The Geeks for America program delivers young, aspiring technology professionals to nonprofit organizations across the country. Program applicants, typically recent college graduates, are awarded 1-2 year fellowships to work with a nonprofit and address its information technology needs.
The Geeks for America program can be broken down into the following four phases:
The recruiting phase begins each fall when GFA and its partners collaborate to find highly-qualified technology fellows, nonprofit host sites, and high-tech volunteers for the following year.
Once all of the Nonprofits applications have been received, a list of potential host sites are posted on the web for review by the potential geeks. As part of the geek application process, geeks will indicate their preferred choices of nonprofit host. During the final review process, geeks and nonprofits will be matched together based on the nonprofit’s requirements and the geek’s preferences.
The training program begins with an introductory “boot camp”. Nonprofit technology planning, project management, basic troubleshooting, and networking are a few of topics that will be covered during the initial training. Additional online and classroom-based courses will be available throughout the fellowship.
Fellows receive additional support and guidance during the fellowship through communicating with the volunteer mentors, connecting with other nonprofit technology professionals and regular contact with the GFA staff. Geeks will also have access to an online collaboration and support portal complete with message boards, calendars and email.
The combination of resources from TechFoundation and its other nonprofit technology initiatives with the resources of the Geeks for America partner organizations provides a unique offering to aspiring technology fellow and nonprofits. The GFA partners, a collection of educational institutions, social service organizations, nonprofit technology experts, and high-tech companies, play a significant role in all of the four phases of the Geeks for America program. The educational institutions and social service organizations are heavily involved in the recruiting and placement of fellows and nonprofit hosts. The initial boot camp and ongoing training is provided in part by custom classroom courseware developed by the TechConnect program and nonprofit technology experts. Much of the GFA technology infrastructure such as the GFA online collaboration and support portal with an e-learning component is made available through high-tech companies associated with TechMarketplace.