Traction For Good (T4G) recently passed the $1 million mark in service grants donated to nonprofits. I’m just blown away that we’ve gotten to this point. It’s not something I would have ever imagined for T4G when we first started six years ago.
Over the years, we have donated this significant sum — in time and expertise — to help nonprofits realize their missions. Guided by our philosophy of “Giving what we’re good at,” we have supported over 200 nonprofits all over North America in building capacity through the use of technology. In doing this, we have been able to support organizations in an area that is often overlooked and undervalued by traditional funding sources.
Investing in Technology
While funders (this can be individuals, companies, foundations and governments) generously donate to nonprofits, too often they say, “I want it all to go directly to programs.” What they are not taking into consideration is that it takes people, supplies, training, facilities and systems to run those programs. What are we telling the people who work in the nonprofit sector when we say we will not fund anything but direct programming? We tell them their effort and the systems that help them do great work are not valued. With our investments in technology for nonprofits, T4G is able to address this gap, while also educating the funder community on the necessity of “overhead.”
One of the ways we’ve connected with nonprofits is through our Bandit Tour for Good. We leave soon for our sixth annual road trip from Vancouver to San Francisco, getting there in time for Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual mega-conference. During the Bandit Tour, we stop in towns along the way to help nonprofits with their organizational pain points through pro-bono Salesforce support. “Giving what we’re good at” is the greatest value we can provide to communities along the way. The value they receive from learning how to best leverage their technology and empowering them to take control of their own data, is worth more than any cash we can put in their hands.
Working Smarter, not Harder
I know from my days working in the nonprofit sector that it’s difficult to get a big picture view of an organization when systems and data are not consolidated or well thought out. Organizations sometimes make important decisions not on what the data says, but what they think the community needs. These can be two very different things. So not only can organizations start making smarter decisions with the right technology, they’ll be making them faster too. With their systems and processes becoming more efficient, nonprofits will actually have more time to connect with those that matter most to them — though I understand the fear with technology adoption is, “I don’t want to be stuck behind a computer all day.” The point of our projects is the exact opposite. Nonprofits can use the “extra” time to send a personal thank you email to a volunteer or call a donor to discuss the next campaign.
In the six years we’ve been doing this, there has been a shift in people’s understanding of technology and the important role it plays in nonprofit operations. Yet there is still a lot of work to be done, so we will continue “Giving what we’re good at” through to the next million dollars. Please let us know of a nonprofit we could support!
Follow the Traction for Good story here.
Written by Michelle Malpass, Director of Community Performance, Traction on Demand.