It seems logical to ask tech companies to fund your technology project. Nearly all of them do philanthropy work and there’s a good chance that they make or sell something you need.
Logical, yes. But as it turns out, your chances are slim.
Like any large funding organization, tech companies seek out relationships with nonprofits that match their grantmaking interests, and very few focus their philanthropy on technology. Often they’re more interested in supporting the community where their offices are based, educating the tech workforce of the future, or fostering initiatives that complement their branding goals — such as tree planting or equipment recycling to show a commitment to green practices. Unless you fit within a specific giving area, you’re not likely to get support to purchase a new donor management system or develop an innovative new app.
Instead, think of funding technology as you would any other infrastructure project. Look for foundations or corporations that give within your mission area, starting with the ones who already support you. Also, consider whether it makes sense to wrap the technology into a larger project — such as measuring program outcomes or an advocacy campaign to increase awareness — that might have more inherent appeal.
Learn More About Funders
Want to know more about funding your technology project? Interested in hearing the perspectives of grantmakers who frequently evaluate technology proposals? Join "How to Get Your Technology Projects Funded", a two-part webinar series from Foundation Center and Idealware that will help you sort out whom to talk to and what to say to fund mission-critical technology. These webinars will take place on Tuesday, April 19, and Tuesday, April 26, from 2:00-3:30pm ET. Register now>>
LAURA QUINN is the former Director of Partnerships and Knowledge at Idealware. Laura has been working in the software sector for nearly 20 years. At Idealware, she worked with partners and helped guide content into high-quality resources. Prior to founding Idealware, Laura was an independent consultant helping nonprofits create internet strategies, select appropriate software, and then build sophisticated websites on limited budgets.