When you think about the roles that digitization and connectivity play in our everyday lives, as well as their impact on practically every industry’s day-to-day functions, it can be easy to take them for granted. We are connected by social media, we work in the cloud and we thrive on the instant gratification that fast internet access affords us today. Our youngest generations have never experienced a life that isn’t high-speed, all the time.
But the truth is, internet access — even in the modern world — is still a luxury for a large proportion of the population. In fact, 82 million Americans don’t have access at all. And when it comes to those who aren’t online, there’s a myriad of reasons that explain why.
In a World Filled With Digital Natives, Internet Access Remains a Luxury
With recent research finding that around 15% of rural Americans don’t have internet access, compared to just 9% of urbanites and 6% of suburban residents, location proves to be a strong deciding factor in who has access. It’s also not surprising that the correlation between household income and internet access is particularly strong, making it perhaps the biggest discriminatory component out there. In 2019, almost 18% of American households making less than $30,000 in total income reported not being online.
It’s a detrimental issue that goes beyond the obvious, and massively impacts things such as educational development, as well as overall access to the tools and services that families need, which in turn have a negative effect on local economic growth and overall quality of life.
In fact, when it comes to education, it’s estimated that there are about 3 million students across the country who struggle to keep up with their studies because they lack internet connectivity at home. So for many students who enjoy broadband access when they’re in school, once classes stop, so too does their internet access.
A Partnership to Bridge the Digital Divide
However, one partnership is on a mission to bridge that digital divide. Medallia Zingle is teaming up with non-profit organization, human-I-T, to streamline its mission. Human-I-T is changing the way households, businesses, and cities recycle and reuse technology, all while closing the gap between those who enjoy quick and easy access to the internet and those who do not.
What began in 2012 with human-I-T founders, James Jack and Gabe Middleton, refurbishing unwanted tech devices and giving them away for free, has steadily expanded into a movement. Today, the group’s efforts include low-cost internet programs and digital literacy training for individuals and households in a way that brings the mission full circle by creating a holistic and zero-waste process that establishes internet access and tackles the problem of eWaste.
To date, the group is responsible for 4.5 million pounds of e-waste diverted from landfills, 8,000 households connected to the internet, 3,600 technology donations received, 161,000 pieces of tech re-purposed and 62,000 pieces of tech redistributed.
Driving Progress One Conversation at a Time
With this unique partnership, human-I-T is utilizing Zingle for what it does best: turning conversations into powerful customer experiences. By leveraging Zingle’s intelligent messaging platform, the organization is able to transform inquiries and service needs that can require a 45-minute phone call into 2-minute text conversations. In turn, this allows human-I-T to process more applications for internet access, requests for computers and devices, and service more inquiries in a more streamlined way.
AJ Middleton, Senior Program Manager at human-I-T, describes the impact the partnership has had on the mission to bridge the digital divide. “Before Zingle, we were able to connect 700 households to low-cost internet,” he says. “After adopting Zingle, we increased the households connected to 1700 in 2018, and in 2019, that number reached 2700 households. We are excited to see how we can increase these numbers even more together.”
Serving more households also results in increased support by way of grants and tech donations. As human-I-T builds on their added success thanks to the Zingle partnership, powerful stories can be leveraged for grant-writing and donations as the organization looks to march this mission forward.
Zingle’s next phase of support for human-I-T will see the organization leveraging actionable insights from the conversations taking place on its platform, such as the number of messages sent and received, and more granular looks at trend data that surfaces common issues and needs. As nonprofits work tirelessly to serve their communities in the most effective ways possible, this type of data is vital in being able to determine organizational needs, as well as ensuring the experiences they offer those they serve are as remarkable as the mission itself.
Medallia.org is dedicated to making our best-in-class customer experience products accessible for nonprofits. We are proud to be part of ImpactCloud, a powerhouse coalition of leading cloud companies all committed to enabling nonprofit digital capacity at scale. Working together, ImpactCloud will make swift progress to equip the world’s greatest changemakers with the tools they need. To drive more impact and access nonprofit pricing, go to medallia.com/nonprofit.
Learn more about how to support the Human-I-T mission by visiting www.human-I-T.org.
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