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  • Date: December 10, 2020
  • Category: give IT

Give IT | Reconnecting with MEMIC to promote digital inclusion

Thanks to a recent experience with our friends at MEMIC, we’ve learned that maintaining good business relationships is a lot like waiting tables in a restaurant. Most of the time, it’s great to simply bring your customers what they ask for without being noticed so they can enjoy their meal. Still, no matter how happy your customers seem to be, you always have to “check in” to make sure they have everything they need and know what your specials are.

Since 2016, the IT Department at MEMIC have been “regulars” at our e-waste recycling “restaurant”. When they first started “dining” with us, the truckloads of retired tech we picked up at their offices in Portland included printers, monitors and TVs. Most important, MEMIC’s IT pick-ups included desktop PCs and laptop computers. After we securely destroyed the hard drives, the vast majority of these computers were ready for our refurbishing team to reuse. Machines in this condition are a huge win for give IT. get IT. The less time we have to spend reconditioning individual computers, the more computers we can process each day and put into the hands of people who need them.

Recently, we’ve been picking up printers, monitors, TVs and desktop computers at MEMIC but none of the laptop computers we so desperately need for our digital inclusion programs. As a nonprofit organization, we’re grateful for all of the items each one of our clients hires us to securely and sustainably recycle. The last thing we ever want to do is come across like a pushy waiter demanding to know how many appetizers he can bring for the table, but we also had to be sure our friends at MEMIC knew what our “specials” were so we decided to “check in”.

It turns out, there was a very good reason for the sudden decline in laptops that we received from MEMIC. Instead of setting these perfectly good laptops aside for us to pick up, they held an annual “Laptop Lottery” and gave them away to their employees as a perk.

We can’t fault MEMIC for wanting to do right by their employees. It’s one of the many things they do that makes them such a great organization. Nevertheless, like a waitperson making sure you know what’s on the dessert menu, we took the opportunity to remind MEMIC that give IT. get IT. is much more than an e-waste recycling provider.

When businesses like MEMIC send us their retired laptops and desktop PCs, they literally put those machines in the homes of people who are struggling to get ahead. Using us to recycle big items like retired servers and outdated televisions is great, but not sending us PCs or laptops is like going to a Holy Donut and just having a cup of coffee. Yes, you’re getting what you need, but you’re also missing out on the best things they have to offer (if you haven’t had a Holy Donut, you’re going to want to do something about that).

Some of the 55 laptops we received from MEMIC
Just a few of the 55 laptops we received from MEMIC that we will be converting into powerful tools for people in need.

After our conversation with our friends at MEMIC, we were thrilled to discover fifty-five laptops in addition to thousands of pounds of other reusable or salvageable tech in their last pick-up. As much as MEMIC’s employees look forward to the Laptop Lottery each year, the HR and IT teams agreed that their retired technology could have an immediate impact for people in need.   “One of our core values at MEMIC is to be conscientious. We considered that some of our own employees would benefit from having an extra laptop at home, but we had the resources to immediately help those with a greater need. It was the right thing to do. And we’ll always have retired laptops in the future to pass on to our employees and others, if needed.” Jack Yao, MEMIC Chief Information Officer. For now, our research tells us that each computer we distribute benefits 2.8 people per household. We’re still processing MEMIC’s machines but if all 55 laptops are as resuable as we think they are, that’s nearly 150 at-risk people who will be positively impacted by their decision to allocate these devices toward community benefit. This is especially important today to do so many schools turning to remote learning and businesses needing people who can work from home.

What did we learn from this experience? That like ANY relationship, no matter how long you’ve known someone, it’s always good to “check in”. Ask a few questions, see how they’re doing. Most important, make sure you know everything about them and they know everything about you. Not so you can get something you want, but so you both learn what’s important to the other person and you can be better partners.

If you’d like to learn more about our certified e-waste recycling services and how we convert retired corporate tech into tools and opportunities for people in need, please call Chris Martin at 207-322-6257 or email him at cmartin@itec3.org.

If your businesses could use an updated workers’ compensation insurance quote, please call our friends at MEMIC at their office nearest you.

If your business needs a little something to perk up a socially distant meeting or you want to say thank you to a client, pick up some tasty treats from the Holy Donut. They have shops in Portland and Scarborough with a third location opening soon in Auburn!