What is a tech nonprofit?
Tech nonprofits look like typical tech startups—they build products using technology—and have selected a nonprofit structure because they are building for impact instead of profit.
What’s Fast Forward’s business model?
Fast Forward is a nonprofit. We raise philanthropic capital from individual donors, foundations, and corporations who are interested in the intersection of tech and good.
How does Fast Forward measure impact?
We track 6 key indicators:
- Has the accelerator program been trajectory changing for each organization?
- Have we successfully unlocked new capital for tech nonprofits?
- Has each organization connected with at least 100 new potential donors?
- Has each organization connected with at least 10 new institutional funders?
- Do we see evidence of stronger ties among tech nonprofits?
- Do we see evidence of stronger ties between our cohorts and the tech community?
We evaluate our impact regularly. Check out our 2015 Impact Report to see more.
Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes. FFWD is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and our EIN is 46-4626500.
What are your selection criteria for the accelerator?
- Leadership: Tech nonprofits do everything that is hard in a tech startup AND 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: We are interested in both local and global impact. If successful, how many lives will be positively influenced?
- Scalability: Software scales incredibly well. We support organizations with a vision for change that is matched only by the potential for scale.
- Diversity: People solve problems in front of them. We want to empower people to solve the problems they see and experience.
Why should we apply to Fast Forward instead of a for-profit tech accelerator?
Fast Forward’s program is designed around the unique needs of tech nonprofits:
- Capital: Fundraising strategies, including tactics and sources of capital, are different for nonprofits at every stage of the fundraising process than they are for their for-profit peers.
- Content: Our curriculum is different. While both include a focus on product, scaling, and growth, nonprofits also want to learn about board development, governance, leveraging volunteers, and other issues generally more specific to nonprofits. The knowledge base we’re putting 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 lifecycle 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 and 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 because 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.
What happens at Demo Day?
Demo Day is the final event of the accelerator. It’s a celebration of the growth and progress the cohort has achieved throughout the summer. It’s also a valuable fundraising opportunity. Fast Forward curates an audience of 200+ foundation representatives, corporate social good program leaders, and tech philanthropists to attend Demo Day to unlock additional capital for the accelerator organizations.
I’m not from San Francisco. Can I still apply?
Yes. We meet in-person once a week. In past years, some participants flew in each week to attend the sessions. We require that at least one member of your team is present at every session.
We’re a for-profit social enterprise. Can we apply?
Our initial focus in on innovative solutions addressing problems for which there is no market solution. That’s where we see the biggest gap in resources in the market. Unfortunately, for-profit corporations and startups are not eligible to apply to Fast Forward at this time, but hopefully you can take advantage of one of the many funding sources available to B Corps and social enterprises.
We haven’t formally incorporated yet as a nonprofit. Can we still apply?
Yes, if you’re a student or running a product organization but haven’t formally incorporated, that’s not a problem. We can help you with that process.
Does Fast Forward provide housing?
We don’t provide housing, but we can direct you to local resources that will help in your housing search.
When is the next application period?
Applications for Summer 2016 are open now and will be due by April 4, 2016. Sign up for our mailing list to be notified about future application cycles.