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?
For 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.
Last night, the Hands On Nashville team was thrilled to receive the Frist Foundation: Innovation in Action Award at the Salute to Excellence Awards. (This event is like the Grammy’s for nonprofits in Nashville produced by the Center for Nonprofit Management.)
The HES Program engages volunteers in making energy-efficiency upgrades in low-income, owner occupied homes in North and East Nashville at no cost to homeowners. This is the only local, volunteer-centered program to focus exclusively on energy efficiency while addressing unmet community needs.
After homeowners are accepted into the program, they receive an in-home energy consultation with diagnostic testing. A suite of upgrades are identified, and volunteers make improvements: insulating attics, weather stripping doors, etc.
Over the last year, more than 100 homeowners have benefited from the HES Program. As a result of volunteers’ work, homes’ air infiltration (or “leakiness”) has been reduced by an average of 24 percent. This translates into average annual utility bill savings of $300 to $700 per homeowner.
Are you interested in volunteering for the HES Program and learning how to make energy-saving upgrades in your own home? We are always looking for helping hands for our weekly projects! (No experience needed! Our amazing HES leaders are eager to show you the ropes.) This is a good fit for both individuals and groups of up to 10. Click here to learn more and sign up, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.