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How TechSoup Validation Services Helps Scale Corporate Responsibility Programs

An increasing number of companies are building a social impact component into their business model. But the ability to execute on their vision of making the world a more equitable place can at times prove to be a bigger challenge than expected.

This is especially true if a philanthropy program involves donating or discounting a product or service to civil society organizations. Establishing and maintaining a social impact program can be challenging, especially when it comes to accurately validating the nonprofit or charity status of a potential beneficiary — meaning a non-governmental organization anywhere in the world. Inadvertently giving to a nefarious entity can result in a PR disaster. Determining the bona fides of an organization can be particularly difficult if it's operating in a country outside of where a company is headquartered.

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TechSoup Validation Services directly addresses this challenge. It leverages its existing connections to over a million NGOs in its global network, and it uses its own trusted methods of determining the nonprofit status of nearly any organization in the world. This provides an unprecedented amount of support to companies that wish to scale their philanthropy programs globally. Ultimately, more resources get into the hands of organizations that need them.

Seamless Support for Corporate Philanthropy

TechSoup Validation Services allows companies to build a philanthropy program that exists, from the company's perspective, entirely in-house. Companies can make their product or service available directly through their own websites, including cloud-based subscription services.

Validation Services can verify that an organization

  • Has legal nonprofit or charity status in its home county
  • Accurately presents data associated with its programs
  • Meets the standards for organizations of its type, such as religious organizations or educational institutions

Furthermore, Validation Services can verify the eligibility criteria associated with a company's offer, such as region or programmatic focus. It can also determine whether an agent representing an NGO is in fact associated with the organization. There are numerous cases of fraud that involve misrepresentations of this kind. Once these verifications have been made, a company can make offers available to that NGO in whatever way it prefers.

"NGO validation is a very complex issue around the world, and there is no 'one size fits all,'" says Conor Mulherin, general manager of TechSoup Validation Services. "TechSoup's validation standards can meet most requirements for a particular company, and we maintain those standards as changes — such as evolving legislative policies — happen in different countries around the world."

Different Needs, Innovative Approaches

TechSoup can meet the validation needs of philanthropy programs of all types and sizes. Validation Services has worked with Microsoft to validate NGOs so they can access donations directly through its website. It's also worked with the World Bank to verify nonprofits for its employee giving program. The Amazon Smile Foundation donates a percentage of the price on selected purchases through the platform to an NGO of a user's choice. Our Validation Services handles the verification of selected organizations in Germany and Austria.

And for the past two years, Validation Services has been working with Airbnb to power Social Impact Experiences, in which travelers around the world are offered opportunities to work with and learn about local NGOs.

TechSoup can offer solutions ranging from simple email-based NGO validation to a fully integrated user experience.

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Scaling Worldwide Philanthropy Programs

Conor points out that TechSoup Validation Services benefits both NGOs and private companies a great deal.

"For the NGO sector, we're getting them connected to many different offers. Some of them will be paid, and some are free, but we are bringing much bigger variety to what they can access," he says. "For the companies, we're allowing them to scale in ways they could not possibly do on their own, particularly geographically. It's challenging for companies to bring their philanthropy programs to NGOs abroad."

He continues that many Validation Services clients are companies that operate in one country but wish to take their offer to other places in the world. In these cases, his team also provides consultative services on how to do this with the most impact.

He also adds that Validation Services is a doorway to our partner network around the world. It can give a company a local connection to a country in which the company would like to start a giving program.

The partner network also provides a unique, global marketing channel to TechSoup members. This both educates NGOs on valuable offers from which they can benefit and provides companies with an authentic, effective connection to the NGO sector that would otherwise be unavailable.

"We're enabling companies to be philanthropic, and to do it in a sustainable and standardized way," Conor says. "And we're helping the world by getting NGOs resources and helping them fulfill their own missions by providing IT resources and tools that otherwise might not have been at their disposal."

Additional Resources: More Solutions from TechSoup