Armed with a bank of IT services and a workforce of thousands, Tata Consultancy Services' (TCS) Australia and New Zealand CEO Deborah Hadwen has her eye on the not-for-profit sector. There's one thing she wants to know - how TCS can help.

The Australian arm of the IT services giant last month quietly formalised a pro bono community program for not-for-profit (NFP) organisations.

What this means for Australian NFPs working in the fields of health, education and the environment is they have until February 16 to apply for a place in the inaugural program - and a chance to take advantage of the "complimentary TCS IT services and expertise" on offer.

Hadwen is particularly keen to attract NFPs that have come up with an idea and progressed someway down the path in its planning.

"What we're looking for is organisations that have something shaped that they know will make a material difference to what they're trying to achieve," Hadwen told Information Age.

"We can then look at those projects and figure out if there is somewhere we can add value and help.

"That could include smartening up some internal systems and making them more efficient, or load testing of websites: whatever the technology needs to enable that initiative for that organisation."

The full list of IT services on offer is broad, ranging from application and website development, IT consulting and technology optimisation, digitisation and digital transformation, and software testing.

It's not the first time TCS has offered services pro bono to the NFP sector in Australia, but it is the first time that it has done so under a formal program.

In past years, TCS' support for NFPs had been "opportunistic".

"We were working with some organisations supporting causes but there was a time when we took a step back and said, 'Actually, I think this is something we could do better and bigger'.

"It's something that fits with what we do well, and it's a great opportunity to get some of our local associates effectively engaged. That's why we decided to make it a formal, ongoing program."

In the culture

That 'fit' is at least partially a product of TCS' cultural heritage. About 66 percent of the equity capital of Tata Sons, the majority holding company of most Tata companies, is held by philanthropic trusts.

"As a value system and culture it's quite infused through the Tata companies of which TCS is one," Hadwen said. "Even though we're publicly listed we still have that value system."

The focus on finding health, education and environment NFPs also closely aligns with Tata's corporate social responsibility interests globally.

For Hadwen, education is particularly important, especially if that investment helps drive interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, which are considered key to the flow of technical skills, innovation and knowledge.

"The focus on education ties in very nicely with a lot of what we want to do and support in terms of getting STEM on the agenda and supporting the development of skills in that market," she said.

Aside from helping the NFPs, the pro bono program also provides opportunities for TCS staff - known as "associates" - to participate in community projects that reflect causes of personal interest.

The company runs a global program called Purpose for Life, "which is about encouraging all associates around the world to donate certain hours a year to NFP community-based activities".

"It's great to give people a mechanism to do it if it's something they want to do."

Interested NFPs are invited to apply for the program here.