Tech support helps nonprofits with their technology needs

Posted on May 29, 2020 :: Small Business Spotlight
Kat Boogaard
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Most people are familiar with the plight of the typical nonprofit: It’s trying to do noble work with limited resources and a shoestring budget. It’s not an easy road, and it becomes even more challenging for nonprofits trying to stay on top of technology.

That’s where steps in. The idea was born a few years back when Brian Arpke, executive director of NPlace, was serving as a volunteer consultant for the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. In that role, he’d connect with nonprofits to get an idea of their technological needs and help find the best software options for them.

After seeing firsthand how many nonprofits were struggling and overwhelmed with the technology side of their organizations, he knew he could fill that need with resources and advice. About a year ago, he started NPlace (which is short for “Nonprofit Place”), a free online community for nonprofits.

The collaborative space is available to any nonprofit or anyone who loves nonprofits, such as board members, volunteers and even consultants.

“We’ve started here in the Fox Cities, but we are opening to anybody in the U.S., because there are no geographical barriers when everything is done virtually,” says Amanda Moore, director of community engagement for NPlace.

NPlace offers user groups, question-and-answer sessions, periodic office hours and opportunities for nonprofits to connect and learn from one another.

Moore says those resources will always be free, but the organization is also rolling out some paid programs — the first of which is the subscription-based Tech Champions Institute. This program supports the technology champion within a nonprofit. Often, this is someone who has no formal training or experience in technology but ends up filling a technology role within the organization because they pick up things quickly.

“Our biggest goal is to offer training, guidance and support to those people who are wearing the technology hat but don’t have a technology background,” Moore says.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Moore says NPlace has had to become more flexible with its offerings to better support nonprofits, which needed to make an immediate shift to working virtually.

By reducing technology stress, NPlace allows nonprofits to focus on what matters most — fulfilling their important missions, Moore says.