IT ex­perts give their time

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

TECH­NOL­OGY buffs are hack­ing char­i­ties’ com­puter sys­tems – but it’s all for a good cause.

A group of IT pro­fes­sion­als and graphic de­sign­ers are vol­un­teer­ing their time and ex­per­tise to solve non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions’ tech­nol­ogy is­sues for free.

The ini­tia­tive, cre­ated by im­pactNPO, aims to save char­i­ties thou­sands of dol­lars and hours of their time. Heart Kids NZ, Child Poverty Ac­tion Group and Sus­tain­able Coast­lines took part in the first Auck­land event on Septem­ber 14.

IT ex­perts give up their week­end to help non-profit groups solve any tech­nol­o­gyre­lated is­sues.

Grafton-based char­ity Heart Kids, which sup­ports chil­dren and their fam­i­lies af­fected by con­gen­i­tal heart dis­ease, will now save about $8500 over the next year, just by chang­ing its web­site provider.

It’s a win-win for ev­ery­one in­volved, im­pactNPO team mem­ber Richard Scott-Wil­lHarknett says.

‘‘As an IT pro­fes­sional you are of­ten work­ing hard for an or­gan­i­sa­tion with lit­tle recog­ni­tion and with work that’s not al­ways that ful­fill­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘This gives the IT com­mu­nity a chance to give back to wor­thy non-prof­its.’’

Heart Kids re­ceives no gov­ern­ment fund­ing, so is re­liant on fundrais­ing for all its ser­vices.

The ini­tia­tive proves that sup­port­ing a char­ity doesn’t just mean writ­ing a cheque, Heart Kids’ fundrais­ing and mar­ket­ing man­ager Kerry McLeod says.

‘‘Not ev­ery­one is able to do that – the week­end was a re­ally great ex­am­ple that vol­un­teer­ing time, re­sources, skills and en­ergy, ac­tu­ally does have a tan­gi­ble im­pact.’’

The yearly sav­ings could fund eight chil­dren to at­tend one of its an­nual camps or an ex­tra six months’ worth of sup­plies and support for par­ents with chil­dren Star­ship Hos­pi­tal.

‘‘We’d been pulling our hair out over some of our IT chal­lenges. We’d known that we needed to work on it for a long time but we didn’t have the re­sources and the knowl­edge to help our­selves.’’

McLeod rec­om­mends other not-for-prof­its grab the op­por­tu­nity with both hands.

‘‘I can un­der­stand some of the reser­va­tions some of the char­i­ties may have – of­ten we’re look­ing for longer-term com­mit­ments,’’ she says.

‘‘It’s re­ally hard to know what you are go­ing to achieve in a week­end but I

at was blown away with what was achieved in that short space of time.’’

Sus­tain­able Coast­lines gen­eral man­ager Cam­den Howitt says his Eden Ter­race en­vi­ron­men­tal char­ity de­cided to take part to en­sure it main­tains a strong on­line pres­ence.

‘‘The value of dig­i­tal lit­er­acy in the non-profit space can­not be un­der­es­ti­mated and im­pactNPO is tak­ing pos­i­tive steps to support this,’’ he says.

‘‘One of the week­end’s un­ex­pected suc­cesses was that it in­tro­duced us to a new vol­un­teer de­vel­oper that has of­fered on­go­ing support – a huge win for our char­ity.’’

Or­gan­is­ers hope to run another event. Any non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion or IT pro­fes­sional can ap­ply. Go to im­pactnpo.org for de­tails.

Re­boot­ing sys­tems: Heart Kids fundrais­ing and mar­ket­ing man­ager Kerry McLeod and com­mu­ni­ca­tions co-or­di­na­tor Kit Odlin.

Sus­tain­able Coast­lines gen­eral

man­ager Cam­den Howitt

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