Letter from the CEO
This was not the year we were expecting.
Our sector, like all sectors, faced a spring of grief and uncertainty. Yet the 1.3 million civil society organizations we work with continued to bridge the growing gaps and "dug deep" to find new ways to support their communities and to survive. New applications for existing solutions and brand-new solutions proved rapid and effective for filling critical local services, such as feeding low-income families and sharing public health information and resources.
I gained an emboldened confidence and urgency in the importance of TechSoup’s mission and our network approach. 2020 reinforced the need for greater digital infrastructure to support changemakers as nonprofits relied on TechSoup to gain critical infrastructure and skills. We witnessed how digital tools and skills helped stabilize community organizations and accelerate their impact.
Going forward we have the opportunity to build a digital infrastructure as a foundation for a more just society. A strong digital foundation will raise the ability of community organizations to collaborate, to share data, and to innovate. TechSoup is committed to expanding access to its programs and fostering contributions from all corners of the globe to create the systemic change the world needs.
Over the last year, TechSoup and our partners continued to invest in our network strategy, which nurtures relationships and strengthens the capacity of the TechSoup Global Network. That capacity proved pivotal with the arrival of the pandemic. This year, 24,403 new learners gained new skills with TechSoup Courses. Thanks to strong relationships, strategic funding partners shared $1.26 million that’s now available to support nonprofits everywhere through our COVID-19 fund. The TechSoup Global Network connected 164,000 NGOs with more than US$1.9 billion in resources last year.
The TechSoup Global Network of 60+ partners is built for resiliency and stands ready to collaborate. When Spain and Italy faced early coronavirus surges, the Network did what it was built to do. It kept an uninterrupted and increased supply chain for philanthropy, including increased access to critical tools that enabled nonprofits to continue operating remotely, and equivalency determinations that facilitated international donors to fund their projects. The Network became a rallying point for local communities to provide decision-making support, training, and a regular friendly presence — like TechSoup Italy, which offered daily live-streaming coffee chats and a feeling of solidarity. The diversity and reach of our network gave us the resiliency that we needed to continue to operate and grow services.
We’ve been able to invest this year in the Network’s resiliency thanks to raising 75 percent of our three-year goal of US$11.5 million in the first two years of our Growth Capital Campaign. That support includes new investments from the Okta for Good Fund and VMware Foundation and more than 280 contributions from individuals and foundations.
As the challenges increase in the year ahead, the survival of many nonprofits cannot be taken for granted. Yet the need for their critical services can be depended upon to grow. We need your help to continue investing in the resiliency of the TechSoup Global Network and to help ensure a strong, inclusive civil society. When the vaccine we’re waiting for finally arrives, local nonprofit organizations will likely be critical in ensuring that it eventually reaches all who need it. Let’s together ensure that civil society’s innovators have the resources and partnerships they need to not only continue their work but also create a more just society with better economic and social outcomes for all.