This is the first edition of Admin Within’s quarterly Pro-Bono Summary. With the permission of our clients, we will publish a similar report each quarter, so that our network can hold us accountable to our pledge.
Active pro-bono accounts: 2
Q3 pro-bono support total: 34 hours
This quarter was a challenging one for the entire world. In America, the personal and economic pains of COVID-19 combined with heated public discourse over the unjust deaths of several Black and Brown people. Many companies made pledges to do their part to combat racism everywhere, especially within their respective industries. Admin Within made a pledge of its own, and this series will allow our network to keep track of how true we remain to our word.
In Q3 of 2020, Admin Within registered 34 hours of volunteer work between two pro-bono clients: Teens of Color Abroad, with whom we had an existing relationship, as well as new client Hello Tractor.
Teens of Color Abroad (TOCA)
Teens of Color Abroad is a nonprofit organization that provides high school students of color with in-person and virtual global language learning opportunities. Its founder, Lamar Shambley, identified that there is a large racial disparity in which college students study abroad, despite compelling evidence correlating studying abroad with increased college completion rates for students of color. Not only that, but there was a severe lack of mentorship which encouraged students of color to study abroad. As a former middle-school Math instructor and current high school Spanish teacher from Brooklyn , Lamar was perfectly situated to work within this niche. He launched TOCA in November 2018 and has already scaled the program to impressive heights. You can learn more about the organization on their website.
Lamar is one of my best friends, as well as my Alpha Phi Alpha line brother. I knew that he would make TOCA excel in the same way his students always had. As someone who had the privilege of spending two summers abroad in Sicily and Australia, two of the best and most enriching summers of my life, I knew that I wanted to be a part of his movement. After discussing TOCA in a planning meeting, Chris and I decided that we would both like to officially support TOCA via a pro-bono partnership with Admin Within. Specifically, we would assist TOCA with the implementation and maintenance of Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), attend advisory board meetings, and apply our Sales Operations expertise to TOCA’s fundraising outreach to help the company tackle its fundraising in a systematic, trackable way. In Q3, Admin Within supported TOCA with 20 hours of pro-bono support. In Q4, we plan to work with Lamar to establish a fundraising plan for 2021 so that he can utilize Salesforce to keep track of his team’s efforts.
Hello Tractor is a Kenya- and- Nigeria-based startup striving to stabilize Africa’s food supply chain by connecting local “smallholders” with tractor owners, giving hundreds of millions of farmers on-demand access to tractors via their leasing and tracking technology. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of farms are still tilled by humans using hand tools. Work that could be completed in mere hours with access to a tractor can take weeks by hand. But hiring the necessary labor to work more efficiently can be prohibitively expensive. So without technology there is simply less food being produced. This is a problem with significant economic and social impact, but it is a problem that can be tackled using technology. You can learn more about the company on their website.
Jehiel Oliver, Hello Tractor’s Founder and CEO, had originally reached out to us in 2017, just as we had founded Admin Within, to inquire about Sales Operations support. In total bootstrap mode at the time and operating within the US economy, our services were simply not affordable for Hello Tractor. However, the interaction left a lasting impression on me. The tech landscape is so drastically tilted in favor of extremely wealthy countries, while developing economies attempt to scale up with neither the technical infrastructure nor level of skilled labor to compete with companies based in America and Europe. In many countries, great and sustainable ideas capable of improving the lives of entire populations are held back by a lack of technical resources. This includes access to experienced Sales Operations support.
After making our pledge, Chris and I questioned whether we should only offer pro-bono support to nonprofit organizations, or if we should expand our client pool to companies like Hello Tractor. We both felt that the issues of economic inequality and a lack of diversity in the upper echelon of the tech industry would not be solved by only supporting NGOs. We needed to enable for-profit companies in developing economies to achieve the growth they deserve. Thus, we reconnected with Jehiel and established a support agreement with Hello Tractor in June.
We were disheartened to hear that we had just missed an opportunity to support Hello Tractor’s Salesforce ecosystem. Just a few weeks prior, they had migrated to Hubspot CRM/Hubspot Sales. Despite being able to afford Salesforce licenses, they had neither the time nor the expertise to harness Salesforce’s power. Without an Admin, Salesforce was too complicated to customize and maintain. And without a Sales Operations professional, the Hello Tractor team wouldn’t have utilized the sales automation features which make Salesforce worth the sticker price. If we had reached out earlier, we could have helped Salesforce retain a promising customer and enabled a Startup to operate at full-steam, but the window had unfortunately closed. So, despite our general focus on Salesforce tech stacks, we will support Hello Tractor within Hubspot (and I must admit, I've been impressed with Hubspot’s feature enhancements!).
In Q3 we supported Hello Tractor with 14 hours of pro-bono support. We focused on onboarding, doing a deep-dive into the company’s systems and processes. We’ll begin Q4 focused on optimizing sales processes and sales reporting, planning for growth within the sales organization in 2021, and making the necessary enhancements within Hubspot.
In line with our pledge, we’re looking forward to the challenge of continually increasing our service output and supporting causes which we feel will make both the tech industry and the world at large more equitable places. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any inquiries, feedback, or questions, and look out for our Q4 update in January.