United Way

United Way Teaches Romanian Seniors to Skype

United Way Romania selects, assists, finances, and evaluates more than 35 social projects each year that help some 6,500 individuals. The organization accomplishes this with a staff of just seven people. The employees coordinate the work of 750 volunteers and raise funds from 3,000 individual donors and 55 companies.

Technology plays a vital role in enabling United Way Romania to accomplish so much with so little. Software donated via TechSoup Romania has made the organization's work easier and given the staff extra time for their social projects.

One of United Way's special projects was to invite a team of IT volunteers to visit a social center for the elderly. The volunteers taught eight grandmothers and grandfathers how to call their relatives via Skype. The organizers say it was an overwhelming experience. "The words 'mouse' and 'icon' have a total different meaning for them," said Georgiana Ilie, project coordinator with United Way. United Way offers social service organizations much more than time and money — it also provides these groups with management assistance.