baltimore Buildings
baltimore Buildings
baltimore Buildings
20NTC Session

Startup Frying Pan to Nonprofit Fire: What We Learned


Smaller non-profits face a unique set of challenges when it comes to scaling, growth, and maturation. Volunteer-sourced labor has its limits. Distributed workloads can lead to disarray and confusion. Spreadsheets are hell. Growing non-profits are stuck constantly putting out fires instead of building proactive systems. We get it. As leaders in grassroots organizations, we’ve been there.

We’ve also been there as tech professionals in software startups. From our experience with software development, this session will introduce concepts from agile software development and start up culture and apply them to non-profit pain points. We’ll demystify some of the tech jargon and buzzwords to turn them into something non-profits can actually use. Concepts like agility, resiliency, and replication will be discussed alongside tech industry organizational tools. Tech, however, is not a panacea. We’ll also talk about the limits of doing non-profit work with a software startup mindset.

Learning Outcomes

  • Gain an understanding of the principles of software development and accompanying jargon
  • See examples of how software development principles have been applied to real world non-profit problems
  • Walk away with concrete ways to apply those principles to their organizational challenges

Target Audience

Anybody at newer or growing non-profits; anybody responsible for tech or curious about its application to their organization


Emerging TechOrg CultureProcessStrategy


March 24, 2020


10:30am – 11:45am