Scaling Social Impact: Fast Forward’s Accelerator Helps Tech Nonprofits Solve Global Problems via Innovation

Scaling Social Impact: Fast Forward’s Accelerator Helps Tech Nonprofits Solve Global Problems via Innovation

TL; DR: Fast Forward is just not your average tech accelerator. The San Francisco-based organization concentrates on helping entrepreneurs employ innovation to fight cultural injustice — not reach the Fortune 500. Whether committing to its portfolio of technological nonprofits, raising philanthropic cash, or organizing an intensive directory of nonprofit technological groups, Fast Forward’s goal is to get the future of teens. 

It’s easy for being disillusioned with the technological industry, where achievements are generally primarily measured in us dollars earned. With almost hardware regularity, we’re seeing entrepreneurs take their startups to a higher level by leveraging your rich landscape of enterprise capitalists, angel investors, and accelerators determined before them.

For tech nonprofits — the methods looking to use invention to spur social change — the feeling is not always while fruitful. That’s why, considering that 2014, Fast Forward have been investing in projects and programs meant to bridge the gap relating to the tech and nonprofit groups.

Shannon Farley, Co-Founder along with Executive Director at Rapid ForwardShannon Farley, Co-Founder along with Executive Director, described how Fast Forward is making opportinity for social good.“There are ample funding opportunities inside startup world — you’ll be able to almost map out your startup journey by Googling how for this, ” said Shannon Farley, Co-Founder along with Executive Director at Rapid Forward. “Our goal should be to create an ecosystem involving support for founders whom started a nonprofit given that they saw customers that weren’t staying served by for-profit software package. ”

To date, 50 groups have participated inside Fast Forward accelerator. Recently alone, they served more when compared with 63 million people along with raised $157 million throughout follow-on funding to solve many of the world’s most pressing cultural issues in healthcare, education and learning, human rights, and outside of.

Ultimately, through the accelerator, and also philanthropic capital, a Technological Nonprofit Playbook, and an enormous nonprofit community, Fast Forward is committing to social impact worldwide.

Bridging the Gap Involving Social Services and Technological

Shannon and Co-Founder Kevin Barenblat leveraged combining their professional backgrounds while launching Fast Forward throughout 2014.

“Kevin had been steeped inside tech startup environment immediately after launching and selling a new previous tech company, ” the girl said. “He was considering why there weren’t additional tech nonprofits, such while Khan Academy, that have software with the core of their result model.

Statistics on diversity involving entrepreneursFast Forward serves a diverse list of entrepreneurs working to expand tech nonprofits.Prior for you to Fast Forward, Shannon centred on philanthropy, juvenile proper rights reform, and gender equal rights. She served as founding Account manager Director of Spark, your world’s largest network involving millennial philanthropists, and co-founded Your W. Haywood Burns Commence, a juvenile justice change organization.

“I ran a women’s foundation for countless years that was essentially a young tech nonprofit, ” Shannon explained. “We operated with a wiki and also a PayPal account, and that’s how we distributed our funds. So when Kevin and I managed to get together as co-founders, we planned to bridge our two industrys. ”

With the belief that this most cutting-edge technology must be applied to the world’s most significant social problems, Fast Forward set out to offer community, funding, along with guidance to tech nonprofits. It’s an excellent they did: Today, amid a universal pandemic and economic disaster, online social services will be more important than ever.

“Our groups are working to address the crisis points — online, access to telemedicine, entry to legal aid when tennis courts are closed, support pertaining to mental health services, ” Shannon explained. “For nearly anything you may imagine that people need right now, there is a tech nonprofit serving that need. ”

The Goal: For you to Unite the Tech Non-profit Community

Shannon said a lot of tech professionals, including designers, get into the field given that they love solving difficult troubles. But somewhere along how, they lose a link with the issues that subject.

“If you didn’t become adults in a community through which these issues are ever-present, you possibly will not have exposure to your nonprofits that can reap the benefits of your valuable skills, ” the girl said. “Our goal is to help you skilled professionals find meaningful solutions to engage with tech nonprofits — if through full-time roles as well as pro-bono volunteering. ”

By simply bridging this gap, Fast Forward aims to help you connect a community of folks interested in advancing cultural impact via technology.

One way the nonprofit achieves this can be through its Tech Non-profit Directory, a free, complete database of innovative non-profit tech companies and business people. Users can search the directory using an array of categories, including program place, geography, and budget, to plug with nonprofit organizations along with communities.

Fast Forward also made an open repository involving pro bono needs which can help those affected by COVID-19. Generally, these are tasks that can make a big impact — including code reviews in GitHub — which a software engineer sitting accustomed to a half an hours could do. Rather than checking out soup kitchens, which get attracted droves of volunteers of late, those who possess the specified skills might consider aiding a tech nonprofit in a very food-related area.

“If there isn’t a requirement of volunteers in a soups kitchen, you could instead help a food discovery platform that’s connecting people to free meals, ” the girl said. “They need SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION support, backend database management support — each of the things any tech firm would. There’s a real opportunity for people in the tech sector who may have traditionally been shut beyond pro bono volunteer chances to dive in speedily. ”

Investing in the longer term of Education, Healthcare, along with Human Rights

Fast Forward approaches its mission over the lens of social proper rights, working to solve many of the world’s biggest challenges.

“In urban centers, particularly, but also during the entire country, it feels much like the work that the technological and nonprofit sectors do is divorced derived from one of another, but the simple truth is, it’s all connected, ” Shannon explained. “We’re feeling that in a very meaningful way as each of the different crises we’re facing expose holes in your social safety net. The divide between form of tech business and some other kind of business can be glaring. ”

And even though those in education, health, and human rights deserve ideal technology to address the down sides facing our society, they’ve historically been disconnect from it financially. The good news is, Shannon said, cloud technology is forcing the price of computing downward, delivering new opportunities.

“If you launched a tech startup decade ago, you’d need sums of money, ” she said. “You’d need to put together a server closet, and yes it probably wouldn’t be wherever you work. You’d ought to rent a truck for you to haul everything around, and hire an expert to push the button, ” she said. “Now, there exists an entire universe involving products that help men and women start tech nonprofits — we’ve had teams undertake it for approximately $5, 000. ”

TalkingPoints, a new nonprofit launched in 2015 by simply Fast Forward alumni Heejae Lim, is one of them of this. Studies have shown that the most important indicator of high-school graduation rates is just not zip code but parental effort. To increase engagement involving teachers and multilingual people, the organization created an online site that combines Twilio’s foreign communications platform with Yahoo and google Translate.

“They paid a few thousand dollars for the rudimentary website to begin, ” Shannon said. “Now, TalkingPoints is helping hundreds of thousands of parents communicate with teachers in numerous different languages, especially the long tail languages which have been not served by for-profit products out there. Suddenly, parents can speak with their children’s teachers; it’s something wouldn’t have been possible while using technology we had decade ago. ”

The Technological Nonprofit Playbook: Packed with Best practices

Fast Forward recently unveiled the Tech Nonprofit Playbook, a no cost guide to launching along with growing a tech non-profit. The online resource supplies incredibly comprehensive yet approachable advice through the leaders whose work features transformed the social result space.

“It’s been a think of ours since the starting out open-source everything we’ve learned in the last six years, including how our founders manipulate their nonprofit status for you to scale up quickly to serve folks who otherwise weren’t being supported, ” Shannon said.

The thought is to open up entry to opportunity in an unmatched way beyond San Francisco’s region.

“There are great concepts everywhere — not everyone happens to reside in in a seven-mile radius where suddenly you may have access to lots involving different startup support, ” Shannon explained. “Often, these ideas have been recently burrowing in their mind for years. We hope this tool might help them bring new products in the world — because men and women need help now use in your. ”.