Join The NonProfit Times: or Become a member

Subscribe: Print Publication or Newsletter

Stay connected.
Stay informed.

Live From SXSW: Disruptive Philanthropy in the Digital World

By Megan Keane - Special to The NonProfit Times - March 14, 2016

The money pledged to charity by Google’s founders is in the millions each year but that might not be the most important number. That more vital number is 75,000.

There are approximately 50,000 graduates each year to fill the 125,000 open technology positions in the United States. Compound that with the dismal statistics for women in tech and women receiving venture capital (VC) funding, and you have a huge missed opportunity. “Even if you don’t care at all about diversity, it’s terrible from a business perspective,” said Jacqueline Fuller, director of

Hugh Forrest, director of SXSW Interactive, sat down with Fuller in front of a live audience this weekend during SxSW Interactive.

Solving the problem starts with bridging the opportunity gap at the education level. Big strides are being made with college graduates across the board for STEM (science, technology engineering and math) subjects, except computer science. Fuller stresses that college is another arena where further efforts are needed. Connecting computer science to complex problems, such as a computer science class using a computation set to solve a clean water problem, is one way to inspire people to use tech for further good.

Fuller went on to reference the “Elephant in the Valley” study and the challenges women face as they move into leadership positions. How can you be authentic, yet also stay competitive and be a strong, decisive leader? To combat some of these challenges, Google has taken small steps to counteract unconscious gender biases, from more blind coding interviews to a more standardized hiring process.

Yet for, philanthropy goes beyond giving money to leverage the other resources of Google. Fuller uses the example of the site fiasco where technologists from Google and other tech companies came in, offering engineering skills to help solve the problem. “I’m optimistic that people want to help and be involved in something that’s making a difference”, Fuller continued. “It’s about finding the right mix of approaches.”’s key leverage is technologists and learning how to create systemic ways for people to come together to work on these challenges. Efforts such as sprints and hackathons work to a certain extent, but are hard to scale, so this requires looking at more long-term sustainability. As such, funds a variety of different methods.

Some are investing in innovative technological solutions, such as charity: water’s waterflow sensor and working with World Wildlife Foundation using drones for conservation.

Google also donates more than $1 billion in products and 100,000+ employee volunteer hours. Additionally, also offers funds for inventive solutions by offering up the question to nonprofits: “How would you use $15,000 to make a difference?” By expanding the traditional strategies of philanthropy, challenges leaders to think creatively about new ideas for change.



Sponsored Podcasts

Welcome to the Raise & Engage podcast, a filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by Blackbaud's straight-shooting expert Danielle Johnson Vermenton. During this open-mic session, you’ll hear honest advice to help YOU do more for your cause.

Episode 6: The Power of ‘No’ at Work|| daniellejohnson-76

You have a job description, but on any given day, you're probably doing dozens of things outside the scope of that description. Combine that with the challenge of a fast-paced environment and the shifting priorities of funders, colleagues, and board members and it’s easy to fall short of doing your best. By being mindful of your limitations and capacity—and saying “no” when your plate is full—you can actually do more for your cause. In the sixth installment of the Raise and Engage podcast Danielle Johnson and Robin Anderson discuss the power of saying “no” at work.

Episode 5: Professional Development: Getting Un-Stuck|| daniellejohnson-76

In the most recent episode of Raise + Engage, Danielle is back with Brian Reich from little m media to discuss how nonprofit professionals can stay motivated and energized in their day-to-day roles. Brian shares his experience working with nonprofits and the lessons and tips he's learn from and shared with them over the years, including tips for avoiding a professional rut, creating forward momentum in your career and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you're considering making a career move or want to ensure you're on the right path, you won't want to miss this inspo-packed episode!

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

Tune in to hear:

  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
  • Ideas for better managing your inbox
  • Why you should take lunch outside the box
  • ...and much more!
Don’t forget to visit the #NoFilterNonprofit Hub afterwards to download our newest tip sheet10 Productivity Hacks for Nonprofits.

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.

Tune in to hear:

  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!


Stay informed, catch latest trends in the nonprofit space.

Subscribe to Our Free Newsletter

No obligation, unsubscribe at anytime.

Success! Check your email inbox.

Follow Us On Twitter

NPT 2016 Buyers' Guide

Newsletter Sign-up

click here to return to the previous page