Category Archives: GeekCause

NIC Inc. specialists assist Alive Hospice in increasing capacity for health care students

GeekCause matches Nashville’s most talented techies with community partners in need of their services. From tech consultation to solution implementation, GeekCause provides a low-cost platform for agencies to solve tech-based challenges through the support of skilled volunteers. The HON team periodically shares GeekCause project highlights to help show how skilled volunteers are having an impact in the community. 

Alive Hospice is a Middle Tennessee-based nonprofit that provides compassionate end-of-life care, palliative care, bereavement support, and community education. Each year, they engage hundreds of college students studying healthcare to help them learn about end-of-life care and gain real-life work experience.  

Prior to this year, members of the Alive team manually scheduled and tracked students’ progress within their Institute, and spent weeks compiling student data at the end of each semester. 

But they knew there had to be a better way. So they reached out to GeekCause to see if  skilled volunteers could help them find a solution. 

GeekCause paired Alive with volunteers from NIC Inc., the nation’s largest provider of government websites and digital services. NIC volunteers brought expansive knowledge of data storage and management solutions to the table — a great fit for Alive’s needs.  

The team of volunteers worked with the hospice provider to envision a solution for registering students and creating an all-in-one platform for them to enroll and assist with a variety of roles within the company. 

The registration portal feeds into a database that stores students’ data, allowing them to sign agreement forms virtually, sign up for shifts, and log other relevant information in the database. Volunteers were able to build a cloud-based storage system, which Alive can maintain for a low monthly fee. 

“With our complex needs, they were able to deliver an automated student onboarding platform that we’ll start using for fall registrations,” says Debbra Warden, Director of Contracting, Quality and Data Analytics at Alive Hospice. “The GeekCause team was wonderful to work with and accommodated our multiple requests for changes while we worked through our needs. They did everything with a smile every single time.” 

Deb Kilpatrick, a Project Manager with NIC Inc., led the volunteer team through the project. She and her team are proud of what they have been able to accomplish despite this year’s challenging circumstances.  

“We’re really just grateful the MSP (Microservice Platform) team had the opportunity to give back to our community,” Kilpatrick says. “Alive Hospice does so much to support those in unimaginable situations, and they handle themselves with such care and grace. We sincerely hope the effort our team has provided is a benefit and helps to simplify scheduling student experiences so they can focus on what they do best.” 

By tracking students’ progress through the Alive Institute, Alive staff will be able to more easily give educated, informative feedback to students’ professors, and use their data to apply for future funding opportunities. 

More about the Alive Hospice Institute 

Currently, Alive Hospice offers observational experiences for students enrolled in professional health care programs at Belmont University, Lipscomb University, Meharry Medical College, Middle Tennessee State University, Motlow Community College, Vanderbilt University, and University of Tennessee. 

While working with the Institute, students are under the direct supervision of a health care professional at Alive Hospice. This provides students the opportunity to begin understanding how Alive provides care to those with life-threatening illnesses, supporting patients’ families, and how Alive Hospice provides service to the community in a spirit of enriching lives. 

Did you know? Skilled tech volunteers have contributed 1,368 hours of service so far this year and provided the equivalent of $144,000 in services and support to our community partners! 🤯🤯🤯 

Could your nonprofit use some tech help? Does your tech-savvy work team want to give back to the community? Learn more about GeekCause here. 

Local software company Acklen Avenue volunteers time to develop Nashville Launch Pad app

GeekCause matches Nashville’s most talented techies with community partners in need of their services. From tech consultation to solution implementation, GeekCause provides a low-cost platform for agencies to solve tech-based challenges through the support of skilled volunteers. The HON team periodically shares fun GeekCause project highlights to help show how skilled volunteers are having an impact in the community. 

Nashville Launch Pad, an LGBTQ-affirming shelter for young adults experiencing homelessness, came to GeekCause looking for an easy way for guests to make reservations online and to begin collecting data about their visitors’ needs.

After a consultation with the GeekCause team, the nonprofit was paired with Acklen Avenue, a local software development company with a heart for service.

“Acklen Avenue treated us as they would the highest of high-end clients,” says Nashville Launch Pad Executive Director Ty Brown. “No question was unimportant, no detail too small. Everyone was friendly and able to make an extremely complex process feel simple and even fun.”

After Launch Pad and Acklen connected, the volunteer team began by assessing the nonprofit’s needs, formulating a plan, and then set to work creating a solution. The app launched in December, and volunteers have continued to make adjustments to the app as needed.

“The experience with Launch Pad was extraordinary,” says Rony Vidaur, a software engineer at Acklen. “Working on the project felt good not only because it was something we were all interested in creating, but also because we knew the project was going to be open-source, meaning our work had the potential to reach an even greater number of people.”

The AA team showed a phenomenal level of commitment to the project, Brown said. Now, it takes only a few minutes to show volunteers and clients how to use the app, and to utilize the data to continue serving clients to the best of Launch Pad’s ability.

Could your nonprofit use some tech help? Does your tech-savvy work team want to give back to the community? Learn more about GeekCause here.

Happy birthday, GeekCause!

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It’s been a year since GeekCause joined Hands On Nashville to help address crucial tech needs at local nonprofits. GeekCause is a skilled-volunteerism initiative that matches Nashville’s most talented techies with community partners in need of their services.

In its first year at HON, GeekCause activated 67 volunteers who completed 10 projects for nine nonprofits. As of mid-November, nearly 15 projects are in progress.

“In addition to accomplishing a seemingly daunting goal of setting up a recurring donor program, the GeekCause experience was utterly delightful. I am afraid you have gained a ‘frequent flyer’ for future projects.”
— Alison Gower, Executive Director of Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic 

“It’s been amazing to help nonprofits begin to see how they can leverage technology to make their lives better and easier, to improve their reach, and to better use resources,” says Monica Weiss-Sharp, HON’s Director of Skilled Volunteer Engagement.

The projects completed by GeekCause volunteers in the past year — data funnel/dashboard buildouts, Salesforce trainings, website updates, and more — carry a combined market value of $51,000.

The value proposition is clear: Nonprofits are able to get high-quality tech help for a fraction of the price it would cost them through an IT firm. But it’s not just nonprofits that benefit from the GeekCause model. The initiative also opens up a new path to volunteerism for busy professionals. More than 200 volunteers with a variety of tech skills have signed up and are ready to be paired with a project that matches their interests and skills.

“I love that this idea exists. It’s so great to be able to use a skill to help someone in need of that skill.”
— Blake Crozier, GeekCause volunteer

“GeekCause is redefining what it means to volunteer,” Weiss-Sharp says. “These projects give highly skilled people a way to donate their time and their talents doing something to address issues that are important to them.”

How GeekCause Works

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Engage with GeekCause

Nonprofits: Got a tech challenge? Request a consultation! Our team will talk through your issue and help you get a better idea of the solutions skilled tech volunteers could offer.

Tech-savvy folks: Want to be a GeekCause volunteer? Sign up here! Don’t worry — just because you sign up as a GeekCause volunteer doesn’t mean we’ll automatically assign you projects. We work with our volunteers to find the right project and right timeline for each individual.

For anyone with questions: Drop a note to Monica Weiss-Sharp!

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The geeks have landed!

GeekCause, which matches Nashville’s most talented techies with community partners in need of their services, has a new home at Hands On Nashville! GeekCause provides a low-cost platform for agencies to solve tech-based challenges through the support of skilled volunteers. 

Monica Weiss-Sharp, HON’s GeekCause project manager, took some time to answer questions about the program.  

What’s your background and how did you get involved in GeekCause? 

monica mugFor the past five years, I was the Practice Manager at a veterinary hospital in Franklin. I oversaw all areas of daily functioning (patient care, customer service, staff support), and helped guide the practice through tremendous growth, from two to six full-time veterinarians. At the practice, I had the opportunity to learn about and troubleshoot all sorts of tech solutions, from digital X-ray systems to practice-management software.

For four of my five years at the veterinary practice, I was also pursuing a master’s in social work with a focus on Organizational Leadership. During the final year of my degree program, I had the opportunity to intern with Hands On Nashville. I worked on many different projects, including some initial research and planning around how to bolster skills-based volunteerism.

My strengths definitely lie in the realm of guiding ideas toward becoming a concrete realities, and I’m looking forward to applying those strengths to support the successful completion of GeekCause projects. 

How does GeekCause work? 

GeekCause connects talented tech volunteers with nonprofits who need their support. Then I serve as a guide for both throughout the process. It is super easy both for volunteers to sign up and complete their skills profile and for nonprofit organizations to submit projects to us. From there, I review the project to make sure it’s a good fit for a volunteer to work on, and make a match with a volunteer whose skills line up with the project’s needs. I remain connected with the project from kickoff to close-out to help ensure success. In the end, the nonprofit gains a new capability and the volunteer has the satisfaction of knowing that they have helped strengthen their community.

Continue reading The geeks have landed!