Exploring Tech Opportunities in the Social Impact Sector: Combining Passion and Purpose

Hey, I’m Athira, a graduate engineer from Kerala :grinning:

While I’m quite passionate about creating user-centric web applications, I also have this strong desire to make a positive impact and solve real-world problems that really matter. So, I’m wondering, what are some important things I should consider as I pursue tech opportunities in the impact sector? And do you have any suggestions for where I can find meaningful jobs in the social sector?

I’d love to hear your insights :heavy_heart_exclamation:

Hi Athira,

Welcome to the community! And thanks for sharing warmly and freely.

There is a scarcity of tech folks in the impact sector and its wonderful to hear from people like you who want to contribute. I think there are a few misconceptions that i hear from folks a lot - so let me try and write them down.

Myth 1: NGOs/NPOs may not have funds to pay me if i take up a full time job?
Just because social impact orgs are impact and purpose driven does not mean that they dont pay. Think of them as “Not for Loss” organisations. there is a wonderful ecosystem of donors (Trusts, Foundations, Philanthropists, Individual Donors, Corporate Social Responsibility) who have helped build resilient and growing NGOs. There are many for impact orgs where you can expect competetive salaries as per your experience and expertise.

Myth 2: My skills may not be useful in the Impact sector.
Skills are sector agnostic. If you are good at marketing, then you can help NGOs build volunteers, tell stories, fundraise. If you are good at tech, you can help NGOs build websites, chatbots to reach out to remote communities, knowledge management systems, apps to help vulnerable communities, etc. There are some great programs like https://campaign.thebetterindia.com/careerswithpurpose/ , etc which can also help.

Myth 3: NGOs dont need tech right?
We need tech :slight_smile: just like any other org that needs to serve its users, its team members, run efficient operations, etc. You can find a lot of open positions to explore Tech4Good Jobs - Tech4Good

Myth 4: Can tech really solve problems for vulnerable communities?
Though tech cannot solve fundamental inequalities that exist, it can help in bringing people together in many ways. You can see a few here like

Wish you all the best for your search. And do visit the forum and encourage other tech enthusiasts like you to join the social impact space.

Also inviting others in the forum to help Athira with their thoughts


You can check the work we are doing at Project Tech4Dev and if it is of interest, send us your resume at resumes@glific.org.

We are making a positive impact and solving real-world problems :slight_smile:


Hi Athira,
These are some very quick reflections:

  • I like to think of my career as balancing: intellectual curiosity, ‘impact’ and financial sustenance. These might align, but they often don’t. One has to weigh them against each other to figure out a job that works for you at that time. And the evaluation can change over time
    * [Related late addition]: I think work satisfaction criteria in for-profit or non-profit world are similar. So worth thinking of the criteria that work for you: how much importance do you place on your peer group at work? where do you fall on the introversion/extroversion spectrum? are you happier in big organizations or small organizations?
  • Technical training doesn’t help us answer what is impact or good. We may have instincts on what is impact or good but these should be refined. Two channels for that: reading (suggested starting point: introductory syllabus in Science, Technology and Society) or mentorship.
  • Patience and humility to understand systems that seem too slow to change.
  • Concrete places to look for jobs: This group is a good place to start :slight_smile: Also this: Tekalo | Do Good

Hi all, I would like to share that I have officially joined Reap Benefit as an Associate. I am genuinely excited about this new chapter and the opportunity to make a real difference in the social impact space. Moving ahead, I also look forward contributing to open-source tools.

I want to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude to @lobo , @tarunima and Shemeer for your valuable inputs and suggestions :sparkles:

Thank you all for your unwavering support!