Classes

Welcome to the Fast Forward Academy, a series of free classes taught by tech nonprofit leaders who know their stuff - and who want to share it with you. Whether you attend every class or just one, get ready to level up. Seats are limited. See you at the Academy.

  • Wednesday // March 3, Noon - 1:30pm PT

    Better Your Business Model for Impact & Sustainability

    Taught By
    Rohan Pavuluri Co-Founder & CEO, Upsolve

    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

    ABOUT THE TEACHER

    Rohan PavuluriRohan Pavuluri is the CEO and Co-Founder of Upsolve. The largest bankruptcy nonprofit in America, Upsolve helps Americans file for bankruptcy and relieve their debt for free. Rohan has led Upsolve in relieving $300 million in total debt, earning Upsolve recognition as a TIME Top 100 Invention of 2020. Rohan is a member of the Legal Services Corporation’s Emerging Leaders Council, a Board Director at the National Access to Justice Center housed at Fordham Law School, and a committee member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Making Justice Accessible project. He has been recognized as a TED Fellow and was selected to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for law and policy.

  • Wednesday // March 10, Noon - 1:30pm PT

    Decide Who You Help and Why (or, Distribution Ethics)

    Taught By
    Josh Nesbit Co-Founder, Medic Mobile

    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

    ABOUT THE TEACHER

    Josh NesbitJosh Nesbit is the co-founder of Medic Mobile, a nonprofit organization founded to improve health in the hardest-to-reach communities. Josh is a graduate of Fast Forward's Accelerator program, an Ashoka Fellow, PopTech Social Innovation Fellow, Echoing Green Fellow, and Rainer Arnhold Fellow, and he served on the Board of Directors for IntraHealth International for four years. Josh was selected by Devex as one of 40 Under 40 Leaders in International Development, received the Truman Award for Innovation from the Society for International Development, and was named by Forbes as one of the world’s 30 top social entrepreneurs. In 2016, he received a Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award.

  • Wednesday // March 17, Noon - 1:30pm PT

    Demystify Marketing So You Can Help More People

    Taught By
    Jahvita Rastafari Senior Director of Marketing, Code for America

    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

    ABOUT THE TEACHER

    Jahvita RastafariJahvita Rastafari is the Senior Director of Marketing at Code for America, the tech nonprofit making government work for the people, by the people, in the digital age. Jahvita amplifies Code for America’s programs and impact, and has helped connect millions of underserved Americans with Code for America’s services. She has nine years of experience in digital marketing, social media strategy, advertising, brand management, and community management. Before joining the Code for American team, Jahvita led marketing teams in both the nonprofit and private sectors.

  • Wednesday // March 24, Noon - 1:30pm PT

    Build the Product Your User Needs

    Taught By
    Geordie Graham Chief Product Officer, Ample Labs
    Mardi Daley Founder, Lived Experience Lab; Volunteer User Researcher, Ample Labs

    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

    ABOUT THE TEACHER

    Geordie GrahamGeordie Graham is the Chief Product Officer at Ample Labs, the chatbot helping people facing homelessness find resources. With over seven years of experience in the field, Geordie has an in-depth knowledge of inclusive design methodology and multimethod user research practices. At Ample Labs, he generates research that advises the organization’s UX strategy and product development. Geordie also supports the learning and growth of the User Research team at Ample Labs through workshops and applied mentorship. Previously, Geordie held user research roles at ecobee, TWG, and Xello.

    Mardi Daley Mardi Daley Is the Founder of Lived Experience Lab and a Volunteer User Researcher at Ample Labs. Her work includes contributions to the by-youth, for-youth "MY" Guide, Best Practices for Hiring Young Adult Peers. Mardi has worked as a consultant with Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness and A Way Home Toronto to bring her perspectives as a person with lived experience to research projects that work with at-risk youth.

  • Wednesday // March 31, Noon - 1:30pm PT

    Raise More Money by Leveraging an Equity Lens, Storytelling, & Data

    Taught By
    Kristina (Steen) Joye Lyles Head of Equity & Impact, Senior Partnerships Director, DonorsChoose

    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

    ABOUT THE TEACHER

    Kristina (Steen) Joye LylesSteen leads DonorsChoose's efforts to incorporate a race equity-forward lens in supporting students and teachers across the country. Steen led the creation of #ISeeMe, a DonorsChoose initiative ensuring that students see themselves reflected in their teachers and in their learning environments. As Senior Partnerships Director, she develops and manages partnerships with companies, foundations, and individual philanthropists. In case of the latter, Steen focuses on intentionally growing relationships with philanthropists of color to make an impact in public school classrooms. Prior to joining the DonorsChoose team, Steen practiced corporate law, focusing on merger and acquisition transactions for private equity clients. Before that she taught Street Law to high school students in the D.C. public school system. Steen graduated from Spelman College and Georgetown Law and loves all things related to cheerleading, dance, Atlanta, and coffee. Steen is a proud mama of two little humans and a pup.

  • Wednesday // April 7, Noon - 1:30pm PT

    Craft Win-Win Strategies for Customer Success

    Taught By
    Anjali Yadav Associate Director of District Success, CommonLit

    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

    ABOUT THE TEACHER

    Anjali YadavAnjali Yadav is the Associate Director of District Success at CommonLit, a free platform equipping educators with high-quality, standards-aligned literacy tools. Anjali is an expert at managing customer relationships and has helped CommonLit develop an incredible customer success strategy. Currently, Anjali's team manages 170 school districts that use CommonLit's paid, add-on tools and supports. CommonLit, a Fast Forward '16 alum, is now used in 75,000 schools across the country and has reached over 20 million teachers and students. Anjali graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in communications studies and a minor in business.

  • Wednesday // April 14, Noon - 1:30pm PT

    Build a Team and Culture to Drive Success

    Taught By
    Rachel Robinson Vice President of People and Culture, Thorn

    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

    ABOUT THE TEACHER

    Rachel RobinsonRachel Robinson is Vice President of People and Culture at Thorn, the nonprofit building technology to defend children from online sexual abuse. In this role, Rachel fosters a people-first culture across the fully remote team, anchored in a foundation of wellness, inclusion, and resilience. Thorn, a TED Audacious winner and Skoll Foundation Grantee, has been named a ‘best workplace for innovators’ by Fast Company. A CPOHQ Founding Member, Rachel previously worked in London (and on planes) as Vice President at Deutsche Bank scaling their global team, as HRBP at Citigroup, and as a consultant to start-ups in Silicon Valley.

  • Wednesday // April 21, Noon - 1:30pm PT

    Maximize Free Help: How to Get It & Manage It Well

    Taught By
    Jared Chung Founder & Executive Director, CareerVillage.org

    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

    ABOUT THE TEACHER

    Jared ChungJared Chung is the Founder and Executive Director of CareerVillage.org, the tech nonprofit democratizing access to career information and advice for underrepresented youth. Well-versed in everything from building strong partnerships to managing a successful tech stack, Jared has grown CareerVillage.org from providing 600 students with career advice to serving over 4 million students in 190 countries. In addition to being a Fast Forward Accelerator alum, Jared is an alum of AT&T Aspire Accelerator and Visible Connect. Before founding CareerVillage, Jared was a consultant at McKinsey & Co. and a Director at TEDxCambridge.

Sign Up

WHAT YOU'LL GET OUT OF THE FAST FORWARD ACADEMY

Insights

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.