17NTC Conference Resources

Clients ask us for good resources and how to bring new staff up to speed about nonprofits. If you have never heard of NTEN (the Nonprofit Technology Network), you should definitely check it out! It’s not just for techies anymore.   I just returned from their incredible conference held in Washington DC last week. It’s so great to get re-energized, renewed and re-engaged with the industry we all choose to be a part of. It seems like only a few years ago it was a small rag-tag group of independent thinkers and now it is thousands of professionals from across the country converging together for two days of intensely geeky (and not so geeky) discussions around nonprofit technology.

Living in Silicon Valley in the 2000’s allowed me to fall into this incredible network of professionals very early on in my career. With a background in fundraising and nonprofit management, and living in the “birthplace of the internet” turned out to be an interesting way to fall into Nonprofit Technology. That was almost 20 years ago, and I still run into folks that can’t quite figure out what we do. Are we fundraisers? Yes. Are we Database Administrators? Sometimes. Do we understand software, online tools, and automation? Absolutely. Do we build engaging constituent websites and bring online solutions to fundraisers? All the time.

It used to be easy to know the players – Blackbaud and a few others were really all that was available to most nonprofits. However, in the past two decades, this industry has boomed! The options are too many to list. However, a great subset was recently compiled by Idealware. Check out their 2017 list of Low-Cost CRM Solutions for just a sample of what is now available to nonprofits around the country. This list is just a beginning and is certainly the first step of due diligence in evaluating the value of your current software solution.

I encourage you to think strategically about how your fundraising dollars are spent. Do you really need to spend $50 – $100K on your technology solution every year?  Do you know when your current contract expires or will they just automatically renew your contract from now until the end of time? Have you thought about reviewing alternatives? Do you need a guide to help you avoid the pitfalls, the sales pitches, and the used-car-ness of the whole process?

Every year there are more and more GOOD fundraising solutions created. Of course, we work with Blackbaud and The Raiser’s Edge, but if you haven’t looked at other options in the past decade you might be surprised how much more affordable these feature-rich and easy-to-learn solutions can be. Don’t be afraid to open the door to alternatives. You could be an organizational hero saving tens of thousands of dollars a year!

Feel free to call for a brief discussion of our preferences, and the how/why certain solutions might be better for you.

And don’t forget to become a member of NTEN and attend the conference next year! You will re-energize staff and remember why you chose to work in this industry in the first place.

Lisa Lane

Lisa Lane

Founder & CEO of Nonprofit Garden