One of the things I love about working at Articulate is our sense of shared purpose. Underlying our day-to-day work is an inspiring mission of training and education; of helping people become better students, professionals, and humans. It’s one of the primary reasons I came to Articulate and it’s one of the key reasons many of us are here.
In the middle of 2015, members of Articulate’s leadership got together and discussed whether there was an opportunity to offer our products to nonprofits. Organizations doing great things ask us frequently for discounted or free software. And while this is something we believe in and want to do, we needed a process (and budget) to vet the organizations and make informed giving decisions. That’s how we decided to launch Articulate for Good, our new grant-making program.
I’d like to share a little bit about how we developed the Articulate for Good program so that you can learn about our values and priorities.
A few intrepid Articulaters with nonprofit experience developed a project brief, evaluation matrix, and budget. We wanted to make sure organizations could be wildly successful in taking on e-learning, so we decided that we wanted to go beyond just offering free licenses and also provide a cash grant and access to training. That’s where our partners at Yukon Learning came in. They were happy to provide free training through their amazing in-person and online courses.
We love our metrics at Articulate, so no project gets launched without a success goal. We aimed to attract 20 applications in our first round of grants. And we hope to reach at least 1,000 learners through these grants.
With much anticipation we announced the program, not knowing what the results would be. Would people hear about the grant process? Would they care? More importantly, would many take the time to go through the application process?
We worked to promote the program through our E-Learning Heroes community members and their networks. And we weren’t disappointed. By the due date, we were thrilled to have 30 applications! We were floored by quality of the organizations and the care with which they put together their applications.
We heard from organizations who were just getting started with online learning and others that were expert in using e-learning to achieve their mission. Both were exciting to us, since we’re interested in partnering with organizations at every stage of their e-learning process.
To make sure our giving programs had the highest-possible impact, we decided on these evaluation criteria:
- The quality of the application – Did the applicant organization present a clear picture of how the project would work?
- The impact of the grant and time to impact – Would this project serve a large number of people?
- The likelihood of success – Did we think the project seemed feasible given the organization’s resources and track record?
- Diversity – Does this program or organization target a diverse or underserved audience?
- Innovation – Did this project offer new ideas or strategies that other organizations could learn from?
We invited volunteers from across the company to participate in rating each application based on these criteria. Then we met to talk about the highest-rated applicants and settle on our finalists. We were proud to make this process collaborative so that a cross-section of our team could be part of the decision-making.
Our First Grantees
Given the quality of the applications, the decision process was quite difficult. After much discussion, we zeroed in on the following organizations’ proposals:
|Global Lives Project||The Global Lives Project uses Articulate software to train teachers and employees in diversity and empathy to bridge cultural gaps.|
|BUILD||BUILD helps prepare young people from under-resourced communities for high school, college, and career success. It uses Articulate software to enhance training programs for BUILD classroom teachers.|
|OneSky||OneSky operates training programs in China to help caregivers and orphanage administrators care for young children. The organization uses online training to help boost these caregivers’ skills.|
|Project WET Foundation||Project WET Foundation creates and delivers water education programming all over the world to help communities boost their health, conserve water, and protect their local environments. The foundation is using Articulate software to create new online training targeted to teachers in Sri Lankan and Haitian schools.|
|Corporate America Supports You (CASY)||Corporate America Supports You (CASY) helps connect National Guard, reserve, transitioning military members, and veterans with job skills training, which it will now offer online.|
|Upwardly Global||Upwardly Global offers job training and services for skilled immigrants and refugees, helping integrate these folks into the U.S. workforce. They’re working on a new, online employment readiness and job search curriculum.|
|YearUp||YearUp helps urban young adults gain job skills and experience. Using Articulate software, YearUp will train staff on how to more effectively help young people prepare for and find meaningful employment.|
We made our announcement and quickly set about distributing software and cash, setting up training, and finalizing grant agreements.
We’re into our first quarter of the Articulate for Good program, and we’re already seeing exciting results from our applicants. They’re deep in their Getting Started training and they’re experimenting with their new software.
We’re thrilled to play a part in making these organizations more successful, and, again, I’d like to congratulate all of the applicants. We will be keeping in touch with the winning projects over the course of the year with regular updates each quarter, and we’ll be reporting back on their success right here. Stay tuned.
And we know what you’re probably thinking: So are you going to do this again? The short answer is yes. We’re learning as we go, and we plan to make the Articulate for Good program a regular offering. Just sign up here to get on the list for Articulate for Good updates.