How to create a sustainable deployment program?
Are there both non-profit and for-profit examples of successful programs? (I have not yet read all the details of the 10 NetHope Grant partners to determine their status.)
Can some stages non-profit and others be profit?
- Acquisition/sale of equipment.
- Installation & initial training on system use and teaching practices.
- Ongoing tech support & teaching support.
- Running the actual lab/site/classroom.
- Creation of additional custom content.
The situation in each area will be different, but what is typical? Are people typically:
(1) raising donations to pay for the equipment, selling the equipment or financing it?
(2) giving some or all tech support & teacher training for free? Or charging for some or all services?
(3) able to charge enough for a sustainable non-profit or a for-profit organisation?
REF: I had assumed BRCK was non-profit but it is now a for-profit company. It started as a volunteer effort, then the May 2013 Kickstarter was by non-profit Ushahidi, but at some point spun off BRCK as a profit company that raised 1.2 million in 2014 from Invested Development, and another 3 million in 2015 (increasing from 9 employees to 40). Their blog is full of deployment stories but no mention of who pays the bills other than an occasional mention of partners. They also have a non-profit arm brck.org but appears little-used.
My goal is to get offline servers into Indonesian schools because they many lack access to good educational resources. I assume that there are some schools that can barely pay anything and others that can pay. I initially assumed that it would be a non-profit effort but in Indonesia there is a focus on creating for-profit social enterprises so that the effort & social benefit is sustainable. (My main interest supporting those schools who can’t pay, to help them, but that’s entirely at the whim of donors.)
Is something like the following reasonable (i.e. create two related companies)?
- Volunteer & non-profit effort to collect the shareable Indonesian-language content & pair that with an offline server (presumably RACHEL) & support-forum tech support.
- Raises funds to pay for projects
- Resale of any RACHEL hardware (assuming World Possible allows, because having every customer place an international order is cumbersome due to aggravatingly slow & expensive customs here.)
- On-site deployment & training
- Priority tech support
- Other hardware packages/kits. Ex (1) Portable kit with offline server, projector, document camera, microscope & one laptop. (2) Class set of tablets, like KioKit (3) Class set of laptops. [Can Rachel Plus be included in a kit, as long as the price is not marked-up?] (4) Other educational maker kits using Arduino or robotics.
- Custom content & software.
- Other commercial offline servers, ex. that are setup for centralized internet management of many offline servers.
Note: I don’t intend to run classrooms myself, just support those who do.
What are your thoughts?
What are people doing?