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Breaking technology barriers to social impact

7 August 2023 | Collaborations

Tech support for nonprofits

Social sector organisations face many struggles in embracing technology while keeping up with their mission. Most of the concerns when trying to engage with technology are related to:

  • Know-how to start tech transformation
  • Finding the resources to cover the costs
  • Keeping track of the current trends
  • Transforming non-technological business models
  • Having limited skills to operate the different tools

According to TechSoup, about 67% of organisations in the social sector have annual tech budgets under USD5,000, a limited amount considering the impact that a lack of relevant resources could have on organisational performance. Tech providers have recognised the gap between social entrepreneurs and technology capability. Therefore, they often offer discounted or even donated resources and services, including consulting, training and access to multiple online tools to support social ventures.

In this context, a learning session on ‘Enabling Technology Capability’ was held on 27 July to help non-profit and social enterprises learn how to reach their strategic goals with technology. The contributors to the session included Julia Youngs from Microsoft Entrepreneurship for Positive Impact, Melvin Chibole from TechSoup and Alexandra Nemeth from MovingWorlds, hosted by Salomón Raydan from Fundefir.

During the online session, the panellists acknowledged the challenges social ventures face. They also highlighted stories of transformation that show how removing key barriers can significantly enhance work.

One of the inspiring stories was about Common Cause Zambia. This governance-focused social venture faced a hostile operational environment that kept them from having complete control over their data. TechSoup stepped in to help them protect and secure their online domain to keep their operations on track. Fundación Capital was mentioned as one of the beneficiaries of Microsoft’s accelerator programme, which guided the organisation to implement a digital learning model that has made their financial literacy resources and training easily accessible for diverse groups within their focus communities.

Many organisations are playing an enabling role in supporting NGOs and social enterprises, serving as a dynamic bridge towards technological transformation. All partners in our space shared opportunities for accessing discounted or free products (TechSoup Global Network), capacity building courses and consulting (TechSoup Courses, Transform Support Hub), assessments and consulting (Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, Digital Assessment Tool), accelerator programmes (Microsoft Accelerator), platforms for simplifying funding access (NGOsource, STEP programme) and more.

Social enterprises and nonprofits interested in these opportunities can connect with the providers on their websites, TechSoup, TRANSFORM Support Hub powered by MovingWorlds, and Microsoft EFPI. To learn more about these and other tempting offers for social entrepreneurs, refer to the Enabling Technology Capability and Servicies for NGOs and Social Entrepreneurs guide. You can also share the resources and services you know by commenting on the guide.

enabling technology capability guide

Systems Learning

This Catalyst 2030 guide on Enabling Technology and Capacility Services for NGOs and Social Enterprises shows what’s on offer for social innovators. Please share the resources and services you know by commenting on the guide.

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