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Together with, GreenLight recently gathered together a group of nonprofit and tech leaders to discuss how tech is fitting into the social sector. Take a look at the discussion on twitter using #TechforGood. The following is a reflection on what was discussed and learned at that panel in San Francisco.

Author: Margaret Hall – National Executive Director & Co-founder, GreenLight Fund

Technology is a field that has captured our imaginations across sectors and spheres. It has changed the way we think and go about our daily lives – and should be something we think about in our work to change lives in our communities.

Tech is a hugely potential-filled tool that opens up new possibilities for growth and efficiency. I can see three major areas where much of that potential lies:

So with a root understanding that social change is extremely complex, difficult, and nuanced – we understand that technology is proving to be a platform for achieving change when it is married with the human capacity side of our work. So, what can we do to mitigate risk as we are thinking about how technology can improve this work? Here are a couple of ideas:

Ask ourselves the hard questions. So what? We are using technology, and it is driving scale, getting efficiencies, etc., but are we truly able to see a measurable impact on lives because of the tech? The social sector is fairly new to technology, and we must continue to ask these hard questions to ensure impact is not being sacrificed.

What we have learned from leaders in both the tech and nonprofit sectors is that technology is really allowing us to address social impact in new and smart ways. We do not have all the answers yet, and technology may not solve all our problems, but it can be an effective tool to helping us get there.

Tech for Good Panelists:

Alex Bernadotte – CEO/Founder, Beyond 12
Tom Costin– Partner, Owl Ventures
Lara Fox – Executive Director, uAspire Bay Area*
Alejandro Gac-Artigas – CEO/Founder, Springboard Collaborative*
Vineet Singal – CEO/Founder, CareMessage*

*GreenLight Fund portfolio organizations