Rita Allen Foundation Supported Report Finds That Civic Tech Struggles with Sustainable Funding Despite Gains
A new report has found that while civic tech is a growth industry, it is one largely filled with organizations struggling to create sustainable business models.
The report, dubbed Scaling Civic Tech: Paths to a Sustainable Future, was released by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with the Rita Allen Foundation Oct. 31. This is the Knight Foundation’s first major report on civic tech since a detailed study in 2013 took a broad look at the investment landscape. The newer work is a closer examination of “why startups in the field are struggling to grow and sustain themselves,” said Jon Sotsky, the Knight Foundation’s director for learning and assessment.
What the report found is that technology has opened new paths for citizens to contribute to democracy, and that interest in doing so surged after the 2016 presidential election. While organizations in the civic tech space are experimenting with revenue sources and business models, few have found reliable financing that fully cover costs. A shortage of capital and funders is also limiting civic techs ability to scale...