TechSoup is a comprehensive information source and conduit that enables nonprofits to make appropriate, cost-effective technology decisions that increase their ability to serve their missions.
Nonprofit workers, most of them "accidental techies," don't have time to search for nonprofit-relevant technology information, which is scattered all over the Web. To simplify that search, CompuMentor, a nonprofit technology provider based in the Bay Area, drew on its many years of experience in giving technology advice and guidance to create a nonprofit tech portal: TechSoup.
The goal of the TechSoup project is to provide a single point of entry through which individual nonprofits can access the technical information now present on the Web. TechSoup catalogs, editorializes, and presents in a straightforward manner the enormous volume and range of this information which otherwise would overwhelm and mystify nonprofit managers and staff.
Tech soup provides resource lists of nonprofit discounts offered by hardware and software companies; an online community hosted by experts and lay people from the high-tech and nonprofit sectors; how-to technology articles and downloads; technology product reviews (courtesy of CNET, one of TechSoup's content partners); By the Cup, a twice-monthly e-newsletter that announces new content and special events on the site as well as other information and events from the nonprofit tech world; and My TechSoup, a free feature that allows individuals to personalize their visit to the TechSoup site, allowing them to save their favorite articles and receive e-mail when a section of the site has been updated.
Pro-Bono Ad Banner Campaign. In order to increase its reach to nonprofits, TechSoup recently launched an ad banner campaign made possible completely by donations. Premier Web sites such as Advertising.com, America Online, Bluelight.com, DoubleClick, and Listen.com donated ad space and designers GoodFoodPro.com and webslingerZ.com created six banner ads for free. TechSoup's pro-bono ad campaign is the first of its kind on the Web and has been phenomenally successful: TechSoup's visitor sessions have tripled to over 402,000 in the past few months and page views to date are over 1.7 million.
Nomination for 2001 MIT award. Out of more than 600 nominations, TechSoup.org was selected as one of five finalists for the MIT/Sloan Social Responsibility Award.
TechSoup's is friendly and approachable. Most nonprofit workers are not professional information technicians and thus need a highly accessible interface and language to translate technology information into a form they can understand and use.
In the coming year, CompuMentor aims to increase TechSoup's sustainability through partnerships with national foundations interested in building the nonprofit infrastructure, and also to seek corporate sponsorships of various TechSoup sections. The organization also will seek to provide more discounted goods and services on the site via partnerships with nonprofits and businesses providing relevant nonprofit technology. Local editions of TechSoup are also in the works beginning with TechSoup LA and TechSoup New York.