TechRocks is dedicated to accelerating social and political progress by building technological capacity for community collaboration and citizen engagement. TechRocks encourages and enables foundations, advocacy groups, and leading activists to use technology to achieve their goals, to increase participation from interested constituencies, and achieve change more quickly than by traditional organizing and advocacy methods alone.
TechRocks was formed in 1999 from the merged operations of the Rockefeller Technology Project and Desktop Assistance, both long-time leaders in providing technical assistance to nonprofits. Marshall Mayer, the current CEO of TechRocks, started Desktop Assistance in 1990 to research the latest technology developments and adapt them for use by nonprofits. The Rockefeller Technology Project began in 1996 as a project of the Rockefeller Family Fund with the main purpose of helping nonprofits that received grants from the fund understand and improve their technology systems. The organization soon expanded to help other foundations and nonprofits with technology issues, though most of the groups that it currently serves are grantees of foundations that support TechRocks. TechRocks is chartered as a 501(c)(3) supporting organization to the Rockefeller Family Fund.
TechRocks' consultants, known as Circuit Riders, primarily assist nonprofits that are citizen-based and focused on the environment, economic justice, public participation, and governmental accessibility. They help organizations plan their presence on the Internet and create corresponding Web sites and train them to use membership tracking database software. TechRocks' also provides nonprofits with ebase, a database software that helps in managing relationships. With ebase, which can be downloaded at no cost from http://www.ebase.org, users can keep records of donors, volunteers, and mailings and analyze the results of specific programs. Currently, more than 3,000 nonprofits manage more than two million relationships with the database software. In addition, TechRocks provides technical support for the software on the ebase Web site.
TechRocks has helped with several innovative Internet-based campaigns and projects that have helped nonprofits use the Internet to impact public policy, plan and implement Internet marketing strategies, and develop ongoing communications strategies for effectively e-mailing citizens interested in making their voices heard on significant issues. Since 1997, TechRocks has recruited more than 500,000 online activists and generated more than one million e-mails, faxes, and postcards in support of progressive peace, environmental, and food safety policies that have been sent to government leaders. For example, TechRocks helped the Heritage Forest Campaign organize the Internet marketing tactics in an effort that generated more than 700,000 messages from U.S. citizens to the Clinton administration in support of wilderness protection.
From the TechRocks home page, users can easily access information about ebase database software, the organization's Internet-based campaigns, and TechRocks' consulting program. In addition, links from the home page lead to more information about TechRocks, including the organization's history and its contact information.
TechRocks receives approximately 85 percent of its support from foundations, and the remaining 15 percent from fees for service. A small portion of foundation support, no more than 5 percent per year, comes from Rockefeller foundations — the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The balance of foundation support comes from major foundations such as the Packard Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Turner Foundation, Meyer Foundation, W. Alton Jones Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, and several others.