When Jane Zhang founded TechSoup Canada in 2009, she didn’t know exactly what it would look like. “What TechSoup Canada is going to evolve into is really dependent on the community in Canada,” Jane said in an interview in 2008.
What she did know was that Canadian nonprofits needed better access to new technologies and software.
Jane discovered the TechSoup global organization when she was working for an organization called Partner Platforms, which helped recruit volunteers to work on tech projects at nonprofits. Through this work, she discovered TechSoup (then called Compumentor), an organization that offered donated software to mostly American charities. Although the platform was available to Canadian charities, it wasn’t easy for them to access it, and after months of referring nonprofits to TechSoup, she realized that they needed more.
She approached TechSoup about expanding to Canada and was told that, if she could find space and funding to operate it, they were on board. After the Ontario Trillium Foundation agreed to fund TechSoup Canada, Jane found a home for them at the Centre for Social Innovation. TechSoup Canada was the first tenant on the fourth floor of CSI Spadina, then located at 215 Spadina Ave.
Ten years later, TechSoup Canada operates out of the new CSI Spadina building, and TechSoup employees are now employees of CSI. TechSoup Canada now serves 42,000 members across Canada, who receive discounted software and learning resources as benefits of their membership.
TechSoup Canada has helped tens of thousands of nonprofit organizations improve their operations and gain access to $422 million worth of technology. Here are just a few of the nonprofits that have benefitted from TechSoup Canada’s 10 years of impact:
Canadian Mental Health Association, Alberta South Region
Who they are: CMHA Alberta South Region promotes mental health and provides recovery-focused programs for individuals of all ages, as well as families.
Before TechSoup: Computers were old and the software was either extremely outdated or didn’t exist.
How TechSoup helped: The IT specialist at CMHA Alberta South Region was able to update the office computers with current versions of Microsoft Windows and Office, as well as adding new programs. Upgraded software also enabled the organization to address security concerns through data and hard drive encryption.
Impact: “Because of software donations, we’ve been able to save money and buy better computers for each of our sites. Clients no longer have to bring in their own laptops or go to the library, they can stay at our sites and use our computers to work on their resumes and complete medical forms, for example.” – Deb Chenery, Executive Director.
Comox Valley Head Injury Society (CVHIS)
Who they are: CVHIS provides support and services to brain injury survivors, their families and caregivers.
Before TechSoup: The non-profit needed new software, up-to-date licenses, and better processes. They also needed to improve their data management systems.
How TechSoup helped: Through TechSoup, CHVIS was able to access Sumac database software at a steep discount. This allowed them to introduce basic contact management processes into their work, and then create step-by-step action plans that could be tracked within the system for each of their clients.
Impact: “Our increased efficiency means we also have time in the schedule to look at what we can do next. We plan to use yet-untapped features of the database to become a much more proactive fundraiser in the community. This software from TechSoup Canada has totally changed how we do things, and it will continue to support us in achieving our future goals.” – Beverly Campbell, Executive Director
Who they are: Toronto Wildlife Centre rescues sick, injured, and orphaned animals and cares for them until they can be returned to the wild.
Before TechSoup: The Centre’s technology was made up of 14 different donated computers with mismatched operating systems and out-of-date software.
How TechSoup helped: Through TechSoup Canada, the Toronto Wildlife Centre was able to upgrade their entire office to the same operating system, and access up-to-date software. This helped to make their recordkeeping more reliable, and enabled staff to prioritize their work so they could respond to urgent requests.
Impact: “Before TechSoup Canada our network was like Frankenstein’s laboratory, and keeping it all running was an exercise of extreme DIY and creativity. A huge thank you to TechSoup Canada for providing such a great service and support system to nonprofits.” – Technology Coordinator, Scott Wight
Could your organization use some help finding better tech solutions? Checkout TechSoup Canada today!