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Optimizing social impact with the Narada Foundation

Thoughtworks’ contribution to China’s Effective Philanthropy Multiplier (EPM) is helping many organizations achieve transformative social impact through tech. EPM is a joint initiative by the Narada Foundation and 16 organizations in China. EPM’s mission is to help scale up the impact of proven solutions to social problems—and ultimately improve the lives of millions—in a more effective and efficient way. 


Committing 2,000 consultant hours to EPM at the start, Thoughtworks has since  given some 10,000 hours of pro bono time. And it’s a contribution that Yanni Peng, CEO of Narada Foundation, has warmly welcomed, saying:



Thoughtworks has provided great value to both the Narada Foundation and about 50 leading NGOs supported by the EPM program through its professional knowledge and skills. We’ve been impressed by its staff's strong commitment to social impact, high professionalism in IT consulting, and great dedication to each of the projects they were involved in.

Amplifying impact in 2023


Last year, Thoughtworks supported six digital social innovation projects in collaboration with the Narada Foundation, individually tailoring support for each to amplify its impact.


Forging these partnerships involved a two-stage process. Initially, the Narada Foundation conducted a preliminary screening to identify organizations that not only aligned with our core values but also presented a clear, focused problem—and demonstrated a willingness for open collaboration. 


Following this initial vetting, Thoughtworks' DEISSC team then stepped in to facilitate a 'chemistry meeting'. This allowed us to assess the organization's needs and gather essential contextual information. It’s an approach that meant we could accurately allocate our resources and expertise, and guarantee a custom-fit solution for each project.


Projects we supported


We helped a social responsibility award panel to explore how to optimize its end-to-end operational process, from applications and judging reviews, to organizing road shows etc.—using low-code platforms. The panel took up our suggestions during the 2023 award cycle and reported increased efficiency and better user experience. 


We also supported a rural education organization in refining core metrics for project data, which it had failed to consider when developing its original website. Both operational and technical solutions were suggested for data collection and storage. Currently, the organization is actively seeking funding to implement these solutions.


Using design thinking methodologies, we assisted an LGBT service agency to refine its flagship program, the ‘LGBT Parent Workshop’. The agency encountered difficulties in establishing trust with potential participants. Our team of Customer Experience (CX) volunteers developed more than 12 process solution proposals that were then showcased to a large group of LGBT families to begin a collaborative redesign.


Our support for a provincial volunteer center involved analyzing and optimizing its financial management processes. This marked an important step to ensure funding compliance and empower its grassroot partners to manage projects with greater transparency. Right now, the organization is at the stage of finding the initial round of funding to develop a customized finance system. 


Work with a top-tier foundation saw us iterate its data management strategy for a nutrition equity project, and enable the organization to more promptly collect data digitally across the 12 provincial areas covered. Our team studied the tools already available to this organization and built a no-code data management interface which, for the first time, allowed data verification by project partners accredited by the foundation. This enabled a more transparent and robust data management process.


Finally, our teams developed a preliminary digital strategy for an ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) community organization to address its needs to drive digital transformation, service, and operational innovation. Specifically, the project met its goals to enhance frontline staff efficiency, leverage data accumulation to uncover its value, and showcase service effectiveness to parents and funding parties. Ultimately, it provided digital tool support for local institutions nationwide.


Our work with Narada and the EPM has extended well beyond Thoughtworks’ initial commitment. We’re excited to be a part of the program’s continued evolution and success in solving social problems to help make lives better.


Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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