How partnerships can improve nonprofit fundraising efforts

A Boston-based nonprofit has partnered with a tech startup to batter the gender gap in STEM fields.
Date Published
02/07/2014

While many nonprofits sustain fundraising efforts by appealing to a person’s sense of altruism and giving to meet a greater good, the fundamental mission of many groups is to enact real change. Not only can philanthropic groups assume a leadership position in many communities but they also can foster greater awareness of their activities by positively influencing people’s lives. At the same time, collaborating with other organizations can augment the resources nonprofits have and improve outcomes. In fact, ITBusinessEdge highlighted a partnership between San Francisco-based software startup Entelo and CodeEd, a nonprofit organization in Boston that trains disadvantaged middle school-aged girls in computer science and programming. The two organizations have identified the gender gap between men and women in science, technology, engineering and math – the STEM fields – as a mutually troubling phenomenon that they’re trying to tackle together.

Challenging a cultural stigma
A recent article in The Atlantic magazine emphasized the fact that the disparity between men and women in STEM careers is a global situation. Although, certain regions, such as South America and Central Asia, have fostered greater equality. Still, there are many challenges confronting women in the U.S. Citing an article in The New York Times, the magazine indicated women are given only 20 percent of physics Ph.D.s throughout the nation and only half of those recipients are from America. At the same time, 14 percent of all physics professors in the U.S. are women. The problem facing many young women and girls as they pursue their academic and personal interests is the cultural assumption that those who excel in STEM fields will struggle to develop relationships and friendships. As a result, many women are dissuaded from pursuing degrees in computer science and other highly technical fields.

Partnering for a common purpose
Meanwhile, Entelo has worked to develop software that integrates with social media to give companies an advantage as they search for tech talent. According to ITBusinessEdge, the company’s CEO Jon Bischke has agreed to support one year of technology training for a girl enrolled in CodeEd’s program every time Entelo’s client hires someone using their software platform. Bischke explained many of his company’s clients continually voice their concern over the fact that there aren’t enough qualified applicants to fill the roles they need, and Entelo has made improving this situation a priority. CodeEd’s executive director, Angie Schiavoni, indicated all of Entelo’s donations will go towards the various programs of study and instruction that the nonprofit offers. 

“Given the demographic we serve, our programs change these girls’ perception about what coding is, about what it means to be an engineer, and how they can use this experience to explore a whole new career they may have never considered before,” Schiavoni stated.

Through these efforts, nonprofits can develop strong relationships with other organizations that share similar concerns and have a common goal. By reaching out to partners in the private sector, charitable groups can diversify their donor base and potentially foster continued giving programs. At the same time, it’s important for organizations to demonstrate to the communities they’re working to support that they are making significant progress toward their objectives.

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