Understandably, spending on programs has historically taken precedence over the needs of a nonprofit’s technology environment. After all, when asked whether funds should be put toward program services or a computer, it’s easy to choose program services, because doing so feeds the natural human desire to help.  Yet, if a donor understood that even more could be put toward program services through efficient use of technology, their decision might change.

501tech works to promote this alternate view of the relationship between technology and the social reach of the nonprofit. Unlike other expenses categorized under the heading of “general operating”, technology investments have the potential to drive higher program efficiency and thus achieve greater social impact. Conversely, chronic underinvestment guarantees organizational drag and diminished outcomes.

501tech sets aside 10% of grants and gift for the purpose of making direct investments in technology on behalf of eligible nonprofits as part of our mission to decrease costs and increase capabilities. Unlike typical funding transactions that culminate in the agency receiving a check, 501tech works with agencies to identify needs and then meets those needs by making investments on their behalf. Direct investment services include:

  • Web site redesign – 501tech, in partnership with Asemio, redesigns four to eight web sites a year for eligible nonprofit organizations. Each site incorporates nonprofit sector best practices and is offered at no cost to the nonprofit organization. (Please note that this aspect of our Venture Funding program will not be active in 2016.) Previous projects include:
  • Consulting expenses – On a case-by-case basis, 501tech funds consulting engagements (performed by our strategic partner Asemio) necessitated by critical agency technology needs or operational risks.
  • Pilot projects – 501tech occasionally funds pilot projects where outcomes may broadly benefit the nonprofit sector. Examples include the 2012 pilot of thin client technologies in a multi-site environment.

technology for good