There's a lot of buzz around social impact in the tech industry right now. More than ever, employees expect their employers to be socially engaged and provide opportunities for giving back. But giving back doesn’t have to be a one-way street. When done right, social impact programs can add just as much value to a company as the nonprofits they support. This is particularly true when it comes to pro bono or skills-based volunteering, also known as ‘experteering.’ Experteering inherently strengthens an employee’s skills and confidence while boosting morale within the team and the company.

This week, Tableau announced a new pilot program called Tableau Service Corps Mission Projects that will deepen our investment in pro bono programming. Mission Projects will allow selected employees to travel onsite with some of our closest grant partners and work on challenging data projects full time for two to three weeks. The pilot will be limited in scale and invite-only for nonprofits, but we are hopeful that the pilot is just the start of a long term initiative to provide needed services to our grant partners.

Ever since Tableau Foundation launched our software donation program, Tableau For Nonprofits, we have made it a principal to incorporate experteering in all of our donation and grant-making programs. Too often, we see well-intentioned software donation programs fall flat because the recipient organizations do not have the expertise in-house to use the software.

To solve this challenge, we launched a skills-based volunteering program in 2015 called Tableau Service Corps in parallel with our software donation program. Tableau Service Corps is a volunteer network of Tableau experts who are eager to help nonprofits do more with their data using Tableau. The Service Corps site allows nonprofits to search for volunteers by categories like geography, skillset or language, and then select the volunteer who is right for them. Projects are limited in scope so that volunteers can complete them in a timely way while balancing their normal workloads. We’ve had great success with the program, completing nearly 500 projects to date.

While Tableau Service Corps is great for troubleshooting and getting started with Tableau, some of our closest grant partners are tackling immense data challenges that require immersive, hands-on support, which is why we created Tableau Service Corps Mission Projects. To bring the Mission Projects vision to life, Tableau Foundation has partnered with MovingWorlds, a leader in international skills-based volunteering, to co-design and co-manage the pilot.

The primary goal of the program is to empower nonprofits with data analytics skills, but Mission Projects is more than just a “doing good” program. These projects are also opportunities for Tableau volunteers to gain valuable experience and grow as innovative and collaborative leaders. Research from MovingWorlds shows “stretch” assignments, as experienced in Mission Projects, serve as great people development tools. They allow us to invest in our people while also investing in nonprofits working to solve important world problems. It’s truly a win-win situation.

Our first Mission Project will be based in New Delhi with Operation ASHA and will focus on using data analysis to improve and scale tuberculosis detection. We’re excited about the potential for this project to be transformative for both Operation ASHA, and for the volunteers who will be immersed in the work.

Find out more about Tableau Foundation and our programs at tableaufoundation.org.

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