Nonprofit Host Selection Process
The Nonprofit Digital Divide has implications for a large number of nonprofits, many of which would be eager to host a Geeks for America technology fellow. Because Geeks for America cannot service all the nonprofits that might want a geek and due to our commitment to finding the highest quality hosts for our geeks, we have created a rigorous selection process.
In selecting host nonprofits, Geeks for America endeavors to partner with worthy nonprofit organizations and offer the fellows an environment that is conducive to learning and appreciative of technology skills. We ask each nonprofit to fill out a simple application form, and then we consider all applicants according to our criteria. After narrowing the field of nonprofit applicants, the Geeks for America program staff conducts site visits and or phone interviews with the finalist nonprofits to survey the environment and discuss the program details with the Executive Director and prospective Site Supervisor. With a better understanding of the needs and facilities of the finalist nonprofits, the Geeks for America program staff will be able to determine the best pairing of host sites and geeks.
Nonprofit Selection Criteria
The criteria we have established for the selection of nonprofit host sites for our geeks are:
• Location and accessibility. Nonprofits have to be in within the city limits of city in which the GFA program is located. They also need to be easily accessible via public transportation.
• Organizational quality. Techfoundation seeks to introduce the geeks to the essential work of the nonprofit sector. We endeavor to partner with nonprofits that demonstrate the best of the nonprofit world through their mission, integrity, efforts, and accomplishments.
• Site supervisor. We ask that nonprofits ensure a means of keeping the geeks’ efforts and knowledge in the institutional memory of an organization. Nonprofits must designate a supervisor who will oversee the geek and commit to maintaining technology implemented during the fellowship. If not already versed in technology, the supervisor should be willing to be trained. Site supervisors are also responsible for providing regular feedback on the geek’s progress.
• Financial contribution. Nonprofits must be willing to contribute a portion of the overall costs of their assigned technology fellow. This will include but is not limited to the geek’s salary, benefits, and training fee.
• Full-time need. Nonprofits must have a scope of projects that will last the duration of the fellowship. Typically, a geek is only assigned to one nonprofit organization and it is very important that geeks do not feel underutilized. In their application, nonprofits will designate the type of projects, both ongoing and short-term, that they expect a geek to accomplish during their fellowship.
• Project level. Nonprofits’ expectations of a geek must be appropriate to the level of technology expertise of an individual who is just out of college.
• Appreciation for the strategic value of IT. We look for nonprofits that value technology, appreciate its potential benefits, and are open-minded about technical learning.