CONCEPT NOTE

PURPOSE
Our purpose is to strengthen the technological capacity and digital literacy of equity and justice-based organizations. Together, we build technology for the public good and cultivate a learning ecosystem of technologists, public-sector professionals, and community partners.

WHY WE EXIST
Technology has the ability to massively impact and transform the public sector. Digital infrastructure can improve organizational efficiency while innovative digital tools have the potential to increase the reach and quality of programs and services. However, in a sector that is already operationally underfunded and under-resourced, social justice organizations have a difficult time leveraging technology to its full potential.

BARRIERS IDENTIFIED
The members of the Intentful Tech Collaborative have spent the last two years researching public sector technology initiatives and piloting pro bono technology programs to better understand what it takes to build sustainable digital capacity within the public sector. We have identified three main barriers organizations face when trying build, buy or implement technology.

 

FUNDING & CAPACITY CHALLENGES

Limited time, digital talent,  and ability to take on risk

Funders do not yet understand how to fund technology

FUNDING & CAPACITY CHALLENGES

Limited time, digital talent,  and ability to take on risk

Funders do not yet understand how to fund technology

LIMITED ACCESS TO RESOURCES & KNOWLEDGE

Limited access to, awareness of, and/or resources to build and maintain tech
 

Resources and skills live in the tech sector and are not shared or communicated in a way that’s helpful to the nonprofit sector

INEFFECTIVE COMMUNITY COLLABORATION

Limited mechanisms for those with tech talent and those with subject matter expertise to collaborate

OUR APPROACH

Improving digital capacity within the public sector will require partnerships and collaborations among many actors including, technologists, public-sector professionals, private companies, nonprofits and funders. We approach this challenge from multiple sides, providing services for organizations we are in relationship with while cultivating a learning ecosystem to address the larger systemic issues that impact the sustainability of technology.

WE BUILD TECHNOLOGY FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD

We work with organizations on long-term digital engagements. Before building any technology, each of our organizational partners participate in a series of planning meetings and workshops with our team and relevant digital experts from our community. We do this so our partners can collaboratively identify high-impact projects and develop a shared technical vocabulary.

  • We work with organizations to develop proof of concepts to build sustainable, fundable tech projects

  • We help organizations develop  technology strategies for deploying new platforms and tools

  • We build or help organizations use common digital products like websites, data collection & evaluation tools, etc.

WE CULTIVATE A LEARNING ECOSYSTEM

We provide support services to our public-sector clients to ensure the sustainability of our technology builds.

  • Cultivate local advisory network of highly-skilled technologists and  other experts who can provide advice and digital literacy trainings

  • Develop a library of case studies, supplemented with templates and other open source assets, that can useful to other nonprofits

  • Provide spaces for like-minded public sector groups to discuss digital needs that are more systemic, or transcend one organization

We facilitate cross-sector convenings between technologists and public-sector professionals.

  • Help public sector organizations build social capital within the tech space

  • Help technology companies and their employees get more engaged in their community through pro bono, advisory relationships, and other opportunities to support useful civic tech projects

We educate and engage funders about the opportunity to have a deeper impact through funding technology for the public good.

  • Provide spaces for funders to learn about trends, challenges, and areas of opportunity in developing and maintaining technology for the nonprofit sector
  • Invite funders to learn from and engage digital projects to support nonprofits solving challenging social issues
  • Help funders better evaluate the ROI of funding digital projects