United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

BOOST Civil Society Technology Challenge


    Covid-19 crisis makes adapting to the new normal and transforming ways of operation a critical necessity for civil society organizations (CSOs). Koç Holding and UNDP have joined forces to accelerate the digital transformation of CSOs in Turkey in order to increase their impact and outreach. In line with this objective, the primary goal of the Boost Civil Society Technology Challenge is to mobilize tools, expertise and networks to accelerate the use of digital technologies during this transformation. With BOOST, CSOs gain the necessary firsthand experience to design, implement and adapt their work to the digital realm through a specific solution.


    Covid-19 had disrupted the way that civil society organizations operate. According Third Sector Foundation of Turkey, majority of the CSOs stated that 70% of the events, 60% of trainings, and nearly 40% of the fundraising activities were affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. In addition, the pandemic fast tracked digital transformation and it is very critical for CSOs to adapt to this rapid change in order to build a resilient future and to deliver the 2030 Agenda. In response, BOOST Civil Society Technology Challenge aimed at backing CSOs to accelerate their digital transformation for a wider outreach and impact.

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    Civil society organizations play a key role in delivering the 2030 Agenda, yet, they are deeply affected by the Covid-19 crisis. It is critical to empower CSOs in terms of using technology and digital tools to build resilience in responding to social and environmental challenges. The program is designed in a way to put forward an innovative example for SDG 17 on Partnerships for the Goals. UNDP Europe and Central Asia, at regional level, brought together governments and private sector as funding partners to support CSOs, SMEs and start-ups. Technology, innovation and digital transformation are key elements of the Program in order to accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda. In addition, the portfolio of solutions offer unique solutions to achieve SDG 10 on Reduced Inequalities.

    Implementation methodologies

    The Boost Civil Society Technology Challenge aims to accelerate the digital transformation of CSOs through a solid solution that they developed in response to Covid-19 pandemic. The Program is designed in two stages to offer a wide range of opportunities to CSOs operating in Turkey. In the initial stage, CSOs were invited to apply to the Challenge with a solution that uses technology and digital tools. 20 CSOs out of 38 applications were selected to join an accelerator that lasted for 3 months. The selected organizations include CSOs that focus on education, human rights, gender equality, climate-environment and health. The Program offered: • An intensive learning program on digital transformation, technology for impact and crowdfunding, • 1-1 mentorship with key experts to develop a project that uses digital technologies to innovate, scale and increase impact on development issues; • Meetings with global and local experts in technology, innovation and sustainable development to formulize key steps and actions for the digital transformation roadmap of the organization. The program brought different experiences and expertise together on an international and national scale. Koç University Entrepreneurship Research Center (KWORKS) and StartUp Grind are the implementation partners of the accelerator. In addition, UNDP experts, as well as the Koç Group digital transformation leaders mentored CSOs throughout the process. After the completion of the first stage, 5 out of the 20 CSOs will be selected for one-on-one acceleration support for an additional 24-weeks. Each organization will receive up to USD 10,000 to prototype, implement and scale-up their project.


    A 12-week online program supported by 1-1 mentorships were delivered in the first stage which included four main tracks on sensemaking workshops, impact measurement and management, tech and business development, and the crowdfunding academy. All CSOs participated in: • An empowering program that CSOs became familiar on impact measurement including the Theory of Change built on the business lean model, selection of relevant matrix (Impact-Output-Outcome-Impact model) and targets toward SDGs. • A step-by-step roadmap to establishing a digital transformation strategy for the CSOs. The participants calibrated their proposed solutions in line with the curriculum on business models, social impact canvas, beneficiary-intervention fit as well as data analytics and blockchain. • A Crowdfunding Academy that learned what they need to know in order to prepare and run a successful crowdfunding campaign. Once the program started, it became apparent that a majority of the projects targeted behavioral change in a variety of stakeholders including farmers, teachers or parents. The curriculum was revisited and included a comprehensive program on behavioral change in order to support the CSOs in their solutions.

    Factors and Constraints

    Key enabling conditions for the BOOST Civil Society Technology Challenge to succeed are: • Dedication and commitment of CSOs to learn and to apply new methodologies turned BOOST into an interactive learning platform. • Secondly, BOOST brought together experts, organizations and networks that target to develop tech-driven solutions to complex issues. Experience of these different partners did not only enrich the content but also created a platform for collaboration. • The Challenge was curated in a flexible way that enabled the partners to bring in new tools and methodologies when needed. So, additional content on behavioral change, design thinking as well as fundraising were added thanks to the capacity and vast network of partners. • Last but not least, the Accelerator was carried out fully online due to the Covid-19 restrictions. These constraints sometimes made it difficult to test their ideas and solutions at the field. At the same time, online sessions increased participation rate since CSOs were more flexible in terms of timing.

    Sustainability and replicability

    BOOST Acceleration Program was designed with a system lens therefore it enabled generating intelligence across different investments through applying portfolio approach. This enabled partners to analyze the impact of the whole program. Secondly, all solutions were initially selected on the basis of their replicability and scalability. BOOST Civil Society Technology Challenge empowered the CSOs in a way to mobilize digital tools in developing solutions. In addition, the Program did not only support CSOs to work on one single solution but also helped them to initiate their digital transformation journey. BOOST gathered an up-to-date content which can also be used by SMEs, social entrepreneurs as well as other organizations interested in addressing the SDGs through technology. The BOOST is an open online platform where everyone can access the proven solutions in the program.

    COVID-19 Impact

    BOOST Civil Society Technology Challenge was developed in order to empower CSOs during the Covid-19 crisis. The broader Boost Accelerator Program aims to incubate and accelerate solutions that address the current pandemic. The program supports a fast response and post COVID-19 recovery, increase community resilience and support vulnerable groups’ ability to cope with the pandemic and its aftermath.

    Contact Name
    Koç Holding
    Geographical coverage


    01 October 2020 (start date)
    31 January 2022 (date of completion)
    More information
    Contact Information

    Ayca , Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations Manager