Grantmakers are increasingly recognizing that social change requires an investment in technology. Yet, as the pandemic has taught us, it will take more than tools alone – the collective strength of civil society depends on building the digital capacity of both funders and their nonprofit partners.
Launched on August 12, 2020, the Roadmap for Funders: Investing in Digital Infrastructure authored by NetHope, the Technology Association of Grantmakers, NTEN, and TechSoup, is designed to provide concrete ways you can invest in three core elements of digital infrastructure:
Building back better for civil society means an investment in this digital infrastructure, so if you're just getting started or seeking to revisit your existing approach, this guide will help. Inherently, transformation is a dynamic process and one you’ll continue to evolve. Today, as philanthropy pauses to consider its role in a changing world, is an ideal time to invest.
Supporting awareness of the need for digital infrastructure in civil society, the Roadmap for Funders includes a framework for understanding digital infrastructure. The framework includes six key elements of digital infrastructure that reflect a minimal viable combination of efforts.
Each element defines a component of infrastructure that must be addressed through coalitional efforts such as data and technology platforms that are funded through public/private/social sector partnership or skills-building initiatives that advance data literacy and technical fluency. Such efforts may be open-sourced or private/social/community partnerships. Each element is necessary to creating robust, scalable, sustainable, and equitable infrastructure for the mission of civil society.
In conjunction with the launch of Roadmap for Funders: Investing in Digital Infrastructure, the Technology Association of Grantmakers (TAG) announces the launch of the Taskforce on Digital Infrastructure. For six months beginning in September 2020, the Taskforce will facilitate an identification of shared priorities for digital infrastructure (e.g., common grant application, back-office tech toolkits, data collaboratives, tech service corps, etc.) as well as potential cross-sector partners for moving each initiative forward in 2021 and beyond.
Related articles: NetHope Global Aid Technology Response and Recovery Fund