Welcome to The Fast Forward Academy, a series of free classes on how to scale your impact. Replay The Fast Forward Academy for a treasure trove of actionable insights.Watch The Fast Forward Academy
Decide Who You Help and Why (or, Distribution Ethics)Taught By
Why defining your ethical stance is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.More details...
As a tech nonprofit, impact is your north star. But how do you define this impact? How do you decide who to serve? To help you answer these big – and critical – questions, Medic Mobile Co-Founder Josh Nesbit will guide you through a framework called Distribution Ethics. A set of thought experiments, Distribution Ethics helps you decide what to build, and for whom – AKA your ethical stance. Put simply: this class will help you make sure your work is actually driving the value you want to make in the world. You’ll learn:
- Ethical frameworks for thinking through who gets your helpful solution
- How to decide who you’ll help based on your ethical framework
- How to define your chain of causality, or the connection between inputs, outputs, & impact
Demystify Marketing So You Can Help More PeopleTaught By
Journey through an end-to-end marketing campaign with an expert from Code for America.More details...
For tech nonprofits, great marketing can mean the difference between transforming someone’s life with your product and never reaching that someone at all. With deep marketing experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, Jahvita Rastafari, Senior Director of Marketing at Code for America, will teach you how to apply tried and true marketing strategies to your work – so you can do more of that whole transforming lives thing. Using Clear My Record, Code for America’s tool that helped 58 counties clear marijuana convictions, as a case study, Jahvita will show you:
- How to design and execute an end-to-end marketing strategy
- The basics of building brand awareness
- The ABCs of acquiring new customers
Build the Product Your User NeedsTaught By
How to do user research right (with insights from a researcher with lived experience).More details...
User research: it’s what should determine the product you build and how you iterate. Most people are doing it wrong – but after this class, you definitely won’t be one of them, thanks to user research pro Geordie Graham, Chief Product Officer at Ample Labs. He’ll be joined by Mardi Daley, a user researcher with lived experience with homelessness for a can’t-miss discussion about how to leverage user research as a tool to really understand your users’ needs. With a grounding in Research Ethics, you’ll leave knowing:
- How to actually do user research as a tech nonprofit
- How to successfully work with individuals who have lived experience with the problem
- How to turn user research insights into product roadmaps
Raise More Money by Leveraging an Equity Lens, Storytelling, & DataTaught By
Unlock your fundraising potential by using the tools you already have.More details...
With a special introduction by Lorena Hernandez, California Director, Community Investment, COMCAST NBCUniversal
You know more about fundraising than you think. Kristina (Steen) Joye Lyles, Head of Equity & Impact, Senior Partnerships Director at DonorsChoose, is going to teach you how to unlock skills you already have to raise more money in support of your mission. A class for both first-time fundraisers and those seasoned in the art of partnerships, you’re in for a fundraising paradigm shift. With deep experience in fundraising, partnerships, and law, Steen is going to teach you how to use tools you already have – like personal stories, listening, an equity lens, and data analysis – as growth engines for your fundraising machine. By the end of the class, you’ll know how to:
- Use personal storytelling to build strong partnerships
- Apply an equity lens to bolster your fundraising strategy
- Leverage skills you already have to raise more money
Craft Win-Win Strategies for Customer SuccessTaught By
Secrets to keeping your customers happy from CommonLit’s customer success expert.More details...
As a tech nonprofit, you want to get your product into the hands of more people who need it. Enter: your customers. No, we’re not talking about your end users. We’re talking about the partners who leverage your product in their communities. It’s your job to keep these partners engaged, since customer success drives your success, too. Anjali Yadav, Associate Director of District Success at CommonLit, is here to guide you. In this class, she’ll share:
- How to design a winning customer experience and resulting account management strategy
- How to drive customer retention by leveraging data around product engagement
- Secrets to keeping partners engaged and happy
Build a Team and Culture to Drive SuccessTaught By
Why cultivating your organization’s culture from the start is key to building a successful, supported team.More details...
A founder may make hundreds of decisions a day, but few are more important – or enduring – than finding the right team. Rachel Robinson is VP of People and Culture at Thorn, a nonprofit that builds technology to defend children from online sexual abuse. Rachel believes that a trusting, open culture, along with a focus on resilience and wellness, enables a team to thrive. In this class, regardless of your organization’s size, you’ll learn Rachel’s methods for:
- Focusing on the right hires for long-term growth
- Cultivating a people-first workplace culture (remote and IRL)
- Prevent employee burnout using trust and openness
Maximize Free Help: How to Get It & Manage It WellTaught By
Everything you need to know to effectively tap into the goodwill of others.More details...
A tech nonprofit secret? Getting free help is easy. One of the (many) awesome things about being a social impact startup is that people care about your mission. If given the chance, they’ll jump aboard through crowdsourcing or pro bono engagements. But getting this free help isn’t actually free – you have to manage those helping you. Sometimes it’s worth it, and sometimes it’s not. CareerVillage.org Founder and Executive Director Jared Chung is here to help you make free help worth the work. You’ll leave knowing:
- How to get free help through crowdsourcing and pro bono
- How to manage crowdsourcing and pro bono so they’re worth you & your organization’s time
- And other secrets to volunteer success
Better Your Business Model for Impact & SustainabilityTaught By
Tech nonprofits, you can have your cake (impact) and eat it too (earn revenue).More details...
With a special introduction by Allie Ottoboni, President, eBay Foundation.
It’s possible for your business model to maximize the impact you have in the world, and pay for (at least some of) your work. How, you might ask? In this class, Rohan Pavuluri, CEO and Co-Founder of Upsolve, will give you insights and new tools on how to think about – or redefine – your strategy. And bonus: you’ll get a look into how Rohan and Upsolve practice Nonprofit Judo, or leverage the hidden advantages of being a nonprofit. Walk away knowing:
- The questions you should be asking in the earliest days to define your business model
- How to figure out what you’re doing well and leverage those strengths to do more of it
- Ways to unlock hidden advantages of being a nonprofit, AKA practice Nonprofit Judo
WHAT YOU'LL GET OUT OF THE FAST FORWARD ACADEMYInsights
Learn from experts on topics specific to the tech nonprofit experience, all for free. You’ll have a front-row seat to conversations that get to the heart of how to level up your social impact work.Action
With tactics and new frameworks in-hand, you’ll walk away feeling unblocked and empowered to leverage new learnings within your organization.Community
You’ll find yourself in the company of peers who believe in - and are building - social impact tech. A supportive community of impact-driven leaders awaits you.
About Fast Forward
The world’s biggest social problems, from healthcare to education to human rights, deserve the best tech. Fast Forward invests in entrepreneurs who are using technology to accelerate social impact.
Fast Forward’s investments span beyond philanthropic funding, through products and programs that bridge the tech and nonprofit sectors to build capacity for tech nonprofits.To date, Fast Forward’s 59 Accelerator alumni have raised $275 Million in follow-on funding, impacting 88M lives.
As the first and only organization focused exclusively on scaling organizations that combine the best tech with sustainable nonprofit business models, Fast Forward’s mission is to accelerate impact.
About Our Partners
The eBay Foundation is committed to unleashing the power of entrepreneurship to build economically vibrant and thriving communities. To this end, they invest in organizations that empower underrepresented entrepreneurs to build a stronger and more inclusive world. The eBay Foundation is proud to support Fast Forward in its pursuit to do the same.
The Fast Forward Academy is also supported by Comcast Business. With a long history of supporting local communities and organizations wherever they do business, Comcast Business shares our belief that an entrepreneurial spirit is necessary to innovating for a better world.
Fast Forward’s work is made possible with the generous support of our premier partners Google.org, BlackRock, HPE Foundation, Twilio.org, and GM.