A Survey of Technology-Related Grantmaking: “Amplifying Social Impact in a Connected Age”

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ZeroDivide interviewed 41 funders and 13 nonprofit technology service providers to learn more about funders’ interests in technology-related grantmaking for social benefit, identify the key barriers to increased philanthropic investment, and surface suggestions that could help the sector in surmounting these barriers.

Download the report: Executive Summary Full report.

Press inquiries: Contact Jeff Perlstein at 415.225.6673 or [email protected]

Tweet about it: Tag related tweets as #fundertech, #nptech #zerodivideorg.

Discuss the report: Join us for a webinar (see below) to discuss the report findings and recommendations.

View the video: Click here to view comments by ZeroDivide President and CEO, Tessie Guillermo.

Read an excerpt: “About the Report” and the “Introduction to the Executive Summary”

Webinar – Join ZeroDivide to discuss the report
Please join ZeroDivide for a discussion of the report and recommendations for future directions.

Funder-only webinar: April 5, 2011 11am PDT/2pm EDT – RSVP to [email protected]
Non-funder webinar: April 6, 2011 11am PDT/2pm EDT – Register here for the webinar

About the report
This research project was motivated by ZeroDivide’s longstanding commitment to strengthening the quality and quantity of philanthropic investment in nonprofits’ use of technology for social impact — with an emphasis on nonprofits representing historically underserved communities.

We set out to learn more about funders’ interests in technology-related grantmaking for social benefit, identify the key barriers to increased philanthropic investment, and seek out suggestions that could help the sector in surmounting these barriers.

From July to November of 2010, forty-one funders and 13 nonprofit technology service providers (TSPs) participated in this effort. Participating foundations varied in size, programmatic emphasis, and geographic reach.

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Introduction to the Executive Summary
We are experiencing an explosion of inspiring examples from around the globe of communities using newer, low-cost communications technologies to influence hearts and minds and bring about positive change. Whether in Egypt or East Los Angeles, the Philippines or Philadelphia, social movements and effective organizations are increasingly using mobile phones, online video, texting, social media and related strategies to amplify their efforts and generate social impact.

With some very notable exceptions, philanthropic investment in domestic nonprofits’ technology use has largely focused on improving operational functions and efficiencies — hardware and software upgrades, databases for managing membership, the maintenance and design of websites, online fundraising campaigns, etc.

Now, leading nonprofits seek to go beyond simply using technology to strengthen operations. Rather, they are working towards technology integration — weaving technology strategies throughout their organizational cultures to enhance programmatic efforts to achieve social outcomes. They are looking to glean the lessons from seemingly spontaneous, viral successes with new media in order to be as pro-active and strategic as possible with their own practice.

Clearly, the move is on from back-end to front-end use of communications and information technology to bring about change.

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