‘Tis the Season for Serious Good - The Business Case for Giving IT
Once companies discovered that their brand value depends partly on the strength of their relationship with the communities where they operate, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was born, and philanthropy became a mainstream business practice. Good.
Internet access is the modern dial tone. Thus the costs of digital exclusion are large, so the potential benefits of gifting surplus IT are truly great. A 2010 study by the Digital Impact Group estimates the cost of digital exclusion in the United States at $55 billion per year. Some 28 million households—80 million Americans—are without a computer or Internet access, impacting families’ ability to do homework, access job search resources, reference healthcare information, be online consumers and generally stay connected to civil society. If connectivity facilitates prosperity, then the macro economic benefits of closing the digital divide are obvious.
But the strategic benefits to companies that donate computers are often as easy to identify. Providing services to an online banking customer comes at a small fraction of the cost of a doing the same thing with a human, not to mention selling insurance, or even educating children. Advertising electronically is so much more efficient than traditional media, marketing departments should be calling for a computer in every pot. Widespread digital inclusion puts the commerce in e-commerce.
A company’s reputation in the community, measured by the attitudes of its customers and employees, is so vital to the value of its brand it’s no wonder that CSR has become a boardroom priority. Virtually every major company has CSR objectives, but when donations of IT are handled ad hoc, without connecting them to larger enterprise priorities, the full potential of the gift goes unrealized. Redemtech’s Serious Good™ initiative is designed to guarantee the value of technology gifts for both the donor and the recipient.
Serious Good begins with collaboration between CSR, Marketing and IT—a starting point which broadens IT’s strategic relevance to the business before the first donation is made. An impactful technology donation requires technical support on the ground, so Redemtech has partnered with Habitat for Humanity, TechSoup Global and Per Scholas to provide distribution, training and support resources. Our status as a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher allows us to provide genuine, supported software for pennies. And since technology gifts don’t last forever, Redemtech provides free take-back and recycling services with every donation.
Our Serious Good whitepaper, Giving: The Most Strategic IT Asset Disposition, details best practices for ensuring that IT donations are a strategic disposition of corporate surplus, and not a mere giveaway. It also describes the Giving ROI, which is a framework to account for the value of every gift. As we enter the season of Windows 7 migrations, there has never been a better time to reevaluate IT asset disposition strategies to better include the most strategic of all dispositions—giving.