Fast Forward exists to support and scale tech nonprofits. To date, Fast Forward has accelerated 79 tech nonprofits who have gone on to impact over 105 million lives and raise over $357 million in follow on funding. 90% of our alumni have a founder who is a woman or a person of color. We provide tech nonprofits with all the things needed to thrive (see below!). The TLDR? We’re here to help you.
The Accelerator is our flagship program. We bridge the tech and nonprofit worlds, providing training and resources applicable to the challenges only a tech nonprofit entrepreneur knows. Through the Accelerator, you’ll receive a $25,000 philanthropic grant, build community among your cohort, meet dozens of mentors from the tech & social sector, and make connections to people who can help you scale. If you’re a nonprofit tech startup, you’re in the right place.
Fast Forward’s program is designed to address the unique needs of tech nonprofits:
- Capital. Fundraising strategies (including tactics and sources of capital) are different for tech nonprofits at every stage of the fundraising process as compared to their for-profit peers. There are also unique challenges and opportunities available to tech nonprofits in particular, which we will help you navigate.
- Content. Our curriculum is different. Yes, tech nonprofits must focus on product, scaling, and growth. However, tech nonprofits also need to learn about board development, governance, leveraging volunteers, and other issues specific to nonprofits. The knowledge base we’ve put together for tech nonprofits differs substantially from what for-profits would find valuable.
- Customer. Because of their focus on impact over profit, nonprofits often chase the least profitable customer, which impacts go-to-market strategy and customer life cycle in a way that’s different from for-profits.
- Cohort. Entrepreneurship is lonely. Tech nonprofit entrepreneurship even more so. Tech nonprofit leaders tell us that because of their nonprofit focus they don’t quite fit into for-profit accelerators, and because of their tech/product focus they don’t quite fit into nonprofit fellowships. They share a set of challenges unique to this intersection, and they’re excited to go through a program with others like them as well as provide each other ongoing support as their organizations grow.
- Community. Key to our mission is building closer ties between the nonprofit and for-profit tech community. The tech world has the opportunity to have a huge impact on these organizations and therefore the world. Our focus on collaborative philanthropy is quite different from for-profit accelerators, which don’t need to invest heavily in community building due to the nature of venture investing.
- They accept tech nonprofits from around the world (our previous cohorts have included teams from India, Spain, and Switzerland!).
- They require that at least one member of your team is present (virtually) at every session, and present (in person) at any real-life events.
- Leadership. Tech nonprofits face everything that is hard in a tech startup and everything that’s hard in a nonprofit. To pull it off, the leaders must have steadfast vision and incredible gumption.
- Tech talent. The tech vision should be the driving force of the organization and not an auxiliary program. To successfully execute that vision, tech talent must be in a leadership role.
- Potential for Impact. Impact is a thorny subject. To get to the heart of an organization’s potential, we ask questions like: Who is the organization primarily serving? If successful, how many lives will be positively influenced? How deeply will the organization impact those lives?
- Scalability. Software scales incredibly well. We support organizations with a vision for change that is matched only by the potential for scale.
- Lived Experience with the Problem. People solve problems in front of them. We want to empower people to solve the problems they see and experience.
- Alignment. Fast Forward is a small organization. As such, we choose organizations who we are best poised to help scale.