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    Helping a non-profit tackle digital inequity


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    Helping a non-profit tackle digital inequity

    3M pro-bono consultants worked on a skills-based project to help United Way UK attract funding to help people who are not connected to the internet gain online access.

    • Helping a non-profit tackle digital inequity

      More than three million UK households have limited or no access to the internet at home for a variety of reasons and this severely restricts their life chances.

      Three pro-bono consultants from 3M spent two weeks working on a skills-based 3M Impact Local project to help host organisation United Way tackle this digital inequity.

      Company volunteers Tracey Pemberton, Mike Hall and Richard Godfrey were tasked with developing a branding and communications package to help attract funding for a new campaign that will enable more people to gain online access and education.

      Their project was one of four supporting non-profit organisations across South-East England as part of 3M Impact, an international pro-bono consultancy programme that gives 3M employees the opportunity to use their skills to help solve some of the world's most pressing problems.

      Speaking about the project, Tracey said: “At first we didn’t understand the extent of the problem, but soon got to appreciate how digital equity helps communities and individuals unlock access to resources, knowledge and skills for better health, improved education and career opportunities. As well as the brand name – ‘#Destination Digital’ - and strapline for the campaign – ‘connecting for a lifetime of enriched opportunities’, we created additional assets to enhance the United Way website.

      “Initially, it felt like a daunting brief which was far removed from our usual day jobs, but we asked lots of questions and quickly learned to trust each other’s skill sets. We really appreciated having the time to invest fully in the project and found the experience uplifting. We were also inspired by the collaborative nature of the voluntary sector.”

      Thanking the 3M team, CEO of United Way UK, Jane Hudson Jones, said: “The project has been a huge success and was something that we didn’t have the in-house skills or budget to complete ourselves.

      “The team was really motivated and became totally immersed in the work and it was wonderful to see how much they enjoyed it and how much their confidence grew. They came up with a brand that we love and will use to raise awareness of this critical and growing area of need.”

      The experiences of the volunteers and hosts were shared during an online closing ceremony held at the end of the two-week programme, where it was announced that the four participating non-profit organisations will also benefit from a $5,000 grant from 3M to help them implement the new strategies developed by their pro-bono consultants.

      The Impact Local programme was facilitated by Pyxera Global, one of 3M's pro bono implementation partners, which identified the host organisations and skill-matched them with the 3M employees.

      UK programme manager, Nataliya Boiarchuk, said: “It was an amazing experience collaborating with the 3M volunteers, who were taken out of their comfort zones, and connecting them to the non-profit organisations who identified some very worthwhile projects. We were truly impressed with the results.”

      Speaking about the programme, Human Resources leader for 3M in North Europe, Katherine Parks, comments: “We are delighted to have hosted a 3M Impact Local programme. Our volunteers contributed skills and expertise ranging from talent acquisition, digital operations and marketing intelligence, through to finance, product development, sales, procurement, engineering and supply chain management.

      “The programme provides a great opportunity for 3M employees to apply their skills, collaborate, explore creative thinking and make a contribution towards improving sustainability, while giving local community members in need better life chances.”