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The Inspiration Lies in Giving Back

By Barb Smeltzer September 9, 2014

Pro Bono VolunteersPro bono volunteering comes in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes it even comes with an island. That was the setting for a two day digital makeover, focused on technology for social change hosted by Timeraiser+ and CanadaHelps in partnership with the Breuninger Foundation and the BMW Foundation during their Impact Summer program. The picturesque Wasan Island, on Lake Rosseau in Ontario cottage country, acted as the project backdrop which included 23 volunteers from the above mentioned partners, and other technology focused companies. Connected in Motion was the grateful nonprofit on the receiving end of the project.

Wasan Island plays host to numerous global groups during the warmest months in Canada, bringing together social change makers, innovators and leaders in a natural setting for strategic initiatives and planning. Past guests have included the World Health Organization and Earth Security Initiative; now and can add themselves to the list of Wasan Island change innovators.

A team of six employees from various roles in the Toronto office and one visiting employee from Portland, contributed 24 hours of pro bono service. The volunteers worked to transform and customize Connected in Motion’s platform to increase efficiency in reporting, donor, grant, volunteer and event management. “The end result of this two day digital makeover was something we wanted to achieve for the last six years, but didn’t have the bandwidth,” says Executive Director, Jen Hanson. Connected in Motion focuses on “fostering a community of people living with Type 1 Diabetes so that they may inspire one another to live life without limits.”

Connected In Motion volunteersSimilar to other types of volunteering, pro bono work is about doing social good, but in a very strategic way. It enables volunteers to apply their everyday training and knowledge in ways that have great impact and sustainability to the organizations that are benefiting. Many nonprofits do not have the resources to grow their technological capabilities, even though doing so can increase their impact. By engaging professionals through pro bono service, it becomes a win-win.

Alex Krugylak, a Lead Sales Engineer with found great value in his experience. “Being able to apply my technology skills for a good cause is very rewarding. Designing and implementing a solution in just two days was a truly satisfying experience.” Visiting Portland employee, Technical Support Analyst, Derek Bache, echoed Alex’s sentiment, “Simply put, I love giving back. My talents and experience can serve as the catalyst to get immediate access to a personalized organization that will empower Connected in Motion for years to come, without the months that it can take newcomers to customize and learn the rather expansive platform.”

Not all volunteer opportunities are created equally or come with an island experience, but the value is still felt across the board no matter how big or small. Trisha Bergsma, a Business Development Representative for said it best when asked what the best part of her pro bono experience was, “It’s an opportunity for nonprofits to come together for one goal, that is where the inspiration lies, in giving back.”

Interested in pro bono opportunities or looking for pro bono support? Learn more about’s pro bono services.

Wasan Island pro bono volunteers