofits to free services — such as email and document packages as well as advertising — offered by Google and Microsoft.

“A big part of our job this year is to make them aware of the resources available to them,” Mattos said.
The other goal is to recruit tech savvy volunteers who can provide one-on-one help for nonprofits.
These organizations need “technology people who work in these companies all over town who can help them, whether it is with their Web site, backing up their systems or their social media presence,” said Patricia Gardner, executive director of the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits.

For more information on how to help, go to HandsOn Tech Silicon Valley.



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