Friday, April 15, 2011

Group Looks to 'Match' Tech Executives With Nonprofits

By Jennifer Valentino-DeVries

Could the Silicon Valley management style help charitable organizations?

An organization called Palindrome Advisors thinks so, and it launched a program Wednesday that aims to match executives in technology and other industries with nonprofits that need their help.
In technology terms, think of Palindrome as a “” for industry leaders and the boards of nonprofits,” the group’s founder, Zaw Thet.
Palindrome has 100 executives signed up already — including Twitter’s president of global revenue, Adam Bain; Apple’s director of iPhone apps, Dag Kittlaus; and Ellen Siminoff, a founding executive and former senior vice president at Yahoo. The list of advisers is mostly from the tech world, but there are some outliers, including those in government, the energy business and even nightclubs.

The idea of using business management techniques — particularly those in the technology industry — to make charities more efficient is nothing new. Its most famous incarnation is likely found in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which puts a priority on using science and technology to tackle the world’s problems. And other entrepreneurs have made a point of committing large sums of money to charity, most recently when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, AOL co-founder Steve Case and others signed a pledge to give away most of their fortune.

But Palindrome’s group isn’t for the billionaires of the world; it’s for people who have executive and start-up experience and want to give back by donating expertise.
There was no easy path for nonprofits to find experienced leaders to help them at a board management level,” Mr. Thet said in a statement.
He explained that nonprofits need help marketing, developing growth plans and managing customer relationships, among other things. “A board role is not just about fundraising.”

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