Community Technology Network

Fall-Winter 2014
Project Type
Full team
Project Focus
Market Analysis,
Marketing & Communications
Organization Type


Community Technology Network (CTN) was originally a project of TechSoup Global, initiated in 2001 to close the digital gap with seniors, immigrants, and other low-income individuals who otherwise would be left without access to the economic, emotional, and social benefits available to them via the Internet. CTN became an independent organization in 2008 and now trains volunteers who direct computer training in 35 locations across San Francisco and Oakland. In 2013, there were 244 active volunteers who contributed 9,380 hours and served 11,900 clients. Languages used during training included English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. Training has moved beyond teaching only basic digital literacy skills; CTN now offers E-Health training and more one-on-one coaching. In 2014, CTN received an award from LINK Americas Foundation in recognition for leadership in closing the digital divide in California, and an award from the Volunteer Center for “Excellence in Nonprofit Volunteer Management.”


Almost 60% of CTN’s annual budget is generated by one government contract. CTN therefore needs to develop a plan for diversifying and creating a consistently sustainable revenue stream. Several services have been made available for a fee to government agencies, corporations, and other non-profits, but the organization has been primarily opportunistic, taking projects as they surface rather than strategically building contracts or developing a core set of deliverables that can be grown and leveraged to assure CTN’s sustainability.

Project Objectives

CTN asked the ACT team to explore opportunities for earned income leveraging CTN’s existing assets, evaluate expansion proposals for revenue growth, and assess and improve sustainability and growth potential.

Project Overview

After gaining a firm understanding of CTN’s history, mission, offerings, and the ways in which CTN generates revenue and spends resources, the ACT team mapped the other players in CTN’s sphere. The team researched these organizations’ sources of funding and numerous other factors in order to benchmark other providers of digital literacy training. The ACT team then evaluated two current revenue expansion initiatives: work force development and eHealth.

Key Recommendations

  • Recognize and prioritize that grants will be a major source of funding going forward (i.e. hire a dedicated proposal writer); this should free up more time to pursue earned income opportunities and allow the ED to cultivate the pipeline for additional fee for service opportunities
  • Ensure accounting and pricing reflect accurate costs
  • Do not pursue both Work Force Development and eHealth
  • Geographic expansion is premature

Final Report Outline

  • Understanding CTN
  • Review of Project Scope
  • Findings/Analysis
  • Exploring Revenue Models and Opportunities
  • Recommendations
  • Next Steps
  • Q&A