What will the wecena community look like when we’ve solved the problem?

[This post is the 3rd part of my draft application process to the Echoing Green (EG) fellowship program. You can help me earn 60.000 US dollars for the take-off of wecena by commenting this post with suggestions about how to best make my case to Echoing Green.]

Once the problem of giving innovative non-profit access to professional IT skills and services at no cost is solved, what will the wecena community look like ? This is the question EG suggests I answer before submitting my application to their fellowship program (see page 8 of their applicant coaching guide). Coach me by commenting my answering attempts below.

EG suggests I start by answering this 1st sub-question :

If your work succeeds, what will the headline in the newspaper say ?

Let’s try such a headline for 01 Informatique or ZDNet :

 » Pro bono IT services a critical enabler for major social innovations from education to environment via poverty reduction.  »

Or this one for the French non-profit press (Reporters d’Espoirs anyone ?) :

 » An army of computing experts and corporations join the fight for free access to education in villages of the South. French non-profits at the front.  »


 » Information technology for social good no more a dream. Low budgets no more an excuse from non-profit boards.  »

For the global press, possibly headlines such as :

 » Who’s the best in IT? Exxon Mobil or Greenpeace? Wecena the secret IT weapon for environmental innovations.  »

 » U.S. Congress to pass a France-inspired law in favour of pro bono service donations.  »

And ultimately (just for kidding ?) :

 » Price of IT pro bono services on the rise at Wall Street. IT shops on the race for CSR awards.  »

2nd sub-question from EG:

If your work succeeds initially and then your organization ceases operations what will the impact on society be ?

My answer :

Wecena’s business model is designed for generating enough profits so that competitors gain an incentive at emerging and replicating our model. Our earlier successes, financial transparency and benefits sharing will prove there is a profitable market for IT pro bono services delivery channels. Several organizations are already well positioned to contribute to such a market: sustainable development consultancies, consulting agencies dedicated to non-profits, philanthropy consultancies, non-profit technology assistance programs. In the end, this will give the most innovative non-profits access to a reliable and cost-efficient source of corporate IT pro bono services.

3rd sub-question for setting goals :

How will you measure the volume of your work? And what goals do you have for each in the short and long-terms?

OK. I’m a bit bad on this one. I can think of indicators of success. But I yet have to specify expected levels of success for these indicators. Too high and I am too optimistic as it would probably exceed our capacity to fund and manage growth. Too low and it would not show the passion there is for this project. Here are the reasonable indicators I am thinking of :

  • number of full-time equivalents (FTE) donated annually by IT corporations to wecena customers (non-profits) as of pro bono service deliveries : 4 FTE in the end of 2009, 10 FTE in the end of 2010, total available market of several hundreds of FTE in France only (woo hoo !)

Next sub-question, probably harder :

How will you measure if your work is making a difference? And what goals do you have for each measure?

My best guess at the moment :

  • median duration of relationships with non-profits (customer retention) : the more they keep accepting donations, the more useful they probably think these donations are : goal = after 2 years of operation (starting from our first operation), expected median duration of at least 6 months for non-profits having accepted first donation more than 1 year ago.
  • volunteer recruitment rate : percentage of IT engineers led to volunteering for « their » non-profit after a pro bono realization with us (rate of volunteering after the end of a wecena mission) => let’s say I’d be very happy if 10% of the wecena engineers kept on contributing at least once two weeks after the end of their individual intervention
  • increased understanding and knowledge of social challenges and innovations by IT employees and managers : => 50% more correct answers to online quizzes proposed by non-profit recipients at the start and at the end of any individual interventions
  • increased understanding and knowledge of IT uses and managements by non-profit members : => 50% more correct answers to online yearly quizzes proposed by us + IT donors.
  • profits (supposed to come with sucess in order to prove there is a market) : at least 5% after 2 years from the start of the 1st operation ?

There would be other indicators to monitor but I am not sure how to collect such data and how to process it so that we isolate our specific contribution :

  • evolution of the percentage of IT service companies donating pro bono services (market donors rate)
  • % of IT pro bono services in non-profit budgets (the more, the merrier)
  • evolution in the perception of technology by non-profit social innovators : we can survey this but I am not sure how to best setup such a survey so that it is reliable, comparable and relevant year after year
  • Cost, outreach and impact depth of social programs powered by our IT pro bono services compared to similar programs not relying on our services => this would be the real evidence of success but I don’t think we can acquire and process such data ; ideally, technology wecena gives access to would make multiply the impact and/or reach of a social innovation by a factor of 10 : ten times more people accessing open education programs, ten times more people with disabilities turning to computers as a daily tool, ten times less effort for homeless people to find a job, etc.
  • Qualitatively, I would like to hear from non-profit boards that recognized social innovators set themselves new social goals because of the technologies wecena can give them access to.

Hey, what to do you think ?

5 réflexions au sujet de « What will the wecena community look like when we’ve solved the problem? »

  1. Ping : AkaSig » Blog Archive » What’s the logic of our wecena idea?

  2. Sig Auteur de l’article

    Marie, from Antropia, suggested an additional headline :  » The IT sector gets involved to leverage the impact of social entrepreneurs.  » Good one, isn’t it?

  3. Ping : AkaSig » Blog Archive » Applying to the Echoing Green fellowship program

  4. Jessica

    This is an amazing proposition. I think IT services can truly help society achieve the kind of efficiency that has been lacking, especially in government. This kind of social strategy should be lauded and supported. What happened though? Were you able to build enough funds to start the Wecena community?

  5. Sig Auteur de l’article

    I did not get the funds and had to start on my own. The Wecena community is thriving now : 5 French non profits are benefitting from its interventions and 7 IT firms have been partnering with us.

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