Handshake Nonprofit Partner FAQs

Tawnya -

Why is Handshake partnering with nonprofits?

The central “why” behind Handshake has always been to ensure all students have access to the information, resources, and network they need to launch their career. To live up to our mission, Handshake is launching a comprehensive strategy to support first-generation students, students of color, and other historically underrepresented students. We have spoken with the vast majority of our college and university partners about their deep commitment to ensuring historically underrepresented students are successful on campus and beyond. These conversations validated that Handshake can support the organizations our college and university partners collaborate with to maximize our collective impact and achieve more. One key component of this work is launching our first-ever partnerships with a number of national nonprofits focused on success for traditionally underserved students to and through college, including Bottom Line, Braven, BUILD, and Summer Search (and many more to come).

Bottom Line helps first-generation students from low-income backgrounds get into college, graduate, and go far in life. Braven supports emerging leaders on college campuses with the professional skills, confidence, experience, and network needed to thrive in today’s competitive world of work through their career-readiness courses. BUILD leverages experiential learning through entrepreneurship to ignite the potential of youth in under-resourced communities. Summer Search believes young people deserve the resources and support to succeed based on their talent, intelligence, and capabilities. They seek out students with great potential, but unequal opportunity, and partner with them to ensure their success in school, work, and life.

These nonprofits, and the many additional nonprofits we’re currently speaking with about partnership, are guided by their commitment to ensuring equity for all students. This is at the heart of our shared mission. These partnerships would not be possible without opening Handshake’s network to include all students at every college and university they serve.

We anticipate that among early adopters of Handshake’s open access there will naturally be students with privilege including existing networks and significant resources.

We as a company are taking steps to make sure that, just as we’re democratizing access to  information, internships, and jobs, we’re also proactively reaching out to and including historically underrepresented students and their support networks to ensure they can leverage Handshake.

How will these partnerships help your team move the needle with underrepresented students?

We believe talent is distributed equally, but opportunity is not. Handshake strives to support all students to launch meaningful careers. Given the unique and additional challenges first-generation students, students of color, and other historically underrepresented students face, Handshake wants to make sure that we’re playing whatever part we can in leveling the playing field.

Today that means we’re supporting students to find great internships and jobs, regardless of their personal or family networks. In the future we hope this might include additional signposts and supports to show students the actions they can take to ensure they’re on track to launch their career while pursuing their education.

Our college and university partners have shared that they work with a number of nonprofits we’re partnering with or considering partnering with because these nonprofits amplify the efforts our partner schools invest to ensure students are prepared academically, successful on campus, and launching exceptional careers when they graduate. Handshake will support the nonprofits we partner with to continue executing against our shared goals of ensuring all students are successful in school, work, and life.

In the near term, we anticipate our college and university partners will see higher Handshake activation rates among students who work with a nonprofit partner. Additionally, we anticipate adding participation badges or credentials in the future to verify students’ participation with a Handshake partner nonprofit to their school and to future employers.

How does partnering with Handshake as a nonprofit work?

Handshake works with our nonprofit partners to identify which of our student users are supported by a specific nonprofit. We then give these students the completely voluntary opportunity to share their Handshake profile with the nonprofit supporting them. Once a student gives their permission, nonprofit partners can access information included on a student’s Handshake portfolio as well as data about students’ engagement through Handshake with internships and jobs.

What criteria are you using to determine which nonprofit partners are a good fit?

We are actively working to partner with nonprofit organizations that share our mission of democratizing access to opportunity for students, work directly with college students at a national (or growing) scale, and have a proven track record of success supporting students. We’ve also had a number of recommendations from our college partners, so please let us know if there are nonprofits you’d love to see us support. 

What information about students can nonprofits access?

If students opt to share data with a Handshake nonprofit partner who they receive support from, that nonprofit’s team will be able to access the information included in that student’s Handshake profile as well as data about their engagement with internships and jobs through Handshake.

Which Handshake tools will nonprofit partners have access to? 

Handshake partner nonprofits do not have access to any tools yet. At the moment, all reports will be provided by the Handshake team. Nonprofits will only access student profile and behavior data on the subset of an institution’s students who participate in a nonprofit’s programming who also opt into sharing their information. This means they can’t request events or interviews, sign up for career fairs, post jobs, or communicate with schools, students, or employers through Handshake at this time.

Our short-term goal in partnering with nonprofits is to support them to understand which students are taking full advantage of your school’s career services resources. This means helping nonprofits understand which of the students you serve are completing their Handshake profiles, applying for internships and jobs, and engaging in behaviors we know will best set them up for professional success. Nonprofit partners can reach out to students who will benefit from additional support, and who may not yet engaged with our career services partners, to help them get on the right track--thus amplifying your team’s efforts!

How do I know if any of our students are working with your nonprofit partners? What kind of engagement or interaction can we view between them?

Many of our college and university partners have shared that they track students’ engagement with nonprofit student support entities. However, if you are curious which of your students have opted to share their Handshake profile with a nonprofit partner, we will work with our nonprofit partners to share that information with you.

If a student at our school is also working with a nonprofit partner will the student have one account or multiple?

To keep the student’s experience seamless, students will only have one Handshake account. Students will continue to use the Handshake account they create with their school or on their own (if their school does not partner with Handshake).

I have additional questions. Or, my school works with another amazing nonprofit organization we think Handshake should consider. How do we share that information with you?

Feel free to reach out to Jenna Karamanos at jenna@joinhandshake.com--either for questions, or to refer a nonprofit partner.

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