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Apps for Nonprofits and Libraries

Transforming Communities through Apps

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Thanks to a grant from Microsoft, we've been learning about the kinds of apps nonprofits, charities, and libraries are using to engage their constituents, tell their stories, and get their work done. On this page, we share what we've learned about apps in the nonprofit and library worlds.

In the first round of the App It Up project, we learned that nonprofits and libraries are already using apps and are interested in using them more. However, they face some barriers in app adoption: lack of knowledge, lack of resources, and a sense that there isn't an app out there that meets their particular organizational needs.

Curating and Developing Apps

To address this knowledge gap, we plan to curate and share information on existing apps that nonprofits, charities, and libraries can use, and share case studies of successful app usage and app development. We will also work with other organizations to identify and develop apps nonprofits and libraries want. Our goal is not only to help develop apps, but to help create a sustainable model for nonprofit and library app development, distribution, and adoption.

Supporting Communities

Our NetSquared project promotes and administers contests, challenges, and hackathons that bring together developers who donate their time and skill to create apps that meet nonprofit or library needs.

To support these developer networks, we will:

  • Package community curricula that enable local leaders to better describe social issues that could benefit from technological solutions, and that give hackathon participants a quick guide to the issues they are being asked to address.
  • Participate in and host hackathons to help develop adoptable, sustainable, and transformative technologies for nonprofits, charities, and libraries. Read all about our first Transforming Communities hackathon!
  • Run a challenge to engage the communities in selecting the best of the resulting technology solutions.

What Is Transforming Communities?

Transforming Communities is a Microsoft-funded initiative focused on creating a scalable approach to understanding the needs of nonprofits, charities, and libraries. It is also designed to support the identification (and development) of technologies that can address those needs. We'll also be providing context, support, and guidance to help nonprofits and libraries understand how to adopt and maximize the use of these technologies.

Transforming Communities builds on what TechSoup and Microsoft have learned through the App It Up project. Now that we know the apps that nonprofits and libraries are using, and the apps they wish they had, we're working to make that wish list a reality. Be sure to check out all our App It Up blog posts for our app survey results, cool app roundups, and other app-related goodies.

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