Whether you’re Amazon or the corner doughnut shop, it can be a long, lonely road without a website or up-to-date computer these days.
But for non-profits, finding the funds for these devices and tools can be tough. Thankfully, though, InterConnection has an answer.
The Seattle-born non-profit refurbishes monitors, laptops and desktop PCs, selling them to non-profits and low-income buyers at heavily-discounted rates. The company opened its new Fremont location in 2011, and announced a tech modernization of its own this month with an online storefront where global buyers can browse and buy refurbished goods on the Internet.
It’s a move they hope will kickstart their global non-profit reach, but the company has actually already seen a great deal of change in the last couple of years.
The company started 14 years ago as a web design service for non-profits. While doing volunteer work with for the Peace Corps, InterConnection Founder and President Charles Brennick saw a gap between global non-profits and their ability to reach a wider audience — without a working website, companies were having trouble getting the word out.
Brennick began building non-profit websites and uploading their content for free. And in 2003, he realized there was another tech gap — affordable computers.
The company then turned to tech refurbishments, gathering donated equipment from hubs like Microsoft, Expedia, CenturyLink and the UW’s Paccar Hall with a goal to provide affordable tech equipment to global non-profits and lower-income buyers.
After the donations are made, the devices are cleaned, refurbished, checked for quality and finally upgraded with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office Basics. By March, the company provided refurbished equipment to 140 non-profit organizations, growing from about five in 2011.
Marketing and Donations Manager Rasmus Mortensen said that the company is in “constant startup mode,” and it makes sense. With a team of 20 employees, the company stays busy hosting donation events around the Emerald City, collecting donated laptops via mail and arranging pick-up services to companies looking to get rid of old equipment.
Mortensen said the online storefront will help the company grow even more.
“The online storefront provides easy access for all non-profits nationwide, and it allows us to streamline the overall process,” he said. “The goal is to double our national impact.”
Previously on GeekWire: Rewind: How to recycle those old computers in your attic
Alisa Reznick is a University of Washington student working as an editorial intern at GeekWire this quarter. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AlisaReznick.