What is Software for Social Good?
Benetech believes that the majority of social enterprises to successfully drive impact at scale during the next decade will have software and data at the core of their service delivery.
Software for Social Good is software built for or applied to the social sector to maximize positive social impact.
The organizations that make up the Software for Social Good ecosystem share a few traits:
- Intent. The primary intent of the organization must be social good. Nonprofits, for-profits, B Corps—all can be part of the ecosystem as long as social good is their top priority.
- Software, of course! Software allows organizations to scale operations quickly and efficiently.
- Data. Data and software go hand in hand. Software inherently produces data, and organizations must use that data to make decisions and to measure impact.
What are examples of Software for Social Good organizations?
The Software for Social Good ecosystem is as diverse as the people it serves: from inclusive STEM education software that serves all students equally to an online platform for lending money to promising entrepreneurs in poor countries.
The following categories provide a framework for thinking about the ecosystem:
- Software Delivery: These organizations develop Software for Social Good that others, both individuals and organizations, benefit from or use to drive social impact. Examples include Benetech and Medic Mobile.
- Software Enabled Services: Software is core to their service offering. Without software, these organizations wouldn’t be able to scale their social impact. These organizations develop and use their software internally, but don’t make software for others. Examples include Crisis Text Line and Kiva.
- Software Givers: These organizations provide nonprofits with mainstream software and services either at a significantly reduced cost or free of charge. In turn, the nonprofits use the software and services to achieve and scale their social-good missions. Examples include Google.org, Salesforce.org, and TechSoup.
If an organization fits one or more of these software categories, uses data to inform decisions and measure impact and has social good as its primary intent, then it is a Software for Social Good organization.