NTEN’s annual nationwide Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) just wrapped up down the street from our office in DuPont, and the experience, enlightening though it was, reminded me of how difficult it can be for nonprofit professionals to navigate the technology world on their own as it expands at breakneck pace.
While I toured the exhibitor area at NTC, taking a break from chatting with attendees from behind the 501cTECH table, I was struck by just how many options these nonprofits were given for technology services. There were rows upon rows of vendors, each promoting their own donor management systems, accounting solutions, content management systems, and so on.
If these conference-goers were anything like the many nonprofit people I know, then they understood their goals or problems, how much they could spend to achieve or fix them, and not much else about the solutions available. It would be next to impossible for someone in a non-technical role at a nonprofit to spend the amount of time it takes to properly research all the available options to fulfill an IT need.
This proliferation of technology is exciting to those of us here who live and breath it, but to someone just looking for an efficient way to manage their nonprofit's donor database, track expenses, or manage a website, it probably feels a lot like a harrowing expedition into uncharted territory.
The number of options will only continue to increase, and with it, the difficulty of choosing the best solution for your nonprofit.
In the end, organizations that successfully leverage technology will be the ones that have strong advocates who can help them effectively navigate the overwhelming options. We pride ourselves on being that advocate for our clients.