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How tech powers philanthropy

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For thousands of years, humans have been creating inventions and new technologies to make life easier and to use our skill sets more effectively.

Since the technology boom in the 1990s, the rate at which we use advanced technologies has accelerated rapidly.

However, in many industries, including the nonprofit sphere, technology is not being used as efficiently as possible, causing serious lags in the rate at which we can create a better society.

In this blog, we will explore ways in which tech is already connecting the dots in the realm of philanthropy.

We will look at how tech makes it easier than ever for people to support causes they care about and where there’s still significant room for improvement.

Tech Philanthropy Tools

1. CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are making serious waves at the intersection of tech and philanthropy.

CRMs are not unique to philanthropy: all sorts of companies and organisations use them to manage relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers.

When people talk about CRMs, they are usually referring to a CRM system, a tool that helps with contact management, sales management, agent productivity, and more.

When put to use, CRMs can improve and grow a business by helping companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.

One CRM in particular stands out in the non-profit sphere.

Virtuous is an effective and efficient CRM tool designed specifically for non-profits; it helps teams build better donor relationships and increase impact by identifying and engaging donors.

They put it well:

Virtuous is your growth partner for the new normal ⏤ unifying your fundraising, marketing, and donor development activities, ridding teams of redundant back-office tasks, and surfacing the insights and signals needed to deliver dynamic donor experiences at scale.”

Virtuous founder Gabe Cooper pushed his impact even further with his book Responsive Fundraising, which outlines a three-pronged approach for non-profits to leverage modern-day technology to push their impact to new heights.

2. Grant Management Systems (GMS)

Grant Management Systems (GMS) are software applications designed to assist nonprofits with each facet of the grant fundraising process, from grant discovery and application through regulatory compliance and financial tracking.

GMS are designed to help non-profits find and access grant opportunities so individuals don’t have to spend hours searching themselves.

They are supposed to reduce time spent on applications, streamline a review process, keep track of deadlines, improve team communication, provide data, and increase the overall likelihood of success through efficient yet effective simplicity.

The problem? Most GMS are outdated and do not do what they are supposed to do.

GMS have the potential to expand any given non-profit’s impacts to exponential heights, but at this rate, it’s often hundreds of thousands of dollars for little to no return on investment.


The reason for these gaps in nearly all GMSs is that the tech is not focused on delivering what the industry needs to create progress.

GMSs will solve 1 or 2 key problems at the expense of others or they will not have the endpoint as the focus.

In general, they create far more competition than should ever exist in the nonprofit sector while also concluding and masking a process that should be transparent.

3. Atala

Since our launch in 2019, 1907 Foundation has been sponsoring mental health scientists with our 1907 Trailblazer Award, but that’s not the only way we’re making an impact.

Our team values innovation in technology and thinking critically about how we can improve our world with it, which is why we are building Atala: a GMS toolkit designed to streamline the applicant and review process.

  1. It creates collaboration opportunities between funders to ensure that the point of nonprofit work (aka getting the money into the hands of those who need it and can create progress) is realised more ethically and more equitably.

  2. It improves the application process so that applicants have a focused and ethical set of application questions within one portal while gaining access to a multitude of funders.

  3. And it improves the effectiveness and equity of reviewers, giving them the ability to make data-informed, unbiased grant allocation decisions. Said differently, they are able to make funding decisions based on the best science.

Many scientists spend up to 40 percent of their time applying for grants, and we want to decrease that number significantly so scientists can focus on making change happen through their work.

We plan to scale Atala across the neuroscience and mental health universe to start, but ultimately we want to make this software available to all grant funders.

We believe that collaborating with foundations and funders to make grant decisions effective, efficient, ethical, and equitable is the key to finding causes and cures for mental illnesses.

There is no room and certainly no time for competition in this world and we are on a mission to bring all our funding partners together to take giant leaps forward.

“When Atala is complete, third-party funders – not just 1907 Foundation – will have access to the toolkit.

“We can systematically change the entire field of scientific grant funding by re-engineering the grant marketplace.”, says Adam Pieczonka, founder and Chair of 1907 Foundation

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  1. Pingback: Why tech innovation is needed for nonprofits | Health Tech World

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