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Charities try new ways to test ideas quickly and polish them later

Courtesy of Rachel Strader
By Ben Gose Chronicle of Philanthropy March 23, 2014
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A year ago, a division of TechSoup Global began working on an app to allow donors to buy a hotel room for victims of domestic violence when no other shelter is available. Now that app is a finalist in a competition run by a foundation that combats human trafficking—and a win could mean a grant worth several hundred thousand dollars. The app’s evolution—adding a focus on sex slaves to the initial emphasis on domestic violence—was hardly accidental.

Caravan Studios, the TechSoup division that created the app, has embraced a new management approach popular in Silicon Valley known as “lean start-up.”

The principles, which are increasingly popular among nonprofits, emphasize experimentation over long-term planning and urge groups to get products and services out to clients as early as possible so the organizations can learn from feedback and make changes.

Read the full article here.