3 Ways Startup Culture Impacts Nonprofits

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Throughout the world, startup culture has introduced unconventional strategies and innovative technology. From a giving workplace culture to the most effective use of technology, here are three ways startup culture impacts nonprofits:

1. Technology

Startup culture rose alongside the widespread adoption of technology. Nonprofits, like the greater business world, have adopted technology tricks from startups and utilized them in a couple of key ways.

Like nonprofits, startups are often operating on a limited budget and trying to maximize resources. Well-chosen technological solutions within the organization improve operations and communication.

Once internal efficiencies are improved, technology can help nonprofits more effectively communicate to volunteers, donors and the public. This includes streamlined websites, social media and greater use of data and analytics.

Data collection and analysis is critical for a startup to ensure it is on the right path and remaining lean, yet effective. Nonprofits and the populations they serve can now benefit from the same practices. Data analysis is utilized to measure success, fine tune programs and further engage volunteers and donors.

2. Corporate Philosophy

Corporate philanthropy is increasingly popular among startups and newer companies. Kraig Swensrud reported this trend for the tech media site, The Next Web. “Technology companies are more philanthropic than they’ve ever been and giving back is becoming a core value in Silicon Valley’s culture,” he writes.

In startups, workplace culture often focuses on teamwork and building a positive work environment. Towards this end, companies volunteer together or fundraise as a company. Outside of corporate philanthropy, companies may also support their employee’s giving with matching donation programs and paid volunteer hours.

Swensrud’s article notes the incorporation of philanthropy into many companies’ business models. Amazon Smile is an example of giving facilitated through the existing business platform, with a customer’s chosen organization receiving a portion of the purchase from Amazon.

3. Venture-capital philosophy

Venture-capital philosophy has also transitioned from Silicon Valley to global aid. This outcome-oriented approach incorporates rounds of investment. New ideas receive minimal funding which can then grow and gain support with the idea’s success. A representative from USAID told New York Times columnist Adam Davidson the agency has begun to experiment with similar programs in the Global Development Lab.

“The venture-capital philosophy of investing can be an extremely useful model for philanthropy in its confident embrace of risk,” writes Davidson. Initial investors are open to greater risk while later ones contribute as they see that risk decline. Like many startup companies, funding is directly correlated to measurable successes and shortcomings.

In combination with more accurate data, many in the philanthropic community aspire to more accurate funding.  Adopting a variety of innovative strategies from startup culture can improve the efficiency, success rates and funding of nonprofits.

Sources: Forbes, New York Times, The Next Web, npENGAGE, Wired
Photo: B Plans

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