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Letters to a Young Manager

The reward is in the doing, #241
LTYM > Leadership and Values

Dear Adam,
Don't hesitate to ask local corporations to help out your nonprofit IT team. You may be surprised at the answer.

I once met the CIO of a large food sector corporation in the next town. He was very interested in our humanitarian work and asked how he could help. I asked if his IT team could help us upgrade all our desktop computers to the latest OS and Active Directory. He agreed.

He sent a half dozen engineers one weekend to help us go to each desk, to complete and test the upgrade (this was before the days of automatically pushing out software upgrades). He even offered to buy the pizza and Coke for the combined team. We completed the job ahead of schedule and my team made a number of new friends in the process.

I called the CIO on Monday to thank him for his help. I asked him what we could do as a quid pro quo for what his team did for us. I suggested I write his CEO or put an article in his corporate newsletter. He said. “you already did it.”
“Oh?” I asked.
“Yes, when my team came back on Monday morning they were all charged up about the work they had done at your org. That made it more than worthwhile."

I was dumbfounded, but what he said made sense. Having a motivated team that feels good about its work is priceless.[1]

[1] Note that his team did more than contribute their time; they gave their expertise. This type of "skilled philanthropy" is more meaningful to corporations and employees, And what they want to give.


Giving back is a strong motivator for any team

Discussion Questions:

1) What IT work do you need to get done that a corporate partner could help make happen?
2) What give-back actions can you get your team involved in doing?
3) How important was the pizza and coke?

For Further Reading:

See "Giving Back is Strategic," Story #62

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