Benetech’s “Social Enterprise Supply Chain” Benefitting People with AutismBy Benetech, posted on July 30, 2013
Have you ever heard of the term Impact Sourcing? Basically, it’s when a company will outsource certain jobs or tasks in a way that makes a positive impact on society. Impact Sourcing especially benefits people who are disadvantaged, like those who live in an area with severely low employment or people with disabilities.
At Benetech, we have our own version of Impact Sourcing we call our “Social Enterprise Supply Chain.” It’s the same concept—outsourcing that provides a benefit to people who are disadvantaged—except that because we’re a nonprofit, the donations and other support we receive can have a double (or greater) impact on society. We highlight one example of our model and its worldwide impact in this Global Literacy Program case study. Today, I’m excited to share another example from here in the U.S.
Recently, our Engineering Team worked on a major set of enhancements to Route 66 Literacy, an initiative of our Global Literacy Program. These enhancements included significant systems infrastructure work, improved workflows and new content. Because this software development cycle involved a significant volume of quality assurance and testing work that exceeded our in-house capacity, we needed to look outside of Benetech for help. It provided another great opportunity to exercise our Social Enterprise Supply Chain and engage in a partnership that could maximize social benefit.
That’s how we found and partnered with The Specialists Guild (TSG), a San Francisco-based nonprofit that provides training and employment opportunities for people on the Autism spectrum. TSG’s services are focused on software and product testing, data entry and graphic design—helping tech companies build better products while providing meaningful work opportunities for people with Autism.
As a Senior Engineer at Benetech, I was able to work closely with QA team members from TSG. I can say, first-hand, that they did an excellent job verifying Route 66’s new development, reporting bugs, reworking the existing software test plan and updating it to match new functionality. Not only did their QA team exhibit strong technical skills, they were dedicated, reliable and detail oriented. You can’t ask for more!
We’re proud to have doubled our social impact by partnering with TSG and look forward to collaborating with them and other social enterprises on future software development cycles. If you know of other good social enterprise partners, make sure to contact us with their details.