Earlier this month, I got word that a local company I hadn’t heard of was doing an electronics recycling day. It’s the type of thing where you bring in your old computers, external hard drives, and other things like that, and they recycle them for you. I have a fair bit of that kind of electronic junk in my life, so I stopped by the company’s offices to ask if there were limits on the number devices I could bring to the event.

When I walked in the door I saw the company offered IT services and I inquired what they do. “Oh, you’re an MSP,” I said as the receptionist explained. She smiled and said, indeed they were. I’m guessing not many community members that came in for the event knew that acronym, but I did.

She went on to indicate that they were charging $5 per device, which seemed to defeat the purpose of recycling to me until she explained further. They were taking a modest fee because they would wipe the drives and recycle every device properly.

This got me thinking that MSPs can do more in the community, other than their normal slate of client services, to make computing safer. They can educate and be good citizens in their communities too — to practice what I call responsible capitalism.

The Salesforce Model

If you want want an example of a company which has refined the idea of giving back to local communities, look at Salesforce. While it’s not an MSP, it is a good example of how to frame such an approach. Salesforce uses something called the 1-1-1 model, and they’ve even packaged it in such a way that other companies can easily adopt it.

It involves giving one percent of profits, time, and resources to the community. That could include donating product or services, or selling them at a discount; running community events like my local MSP’s electronics recycling day, volunteering in local schools, or simply giving charitable donations.

MSPs can use this model to give back in their own way. My earlier example is just one way, but you have skills that could be useful to a number of organizations. Most MSPs are SMBs themselves, so chances are you aren’t doing large-scale philanthropy, and that’s OK. You can give back in whatever way makes sense to you.

Helping people dispose of old computers in a safe way where no data gets left behind is a great place to start thinking about this. However you decide to give back, it’s  it’s a great way to promote your business as an active and engaged member of the communities in which you operate — and that’s all positive.

TruMethods MSP Improvement Plan

Photo: ESB Professional / Shutterstock

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Posted by Ron Miller

Ron Miller is a freelance technology reporter and blogger. He is contributing editor at EContent Magazine and enterprise reporter at TechCrunch.

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