The importance of technology leadership for nonprofits

Last week, Microsoft Community Affairs hosted a Nonprofit Technology Leaders Summit on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington. The summit brought together leaders from a variety of our nonprofit partners, including NetHope, NPower, NTEN, and others. We spent two days discussing the role technology plays in the work of nonprofits around the world. This included looking at the potential opportunities for nonprofits to take advantage of powerful new and existing technologies that can positively impact their work. Along with a series of lectures attendees also spent valuable time talking together about how to more effectively bridge the gap between the ‘techies’ and ‘non-techies’ within their organizations. There were also a lot of opportunities for getting hands-on with new tools during a number of “speed geek” sessions - think rapid-fire-speed-dating-meets-technology demonstrations!

NPower Seattle’s Alison Carl White has shared a good summary of the event on the NPower Seattle blog, discussing the importance of technology leadership to an organization and the incredibly important role that data - and the sharing thereof - will play in tackling significant social challenges.

Timothy DeChant with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation discusses the important role of new and existing cloud technologies, including Dynamics CRM Online, SharePoint Online, and Windows Azure.

Walt Carter, COO of TechBridge highlights some of the technologies we showcased, including Silverlight, DeepZoom, and data visualization tools in Bing Maps and the Local Impact Map. He also shared some perspective on the opportunity to see what Microsoft is doing in the nonprofit space and to be part of the discussion to influence the direction of Microsoft investments in that space.

Opportunities to meet with a group of knowledgeable, capable nonprofit leaders are one of the highlights of the work community affairs does around the world, and spending two days learning with -- and from -- these individuals is a good reminder of the central role technology plays in the work we all do. As both Tim and Walt mention in their videos, there is great value in practitioners hearing and learning from other practitioners about what is working in the “real world” in which they all operate.

If you’re interested in learning more about these types of events and following the conversation around them, be sure to follow us at @msftcitizenship. We’ll be hosting the Washington State Tech for Good event this Friday, February 4th with NPower Seattle. Beth Kanter will be speaking. Virtual registrations are available for a number of sessions, but you must pre-register (its free). You can also follow the Twitter conversation online at #WATech4Good.

Interested in a software donation to empower your nonprofit with technology? Check out our software donations page.

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