All for One and Tech for All

TechSoup equips communities with the innovative technology they need to build a more equitable planet.
Aug 27, 2019 11:20 AM ET

From One to Many
In the minds of nonprofits and corporate tech leaders alike — from San Francisco to Sicily, and Sri Lanka to Senegal — TechSoup nourishes social causes through innovation.

In 1987, Daniel Ben-Horin came up with the idea to create a technology mentoring system to help nonprofits and schools. Today, TechSoup enables the social sector with the technology essential for improving lives worldwide.

“TechSoup is a network of international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) all working on a common mission. We use technology to help communities connect and develop innovative solutions, so we have a more equitable planet,” says Rebecca Masisak, CEO, TechSoup.

TechSoup is a shining example of how much good can come from removing the barrier between nonprofits and technology. They provide:

  • Education: Trainings, blogs and webinars help nonprofits learn how to leverage technology to power their causes.
  • Accessibility: Through TechSoup’s ecommerce platform, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), social benefit organizations and charities have access to 375 products and solutions from over 100 companies, such as VMware, Microsoft, Adobe and Zoom.
  • Affordability: Nonprofits, libraries and foundations are potentially eligible to receive donated or discounted software and hardware.
  • Support: Engineering and service capabilities enable true digital transformation that drives impact.

A Community Approach

One of the things I think is most special about the work we've done is that we've built a community that's closer together and can learn from each other. That’s good for capacity building and helping people be better at the work they're doing while keeping costs low, especially when budgets are tight. But I also think it’s very good for society in general.

Rebecca Masisak, CEO, TechSoup

A TechSoup Success Story: MotherCoders
Tina Lee was a long-time contributor to the technology industry before giving birth to her second daughter. Faced with the reality of working full time while parenting two children, she saw a need for helping moms keep up with fast-paced market changes in tech. There weren’t any tech meet-ups or skills classes designed to help women with children stay current, let alone get ahead — not until MotherCoders was born.

The MotherCoders learning experience is immersive, giving them a deep understanding of the technology industry and the skills needed to succeed.

MotherCoders counts on TechSoup for technology that makes it possible for the organization to do its work. Accounting and cybersecurity software, laptops and other hardware help streamline operations for its distributed team and enables its students to achieve their goals.

“The greatest thing about TechSoup is that it makes technology accessible to everyone, especially nonprofits where every dollar counts,” says Lee.

And while MotherCoders helps individual moms, its greater vision of achieving gender equality through economic empowerment is always top of mind. As the world moves into the next phase of technological transformation, MotherCoders envisions a future where moms diversify the marketplace by contributing to the design and development of technology products and services. At the same time, they strengthen communities by creating businesses and thriving in jobs with livable wages and advancement opportunities.

From Idea to Reality
A website is a basic requirement for today’s NGOs. But nonprofit leadership teams and boards of directors want more. They want mobile. They want apps. They want cloud. They want global connectivity. And soon, when they don’t know how to turn their digital transformation ideas into reality, they turn to TechSoup.

That’s where the Digital Assessment tool comes in. When launched in early 2020, it will help organizations assess their work and understand what’s possible with digital technologies. The solutions helps NGOs and schools consider important gaps and how to close them by connecting them to new solutions, experts or training resources. Individual NGOs receive valuable insights and recommendations help move NGOs further along the digital transformation path.

A Digital Journey of Their Own
TechSoup also uses its partners’ technology to help achieve its mission and build best-in-class apps.

  • Internally, TechSoup uses cloud-based technology as an accessible platform to distribute and monitor the use of technology.
  • Customer-facing technology continues to leverage cloud-based infrastructure-as-a-service models, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
  • TechSoup developed a Cooperative Technology Platform to fuel the organization’s Validation Services. The NGO Marketplace makes it easy for corporations and foundations to connect their in-kind donations and grantmaking with eligible nonprofits.
  • Lastly, technology connects TechSoup’s Global Network. The nonprofit organization collaborates with 70 of the world’s leading civil society organizations to improve lives globally with technology. These partners manage a range of capacity-building programs to serve communities in nearly every region of the world. Together, The Global Network has reached more than 1 million organizations and delivered greater than $12 billion market value of in-kind tech and funding.|

As part of its digital transformation roadmap, TechSoup also is exploring emerging technologies.

“We are actively exploring blockchain for validation services, so we can ensure the data we have on the nonprofit sector is protected, secure and valid,” says Enos. “We are also looking at leveraging machine learning to better understand what nonprofits would benefit from in terms of courses, resources, information and solutions.”

An Eye to the Future
TechSoup is committed to improving civil society by using technology as an enabler — to help people, communities and our collective future. To fulfill its promise for the future, TechSoup aims to pair purpose-built apps with expert services. They believe this will help close the gap between what’s commercially available and how organizations unlock the benefits in their digital transformation journeys.