The Intersection of Startups, Nonprofits and Big Tech
Fast Forward supports social entrepreneurs leveraging the most innovative technology to improve lives. From an app that provides on-demand STEM tutoring, to wireless sensors that protect vaccines from spoiling, these leaders are building transformative solutions. Fast Forward helps unlock their potential.
Fast Forward’s flagship program is an Accelerator for early-stage tech nonprofits, which provides a $25k grant, training from leaders in the tech and social impact sectors, and mentorship from experts at top tech companies. They also support social entrepreneurs across the globe through The Tech Nonprofit Playbook, a comprehensive guide to starting and scaling a tech nonprofit; The Fast Forward Academy, an accompanying series of workshops taught by tech nonprofit experts; The Tech Nonprofit Job Board, the biggest hub of job and volunteer opportunities in social impact tech; and more.
Fast Forward engages their community online through virtual events, email marketing, digital content, and social media. In response to the pandemic, they transitioned to virtual events that bring together tech nonprofits - and those who believe in their potential - from around the globe. During their virtual Demo Days in 2020 and 2021, thousands of people across the world tuned in to meet the entrepreneurs of each year’s Accelerator and their solutions. This year, they also ran The Fast Forward Academy, a series of free workshops that shared key advice to help social entrepreneurs scale their work.
Accelerating The Accelerator
To ensure they are best positioned to support tech nonprofits at scale, Fast Forward uses HubSpot as their “source of truth.” “We love how intuitive the platform is and how it fits the needs of our small team,” says Anna Pickren, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships. “We were drawn to the level of integration across the CRM and marketing - we had previously been executing on each of these on separate platforms. After HubSpot demos, it was clear that the user experience was incredibly intuitive.”
With their CRM, marketing, and fundraising/business development hosted on the same integrated platform, Fast Forward has been able to increase the efficiency of their team’s processes - giving them more time for strategic, high-impact work.
“We use the HubSpot CRM on a daily basis. HubSpot allows us to understand, organize, and uncover powerful insights about our over 20,000 contacts. We have a number of custom properties that serve our unique needs, such as a ‘Persona’ property that characterizes which of the multiple communities we work with a contact is a member of. We create lists built on data about everything from email marketing engagement, to website activity, to deal stage. Our entire team has the HubSpot email plugin installed, ensuring our CRM is in sync with our communications.”
Marketing Hub powers nearly all of Fast Forwards email marketing initiatives. “Between our newsletter drip campaign, monthly newsletter, weekly newsletter, and additional program-specific emails, HubSpot’s segmentation and personalization features allow us to clearly define our audience and tailor our messaging accordingly,” says Anna. To track the success of their marketing efforts, Fast Forward uses Dashboards and Reports to visualize important metrics.
Sales Hub powers Fast Forward’s critical work of recruiting, maintaining, and engaging its corporate partners. Their partnerships team uses Sales Hub to track all information about their current and potential partnerships. Through the Sales pipeline and customized deal stages, they get an instant snapshot of the status of each of their partnerships. The result: Sales Hub has helped Fast Forward better gauge interest in their programs from partners.
HubSpot lists have streamlined partner outreach. For example, during Fast Forward’s 2021 Demo Day, they leveraged the Lists Feature to do phased email outreach, track engagement, and focus on contacts more likely to attend their event. Through this process, they were able to reach their goal of having 1500 “Foundation” and “Corporate Social Responsibility” personas registered for Demo Day.
The Role of Technology For Good
Fast Forward teams up with tech companies to support social entrepreneurs and unlock bigger impact at scale. As the bridge between tech nonprofits and corporations hoping to make an impact, Fast Forward believes tech companies have a significant and unique role to play in advancing tech for good. HubSpot couldn’t agree more. We can’t wait to see the change they make in the years to come.