Tech firm Okta is making a $300,000 investment through its Okta For Good Fund at the Tides Foundation to support TechSoup’s $11.5-million growth capital campaign to significantly expand offerings and nearly double the number of nonprofits it serves.
The investment comes at a time when the global pandemic tests the limits of, and provides more evidence for, the need for capacity-building infrastructure for the nonprofit sector, according to TechSoup CEO Rebecca Masisak. Growth capital funds will be allocated to build out the next version of the TechSoup marketplace, improve business processes, and create more Apps for Good.
The Okta for Good Fund investment will contribute to an estimated $141 million of additional resources distributed to the nonprofit sector by 2023. Okta, the Tides Foundation and TechSoup are all based in San Francisco, Calif.
“The global COVID-19 crisis gives urgency to our partnership with TechSoup as we work to help nonprofits harness technology to power and scale their missions,” Erin Baudo Felter, vice president of social impact at Okta, said via a statement. “By supporting TechSoup’s growth strategy, we are also advancing Okta’s Nonprofit Technology Initiative to rapidly support nonprofits’ move to the cloud, support digital transformation to enable nonprofits to reach their stakeholders digitally at scale, and securing nonprofits and their critical data.”
The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the critical need to build a more flexible and resilient technology infrastructure for nonprofits globally, according to Masisak. “Okta’s significant new investment will help us address this by expanding TechSoup’s services and financing five new initiatives to help civil society around the world leverage technology to create, connect, activate and transform their organizations and communities,” she said.
Okta has been a long-standing partner of TechSoup. In March, the Okta for Good Fund provided a $250,000 grant for the Global Data Research Initiative and in 2019 Okta was part of a group of Bay Area technology corporations, including VMware, Box, Adobe, and Cisco, that granted $500,000 for TechSoup’s Digital Transformation Initiative.
Okta joins a growing coalition of individuals and organizations, including VMware, Microsoft and the Nonprofit Finance Fund, that have invested in TechSoup’s future through grants, loans and direct investments. To date, $8.6 million, or about 75 percent of the $11.5 million target, has been committed to funding TechSoup’s growth capital campaign.
The Okta for Good Fund investment was made through TechSoup’s Direct Public Offering (DPO), a fundraising approach that enables nonprofits to raise growth capital through investments rather than donations. The DPO enables individuals and organizations of any asset size to invest directly in the nonprofit, without a lengthy grant process. With investment minimums as low as $50, the DPO is uniquely structured to democratize impact investment and engage with TechSoup’s community, including the nonprofits it serves and the technology companies with which it partners.
“Less than 1 percent of philanthropic dollars go toward nonprofit infrastructure programs. Okta’s support will enable us to address this significant structural issue in civil society and help close the nonprofit digital divide,” said Masisak. “Whether it’s supporting nonprofits struggling with the transition to remote work or small front-line human services organizations that are facing greater needs in their communities and must provision services in new ways, our capital campaign will help civil society organizations bring people together amid this pandemic to make an impact on the issues they care about most.”
During the three-month period from April to June 2020, while nonprofits struggled with transition to remote work and disruptions in serving their communities caused by the COVID pandemic, TechSoup was able to help in excess of 85,000 nonprofits gain access to more than $440 million in technology and other needed resources, according to Ken Tsunoda, vice president of development TechSoup.
One example is the rapid expansion of TechSoup Courses. These courses train and prepare nonprofit leaders to leverage technology and software solutions to increase productivity and collaboration. In response to COVID-19, TechSoup compiled and released a free course dedicated to pivoting to remote work. In February, 2,886 learners from 29 countries were enrolled in one or more courses. In just five weeks, this number grew to 41,301 learners from 99 countries. Learners accessed free COVID-19 information combined with remote working application training, including Microsoft Teams, according to Tsunoda.
TechSoup is also working with TechSoup Global Network partners to launch a series of courses across the globe. Its partner in Kenya, KCDF, localized a course within an African context, making it more applicable to nonprofits on the continent and modifying the modules to reflect a variety of African experiences. “Our dedication through the TechSoup online courses during this COVID-19 crisis,” said Natasha Murigu of KCDF via a statement, “is to help organizations transition to the new work-from-home environment by offering relevant resources and courses while ensuring the nonprofits have what they need to support or restructure their work.”