The Accelerator for Tech Nonprofits

Need to raise money? We’ll teach you how. Want to learn about building a board? Hiring technical talent? We can help you with that too. The Accelerator bridges the tech and nonprofit worlds, providing you the training to push through the challenges only a tech nonprofit entrepreneur knows. You’ll receive funding, mentorship, and connections to people who can help you scale.

Applications for our 2023 Accelerator are now open until September 30, 2022. To learn more about the Accelerator, check out our FAQ.

 

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Our Alumni Impact

  • 105M

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  • $357M+

    in follow-on-funding

  • 88%

    have a founder with personal
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Almost Fun

Lisa Wang quit her job when, as a tutor, she realized her students needed learning materials that worked for them. She founded Almost Fun to unlock student's potential through interactive, digital math content. Three years after going through the Accelerator, Almost Fun has served 1.5M students on its platform with no slowing down in sight.

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What’s the Accelerator?

The Accelerator is Fast Forward’s flagship program for tech nonprofits. 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.


Who’s the Accelerator for?

The Accelerator is built exclusively for early-stage tech nonprofits. These are organizations that look like typical tech startups—they build tech products—and have selected a nonprofit structure because they are building for impact instead of profit.


What makes the Fast Forward Accelerator special?

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, hiring, 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 always 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.

What are your selection criteria for the Accelerator?

Fast Forward’s program is designed to address the unique needs of tech nonprofits:

  • LEADERSHIP. Tech nonprofits face everything that is hard for a tech startup and everything that’s hard for a nonprofit. To pull it off, the leaders must have steadfast vision and incredible gumption.
  • LIVED IN EXPIERENCE WITH THE PROBLEM. People solve problems in front of them. We want to empower people to solve the problems they see and experience.
  • 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?
  • SCALIBILITY. Software scales incredibly well. We support organizations with a vision for change that is matched only by the potential for scale.
  • ALIGNEMENT. Fast Forward is a small organization. As such, we choose organizations who we are best poised to help scale.

When is the Accelerator?

The Accelerator application will be open from August 2022-October 2022. The program will run from mid-February 2023 to mid-June 2023. Demo Days will happen in early June.


Where is the Accelerator?

The Accelerator is a hybrid program, with both virtual and in-person elements. We will have an in-person kickoff in late February (location TBD). Demo Days will be in-person in early June, in San Francisco and New York City. All other programming weeks are virtual.


I have some more questions about the Accelerator and my application. Where can I find answers?

Check out our robust FAQ all about the Accelerator, including insights and answers about the application.

"Without Fast Forward, we wouldn’t be where we are today. They go way above and beyond the norm. We’re routinely shocked to learn about opportunities they’ve unlocked for us. And they’re pushing the whole tech nonprofit field forward. They’re completely unrivaled."

Jared Chung, Founder of CareerVillage.org