September 24, 2022

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Unal Patel is a dedicated software engineer based in San Jose, California. Before going on board...

Unal Patel is a dedicated software engineer based in San Jose, California. Before going on board at Cisco, Unal worked with a few friends to launch, grow and sell a small startup that was focused on building apps for nonprofit organizations. This success is a great example of how to use your engineering skills to support non-profit organizations.

Charities rely heavily on cash donations and volunteers to support their mission. And Unal Patel has seen the benefits of a mobile app or online platform to make the giving of donations a fast and easy process. But that’s not all! A non-profit with a mobile app can share their organization’s mission and what populations they serve and even engage and educate potential donors about the need for help.

Translate your engineering skills to support non-profits

There is a wide range of engineering skills that can be applied to helping nonprofits. Many of these charities have a minimal administrative staff and an army of field volunteers. But, it is the problem-solving, investigative, teamwork, and communication skills of those who specialize in engineering that can often help move these organizations into the modern world of automation and technology.

Automation of routine office tasks

Unal Patel realizes that there is robotic process automation or RPA software for office management that will organize and automate the most common administrative tasks to create efficient and fast office workflows. Many of the top brands are very expensive and difficult to learn. The smaller, more affordable office automation solutions are a better choice, but you still need someone to install, roll out, and create workflows and templates like donation receipts, tax audit forms, etc.

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For a software developer, automating office tasks for a non-profit is a great way to use your engineering skills to support and grow the organization.

Upgrading computer hardware or software

If you work as an IT professional or are certainly handy and comfortable with managing office computers, then Unal Patel suggests you consider using your skills to keep the charity’s software up-to-date and fixing or replacing broken hardware components. Some of the biggest challenges faced by non-profits lie in their IT infrastructure.

Often, they are troubled about what is the best operating system or software platform to use. Then, there is the slew of new technologies that could make their jobs so much easier, like videoconferencing, creating and posting project videos, and maintaining a vibrant social media presence.

Creating a donor relationship database

Finally, Unal Patel believes that running a non-profit organization has many similarities to running a business. Customer Relationship Management software or CRM apps can improve and automate the organizations messaging, create trustworthy financial reports, and simplify team collaboration around the world.

Customer relationship databases are meant to improve relationships with potential and current donors by establishing and maintaining strong contact with them. This is what CRM can do for a non-profit and how an engineering tech can apply their skill to help.

Unal Patel believes that office automation, a robust IT infrastructure, and good communications with donors are key to increasing the non-profit’s engagement and ability to serve.