Report from the Road: What I Learned from Maryland Nonprofits

June 28, 2016

Guest blog by Jim Lynch, Staff Writer, TechSoup 

Some of us lucky TechSoupians have had the pleasure to hit the road this year and attend nonprofit state association events. I just attended the Maryland Nonprofits Tech to Tell Your Story event outside of Baltimore. There is so much great work going on; it’s a pleasure to get out there and meet the folks doing it. It’s also fun to get some real-deal Maryland crab cakes.

The Maryland event was a one-day conference on June 7 at the University of Maryland. It gave nonprofit leaders a chance to focus on building technology and other infrastructure to support the work of their organizations. The 130 attendees were mostly small nonprofit executive directors and senior staffers.

Sessions covered fundraising, marketing and communications, and IT and operations. The theme, “Tech to Tell Your Story,” fit very well with TechSoup’s latest Storymakers contest, in which over 600 charities recently submitted videos and photo slide shows of their work. We talked a good deal at the event about that.

I gave a couple of presentations. One was on executive strategy for integrating technology.

In this session, we discussed how executive directors make the hard decisions on expensive technology purchases. Investing in fundraising software and services was top of the list for what everyone wanted to cover. As always, the real-life examples on successful (and not successful) strategies, both from TechSoup’s experience and from attendees’ experience, were the most popular part of the session.

I also led a session on how to get technology donations through TechSoup. This one was about our donated and discounted software and hardware offerings for charities, and also our free

and how-to content. I’d say most folks knew about us, at least that we’re a helpful resource for charities. What they didn’t know was just how much we have for them. It was fun to reveal the many secret rooms of TechSoup.

When I got a chance to check out some of the other sessions, I happened upon Rebecca Teaff of Redstart Creative doing a great hands-on workshop on creating infographics. It’s the first time I got a chance to try out 

, a free online graphic design tool. Turns out that you can learn it in a few minutes and create a respectable infographic in a few more. Very clever.

The biggest pleasure for me is to have the chance to meet people like Gene Deems. He’s a person with a charitable fire in his belly to do good in the world. His mission is to launch a new nonprofit called Medicine with a Mission. I’ll watch for that one.

My thanks to Maryland Nonprofits Event Coordinator Suzanne Knizner and Director of Education Melissa Sines, for inviting us. If your state nonprofit association wants TechSoup to come to an event, present on nonprofit technology solutions and meet everybody, just email us at

This blog was originally published here.

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