This story was submitted as part of the #Pledge1Gives GivingTuesday campaign, which celebrates the many ways our member companies are having an impact around the world.

Empower your employees to give back at the individual level by downloading our new Virtual Volunteering Playbook, which includes ideas and best practices on how to excite and inspire individual giving. 

by Bret Peters

The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives in many ways, including our ability to give back. In the midst of the holiday season, this is a time where people often reflect on the year and contemplate giving. So often, many of us volunteer at food pantries, organize toy drives, participate in charity fun runs, or find ways to participate in community service with others.

Today, on Giving Tuesday, we here at ADF are reflecting on the state of the world and how we are making a difference in the lives of the people we serve. We are a technology company with 15 years of experience building digital investigation software that helps stop crimes against children. We employ former law enforcement and digital forensics experts and our team members are passionate about helping stop child exploitation, human trafficking and
cybercrime — so in addition creating tools that help quickly identify victims as well as suspects, we work to find ways to spend our profits with like minded nonprofit organizations tightly aligned with our mission.

How to Give Virtually

Our entire company is now remote and with the decrease in business travel and the move from industry events to online formats, we actually saw some savings, primarily in marketing spend. This allowed us to expand the number of justice minded nonprofits that we were able to support and it opened up opportunities for us to spend more time connecting virtually with our international partners that are often helping fight human trafficking and child exploitation, such as the Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative (ATII), Project VIC and International Justice

In addition to financial support, we were also able to offer our nonprofit partners seats in our new online self-paced ADF Certified User Training which has the dual benefit of raising individual skills, and helping learners understand investigation best practices. This was particularly beneficial for ATII which had more than a dozen college interns learn mobile forensic triage.

Giving Time

Last year, we launched the ability to have each team member give back one percent of their time – about 20 hours per year. It’s a lot harder for individuals to do this when working remotely so we encouraged everyone to think about their unique skill sets and the organizations that might need their time remotely. Rich Frawley, our Director of Training was able to leverage his mobile and computer forensic skills to create a video to teach high school
seniors about digital safety. As the CEO, I had to consider my unique skills, which led me to donate my time to teach sales and marketing skills for a virtual world to United Way Worldwide leadership executives via Zoom.

Giving Back & Team Building

Like teams everywhere we love being together when we can and since we can’t be together, we’ve had to find unique ways to do team building. We recently underwrote team member participation in the annual Turkey Trot benefiting the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. We also launched a matching giving campaign so team members can give to their local food bank with a company match during the holidays.

The pandemic has created many new challenges, but it has also created opportunities for companies that are in the unique position to give back, with even more of an obligation to do so. Our team is blessed to serve those who serve communities around the world. Learn more about ADF Pledge 1% here.