48in48 Volunteer Spotlight: Tejas Jani

Who is Tejas?

Tejas Jani is a 16-year employee of State Farm in Bloomington, Illinois. He’s had many roles at State Farm over the years, leading to his current position as a Software Developer for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

What makes Tejas unique as a 48in48 volunteer?

Volunteer Tejas JaniThough we’re a diverse organization with all kinds of volunteers getting on board in various ways, we’ve never before had a volunteer whose first 48in48 experience was from the Nonprofit side! Tejas has a giving back mentality, and he’s worked with various Nonprofits for years, serving on boards and offering business acumen. A couple of years ago, 48in48 held a weekend event in the Bloomington-Normal, Illinois area, and two of the Nonprofits he worked with had their websites redesigned and rebuilt by 48in48 volunteers.

Check out the Community Health Care Clinic and For a Better Tomorrow Nonprofits Tejas works with.

Tejas provided business requirements for the 48in48 volunteers about those two Nonprofits, and got to see in action how amazing the volunteers were to produce functional, effective, good-looking websites for organizations who really needed that boost. He’s previously worked with actual vendors creating new websites for Nonprofits, and the sites 48in48 produced in 48 hours were better designed, more functional and of course cheaper (free!) than any other Nonprofit website redesign experience he’s ever seen. He knew there was something really special about 48in48, and how they can make such a huge impact for Nonprofits. So, when his State Farm colleague and friend Emily Schneider asked if Tejas would want to volunteer at the recent 48in48 Virtual Pilot weekend event, and he of course said yes. Tejas loves to give back, and he knew his own personal skills could contribute to the website effort.

What worked well about volunteering virtually?

Tejas is a full-time dad and has all the usual responsibilities that everyone has while juggling family, work and other commitments. With a virtual format, he felt like he could still be there for his son and take care of his personal responsibilities over the weekend, while working on the Nonprofit website in the evening/overnight to get the work done. In other words, it was less time-boxed than a live event, so he was able to juggle personal and volunteer commitments. It is a new normal with virtual events and offerings, and Tejas is making it work for himself and his family!

Tell us about working with the Inspire Me Foundation Nonprofit.

Inspire Me Foundation promotes economic empowerment for formerly incarcerated people by providing transitional housing and social services for those at risk of homelessness. The volunteer team realized that their chosen Nonprofit was a young organization, and that meant they were looking for ideas and input from the volunteers. They didn’t have a lot of content to start with, and they appreciated the discussions with the 48in48 volunteers to help clarify their messaging. Tejas and team were thrilled they could help most by:

1 – Reworking the vocabulary and copy to simplify the Nonprofit message and build up their storytelling

2 – Making it easy for people to donate by connecting PayPal with the new website and wiring it up on the backend for easy administration and receipt of funds

3 – Using imagery throughout the website to convey clear ideas, helping the Nonprofit to see the impact of visuals and build upon that approach going forward.

When they showed the Nonprofit members the website at the end of the weekend, Tejas loved seeing their smiles beaming across his computer monitor. He felt his team had truly helped set this Nonprofit up for success – a really rewarding experience.

Tejas’ message to future 48in48 volunteers:

“If you are a tech person or in the technology field and/or the marketing/digital space and you have the heart to help Nonprofits, it’s a no brainer that you should volunteer for 48in48. You have the skills, and your skills are needed. As volunteers working with one Nonprofit, we’re doing work at a small scale, but every effort counts.”

Sign up to volunteer at a future 48in48 [virtual] event!