Solutions 2013: The Intersection of People and Technology

“The nonprofits that are going to thrive are those that can measure and articulate the impact they have.” -MNN CEO Rick Jakious, as he urged nonprofits to embrace the technical revolution.

Yesterday, more than 500 nonprofit and business leaders from across Massachusetts (and a few from as far as Texas) gathered at the MNNConf2013-2Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s annual conference. This year’s conference, Solutions 2013: The Intersection of People and Technology, highlighted how the current technological revolution can be harnessed to improve the way we as nonprofits affect change in the world.

From the workshops that showed how to utilize technology for effective collaboration, to the exhibitors that touted the newest tools to fundraise and reach volunteers, every point of the day highlighted opportunities to leverage both the human and innovative spirits of nonprofits.

David Shapiro, MNN Board President and President and CEO of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, spoke to the need for the nonprofit sector to come together in order to harness much-needed resources: “When you are attacking some of the toughest problems in society, like many of us do, you need to have the proper resources to be effective. We (nonprofits) are stronger, and can access more resources, when we work together.”

MNNConf2013-17While innovative ideas were prominent throughout the conference, the human aspect was present as well. The morning lightning round plenary session encouraged attendees to share common problems and solutions with each other.  “It was encouraging to learn that other nonprofits face the same challenges as my organization,” said one participant. “I was able to discuss some of my issues with other participants at the table—many of whom were from very different fields—and left with some fantastic new ideas and resources.”

And the time between workshops allowed the nonprofits a chance to connect. As one attendee noted, “my organization is small and somewhat isolated. I relish this chance to meet new people and hear what new and innovative things are happening in the sector.”

Luckily, those of us in the sector aren’t the only ones to see the value in strengthening nonprofits. The more than 50 exhibitors at the conference all offered goods and services to help expand the reach and capacity of nonprofits. And conference presenting sponsors Doug Chamberlain, CEO of Appleton Partners and Wayne Patenaude, President and CEO of Cambridge Savings Bank spoke to the business case for supporting the nonprofit sector: “Nonprofits are the treasures of our state,” said Doug as he thanked the attendees for their work to improve Massachusetts. And Wayne added, “We are only as strong as our community.”MNNConf2013-5

As it does each year, this rallying of hundreds of nonprofit leaders, and the people and organizations that support our work, serves as a humbling reminder of just how strong, passionate, and committed the nonprofit community is in Massachusetts.  Thank you to everyone who joined us. We’re already looking forward to next year.


Photos courtesy of Leise Jones.