Monday, January 27, 2014

Meet IllumaNation

I recently had coffee [or in my case, orange juice] with Susan and Bill. Susan is the founder and CEO of a small information technology training firm located here in Howard County called /training/etc [yes they use the slashes]. They've been in business for over 20 years and if you are in technology around here, you have probably heard of them. They have recently stepped up energy and attention on a nonprofit arm of the business that they are calling IllumaNation and it's a great case study on a-for-profit business giving exposure to a nonprofit segment. I love what they are doing as well as how they are doing it.

I learned a ton of things from our short conversation, including:
+ /training/etc has a number of staff volunteer days - days where the whole staff goes and serves somewhere with a community service partner. Yes, the whole staff. They open up these days where others can come and serve as well and they utilize their staff to be 'guides' for the day.
+ They highlight a community impact partner once a month - students that come to their classes get a 5 minute overview and there is a display area with more info. Students can come serve and get a tuition credit.
+ Part of the picture is giving information and exposure to students that take training classes from them about possibilities to be involved in their community, both locally and globally. There is a niche demographic they are trying to engage - the technology professional who might not otherwise be exposed to these ideas and opportunities.
+ Some of their partners have included Academy of Hope [GED and basic computer skills], The Samaritan Women [they have plans to help network their campus], and World Computer Exchange [teaching people how to refurbish computers].

IllumaNation is one to watch. They are doing a great job executing along the spectrum of self -> serve -> systems.

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