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Celebration of Service

Instrumented, interconnected, intelligent nonprofits and small businesses

Building a social network for Brazilian nonprofit organizations and small and medium businesses

Not-for-profit organizations and small and medium businesses in Latin America face many challenges to their survival – and research has demonstrated that lack of technology is one of the main reasons they fail.

Telecentre Information and Business Association (ATN) is a Brazil-based not-for-profit dedicated to providing information technology (IT) training and support to other nonprofits and small to medium enterprises. Its vision is to manage more than 1,250 telecenters in nonprofit and government centers in Brazil, educating and training people to become IT technicians, operators and trainers, so they can then educate other people about technology.

In June 2011, ATN set up and ran an online Jam for leaders from the not-for-profit and small business sectors in Latin America, to discuss how to better instrument organizations, improve methodologies, influence public policies and enable economic development. The goal of the Jam was to develop a technology toolkit for members of nonprofit organizations and small and medium enterprises, as well as a permanent social network to encourage discussion and idea sharing. More than 50 volunteer consultants from IBM, a partner in setting up the Jam, participated in the sessions and lent their expertise.

Developing ‘social businesses’

IBM awarded ATN a Centennial Grant to fund the development of the social network to interconnect Brazil’s not-for-profits and small enterprises. The social network will be built using IBM Connections software and hardware, both donated by IBM as part of the Centennial Grant.

“This is a project that will transform this nonprofit ecosystem into what we describe as a social business, one that leverages these networks of connected people, from multiple organizations, to allow them to be more agile in an interconnected and transparent way.” says Sergio Loza, IBM Social Business and Collaboration Software Sales Executive,
who applied for the Centennial Grant for ATN. “With this project, the network of nonprofits that ATN supports will become more capable of representing society’s goals and aspirations.”

The social network has the potential to be built out into a global social network for nonprofits and small businesses worldwide, and impact society beyond Brazil.

The grant will also provide funding for ATN to produce a post-Jam report titled “Technology Toolkit Guide for Nonprofit Organizations and Small and Medium Enterprises and Orientations for Public Policies in Science and Technology,” emphasizing technology and its impact on improving the economy, to be distributed to Jam participants, and to Brazilian congress members who serve on science and technology committees.

IBM is marking its centennial year with a worldwide celebration of volunteer service. Throughout 2011, IBM invites everyone to join our global community of employees, retirees, families and friends as we support the communities where we work, live and learn together.