For many of today's largest companies, corporate philanthropy programs are no longer the exception but the rule. Corporate giving — whether it be employee volunteer opportunities or in-kind product donations to nonprofits — benefits all sides. Nonprofits on the receiving end gain access to much-needed products and services that further enable them to achieve their missions. In turn, companies are able to materially deliver on their brand values and better attract a new generation of forward-thinking talent.
But corporate giving isn't easy. Many things must be considered, and near the top of the list is how to determine that NGOs receiving support (along with the people representing them) are, in fact, what they claim to be. Determining an individual NGO's eligibility status is challenging. And validating organizations at scale, domestically or abroad, can all but bring even the most well-meaning corporate philanthropy program to a halt.
These are all issues that Erin Baudo Felter, executive director of Okta for Good, and her team encountered when they wanted to expand their technology donation program.
"When we first started our Okta for Good product donation program, our validation process was very manual — sales reps would collect 501(c)(3) determination letters from nonprofits themselves," said Baudo Felter. "This kept our program restricted to only the U.S. and Canada. But in order to gain the knowledge required to scale our program around the world, we needed a better solution."
This program aims to make Okta's identity management solutions available as a free donation to organizations around the world. And in order to solve the issue of validating the nonprofits themselves, Okta partnered with TechSoup Validation Services.
"As soon as we launched with TechSoup Validation Services, our program was able to become truly global," she said.
Scaling Globally, Reducing Risk
The TechSoup Validation Services team consists of experts in the NGO sector, worldwide. Drawing on TechSoup's existing database of over one million registered nonprofits, it works with 61 international partner organizations to support the process of validating NGOs for programs like Okta for Good. Each partner has deep regional knowledge of the ever-changing landscape of regulations that determine the legal status of NGOs in 236 countries and territories across the globe. This allows companies to better focus resources on the delivery of their corporate giving programs as opposed to the intricate — and critical — administrative task of validating an NGO in a foreign country.
"TechSoup's Validation Services can help companies reduce the operational complexity of confirming an organization's nonprofit status. As we've seen at Okta, when you try to validate nonprofits independently, it's a very time and resource heavy process," Baudo Felter said. "TechSoup's Validation Services allows businesses to bypass this extra work and eliminate the risk of unintentionally partnering with illegitimate organizations."
She continued to say that while the risk of reputational damage associated with partnering with illegitimate organizations is a large concern, there's also the problem of technology meant for good falling into the hands of bad actors.
"But with the Validation Services partnership, any time we deliver a donated piece of technology to a nonprofit, our team knows that the organization is really fulfilling a mission," she said. "Whether they're located in the U.S., Brazil, the U.K., Japan, or somewhere else in the world, this partnership allows our team to be confident the organizations we work with are making a real impact on their communities."
Okta and TechSoup Validation Services: A Powerful Partnership for Digital Transformation
With the Okta for Good program operating at scale, more organizations have the opportunity to more effectively do their important work around the world. And this gets to the heart of what corporate philanthropy in technology is all about.
"In today's world, technology is key to helping nonprofits increase their ability to positively impact the communities they serve." Baudo Felter says. "Because of this, every nonprofit needs a digital transformation strategy in order to deliver on its mission."
Of course, up-to-date technology solutions are just one piece of the puzzle. Training, security, and organizationwide adoption of new ideas are all key factors in digital transformation as well. But it's been shown that when all these elements are in place, organizations start to see positive results.
Take City Year, an education nonprofit that partners with public schools to improve student success and increase high school graduation rates. As a member of the Americorps national service network, more than 3,000 City Year Americorps members served 223,000 students in 329 schools in the 2018 – 2019 school year.
City Year started using Okta to protect student data and to streamline the use of the applications (including Salesforce, Workday, and Microsoft 365) that City Year Americorps members log on to every day. After its deployment, password-reset requests decreased by 95 percent, which translated to more than $120,000 in annual IT savings and an increase in the organization's productivity, security, and impact.
City Year is an established nonprofit working with a U.S. government program. So Okta wasn't concerned with the same risk factors that it would be with an unknown NGO in a foreign country. But consider the countless organizations abroad that could benefit from using Okta in the same way as City Year. Partnering with TechSoup Validation Services allows Okta for Good to globally expand its reach while reducing the risk and resources associated with doing so.
Partnerships like this move the needle on digital transformation in the NGO sector. They streamline the process of getting resources into the hands of NGOs helping their communities. And, as a result, the potential impact of these organizations everywhere will continue to reach new heights.
- Read more about Why TechSoup Is Investing in Validation and Data Services.
- Learn how NGOsource aims to dramatically improve the efficiency of international grantmaking.
- Find out What TechSoup Offers Foundations.