As I've previously mentioned in my blog, I'm helping out with the Immigrant Organizers Information Technology Network, and the current challenge to create a workshop that will help these small grassroots organizations incorporate funding for technology in their overall development strategies.
This seems to be the most pressing issue for any nonprofit executive - finding the money to support the technology infrastructure that sustains the organization. In small nonprofits, lack of money is the deal-breaker. Before they can make decisions about technology staffing, databases, web sites, network servers, the organization's leaders need to have a plan for paying the bills for these and other mission-critical technology
Unfortunately, I don't have a magic formula for funding technology that I can offer these folks. In the world of nonprofit technology, the rule of thumb is that most donors and grantmakers give money to organizations with great missions; with a few notable exceptions, funders are seldom passionate about writing checks to buy technology products and services.
So that's the bad news.
The good news is that last year I attended a terrific workshop on this topic at the Boston regional N-TEN conference. It was organized by fellow Technobabe Theresa Ellis, so I went to her and requested permission to replicate her idea. She very graciously agreed, coaching me about how to proceed, and encouraging me to recruit as many panelists as possible from the session that she designed.
Here's the plan. Four of our panelists will be from the philanthropic world, folks with plenty of practical experience: