For this weeks Charitable Choices we spoke with Natasha Walji. She explains to us more about how Google is giving back through their non-profit program G4NP.
Describe your role as Google’s Executive Sponsor for volunteering projects.
I’m really fortunate to work for a company that values and empowers its employees to explore projects outside of our day-to-day role or specific function — this is the famous “20-percent time” concept of our company’s innovation culture. For me, I’ve been leveraging part of this time as an Executive Sponsor for a number of volunteering projects. Over the past year, this has been focused on helping to mobilize a large group of Googlers to volunteer to give back to the community through our Google for Nonprofits program. This is especially important now given the pandemic and the impact on the community and nonprofits that serve them. Serving the community has been a big part of my life for the past 20 years and so I’m incredibly grateful that Google not only encourages this, but helps to foster this mindset across the organization.
What problem do you aim to solve?
We look for opportunities for Googlers to get involved in the community and give back — over the past year we really leaned on our Google for Nonprofits (G4NP) program to help the organizations that focus on helping our communities. Google for Nonprofits provides access to Google products at no charge including Google Workspace, Google Ad Grants and more. Our volunteers were deployed to help onboard Nonprofits to our G4NP program and to provide hands on Ad Grant audits & training for a subset of non profits focused on COVID-19 related causes e.g. homelessness, food insecurity, domestic violence, mental health, public health, unemployment, racial justice, etc.
What recent initiatives have you and the team taken on?
One of the things I love about Googlers is that they’re helpful, willing to give back, and are always ready to raise their hands to get involved. And this was the case with one of our most recent projects. COVID-19 has been really difficult for so many in different ways and we saw a need for us to serve our community so we created an infrastructure to more systematically onboard & support nonprofits during the COVID-19 pandemic through the Google for Nonprofits program.
What inspired this initiative?
Last March when COVID-19 hit, a small group of Googlers including myself started thinking about how to help nonprofits that help Canada’s most vulnerable people. We knew that the need would be greater than ever, and so we knew this was an area we could help serve. Many Canadian nonprofits were unaware of the free resources, tools and Google Ad grants that are available through the Google for Nonprofits program, so we wanted to focus on getting them set up to take advantage of these offerings.
How did this initiative get started?
It really started with a group of Googlers that were passionate about serving our communities and as we started to see the pandemic unfold, we knew the need was greater than we had imagined. From there we enlisted the help of over 120 Googler volunteers across our Canadian offices. With the help of employees from a wide range of professional backgrounds, we set up an infrastructure meant to guide nonprofit organizers through the tools available on Google for Nonprofits.In addition to the Google for Nonprofit program, we are also able to share our latest programs around applied digital skills training with these organizations.
What change(s) have you seen as the result of the team’s ongoing efforts?
It’s been really meaningful to see the impact this program has had — nonprofits across the country really appreciate the resources we prepared for them, and the program has made a big impact for these organizations. To date, we have helped over 1,500 Canadian nonprofits onboard to our G4NP program which is a testament to the eagerness of Googlers to lend a helping hand.
What more needs to be done?
We’re extremely proud that we have been able to reach so many Canadian nonprofits, but we know there is more work to be done and other nonprofits that could benefit from the program. Our team is passionate and eager to continue these efforts and so we hope more organizations across the country will explore how Google for Nonprofits can help them reach their goals, whether that’s helping them to adapt to a virtual world with Workspace or benefitting from the Ad Grants program.
How can our readers and other non-profits learn more?
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
United Way of Greater Toronto