Giving back as a WLAN Professional

Giving back to the Community

We all live busy lives, so where do we find the time to give back to our communities? Between working our full time jobs, our side gigs, spending time with family and friends, and attending events many of us might find ourselves a bit time-constrained.

Wi-Fi and the Non-Profit Community by Glenn Cate, provides a few strategies that can help other Wireless LAN professionals find projects and become involved within their communities.

How to find projects that you can start giving back to your community?

Glen highlighted that a good place to start would be with the community centre within your community, it might also be the place of worship where you and your family attended, it might the high school you attended or a local clinic. Once you have identified the location(s) that you would want to be contribute, you need to find a contact within the organization that you can speak with. Once you have found that contact, Glen recommends you ask this question: “How is your Wi-Fi functioning?”. If they are not having any problems, move along however if it is not working properly, you might have found yourself a project.

3 simple criteria to help you make a quick decision as to whether you have located a project or not:

1. Located within your community

2. Established Personal Contact

3. Poor Wi-Fi Performance.

Once all these conditions have been met, you have found a project. Since you have now found the project, outlined are a few steps to help you plan and execute on your community project.

Glen shared the system he used in the presentation and we do believe this can be applied to your project as well.

  1. Meet with the board of directors or the committee – Taking on a community project, requires the same level of professionalism as for your other paid projects. It is important that you organize a meeting with the board of directors or committee and ensure that you ask the right questions to help with the planning and execution phase of the project. You can refer to the CWDP study guide for a list of questions to help you.
  2. Find a technical source that you will do a knowledge transfer to. – This is important to the success of the project.
  3. Tour the facilities and take pictures. Ensure you take a proper scan of the organization to ensure you understand the scope of the project.
  4. Document your proposal for the Board of Directors –  Prepare a professional documentation for the proposal and should provide the depth needed for involved parties to understand the flow, time frame and cost of the project. Ensure that you include the Bill of Materials (BOM), and all other cost involved.
  5. Ensure you let them know that you will be doing this in your spare time.

4 tips on how you can think creatively in order to acquire the resources need to complete the project

  1. Organization Budget : The organization might have made provision for improvements within the financial projections for the year.
  2. Free Vendor equipment. Look for opportunities where vendors will give away equipment. This might be a good way for you to gain some of the resources needed for your project.
  3. Foundations and Philanthropic organization. These organization can be a source for funding that can help in acquiring the resources. The non-for-profit organization that you are trying to assist might be refer you to a few of their partners that can provide you with networking opportunities.
  4. Personal and family members. You might also reach out to a few family members and friends who might also want to get involved in the project you are looking to undertake.

As with all your other projects, ensure that you complete the project and provide the same level of expertise and professionalism. Never leave a project unfinished.

Peter Loftin – “I like being successful. Giving back is just a part of that.”