How to Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Your Digital Agency

Problem Statement

A successful project depends upon a strong relationship with your technology vendor. Maintaining that relationship over the long term is a key, but often overlooked, component of the success of any technology project.

All modern nonprofits rely on technology to tell their stories, fundraise, and increase engagement with their constituents in innumerable ways. Some even depend on it for their core missions—but few can afford to have sophisticated internal teams dedicated to building and maintaining all of those digital tools.

Enter the technology vendor. The mere mention of the phrase can strike fear into the heart of decision makers. We’ve all seen projects go off the rails, whether due to blown budgets, schedule delays, misunderstood requirements, or failed launches. These experiences are painful for everyone involved, on both sides of the fence.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. This session will explore the secrets to a successful partnership through all phases of the relationship, from RFP to support. We’ll cover:

  • Putting together a persuasive RFP and distributing it effectively
  • Selecting the right vendor
  • Deciding on the best contract structure
  • Managing expectations throughout a project
  • Defining success
  • Supporting and maintaining a healthy relationship

We’re not going to pretend to have all the answers for every situation, but we’ll tap our decades of experience working with nonprofits and technology on projects of every size, and present both the agency and nonprofit perspectives. We’ve seen projects fail to live up to expectations, as well as exceed them in every way, and we’re eager to share those lessons with you.

Lev Tsypin
ThinkShout, Inc.
President, CEO
Lev co-founded ThinkShout with the goal of bringing sustainable technology to organizations working for change. Lev leads a diverse team of forward-thinking engineers, helping our clients achieve their goals through innovation and technical excellence. With over fourteen years of experience in web development and technical architecture, it is Lev's job to constantly improve upon our engineering best practices and ensure that we remain on the cutting-edge of open source. Lev began his career in software development as a consultant with Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and Inforte Corporation in Chicago and also spent two years as the Director of Programming at Pop Art, Inc. Lev holds a bachelors degree in business administration (BBA) and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before ThinkShout, Lev ran a highly-respected consultancy, Level Online Strategy, here in Portland, OR. He spends his off hours chasing after his two boys.

Alex MacMillan

Alex Amend
Southern Poverty Law Center
Digital Media Director
Alex oversees web development, social media, and digital web content at the Southern Poverty Law Center. He works closely with the SPLC's Intelligence Project and contributes to their investigative blog, Hatewatch. Previously, Alex was the associate director of communications for the public policy organization Demos, based in New York City. He has contributed research and reporting to the books 'All The Presidents' Bankers' by Nomi Prins and 'Third World America' by Arianna Huffington. Amend is a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication and in his early career interned with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Talking Points Memo.

Michele Kayal
Relief International
Global Communications Manager