Stuff You Can Use: Tech Soup

Ah, technology! Today I was sitting in my theatre attending a meeting. A few rows ahead of me was a woman who I was supposed to meet in my theatre after the meeting. About a half hour before the meeting was schedule to end, the woman texted her assistant asking her to call me and let me know she couldn’t make our meeting. I am not quite sure why she didn’t just get up and talk to me. The room was only 1/4 full so it wouldn’t be hard to find me. People were moving in and out to use the restrooms so there was no unstated prohibition against getting up during the meeting. But I suspect this is the sort of technology use I need to expect in coming years.

With that in mind, I wanted to point out a webinar Arts Presenters held in June about non-profits using technology. Arts Presenters had a representative of Tech Soup, Becky Wiegand, talk about non-profits using technology.

Tech Soup is a non-profit which, among other things, administers technology donations and reduced fee programs to non-profit organizations for companies like Microsoft and Adobe. If a company has conditions like only wanting materials to go to health services and after school programs for kids, Tech Soup distributes the products to people who qualify. Registration with Tech Soup gives you access to these programs and require you verify your tax status and purpose.

Once your organization is set up, you can go “shopping” for software. Their web interface apparently advises you if are eligible to receive the software or not. If you don’t qualify or don’t see something you would like, you can make a request for a donation.

Tech Soup also offers articles and webinar classes to help you discover how to use technology and what the potential value might be. So you can learn about low cost donor management software and what an effective use of Facebook might be for your organization. The site also has forums upon which you can ask other members things like their experiences using software you might have or be considering.

I strongly suggest investigating Tech Soup’s site to learn more. It is probably worth listening to the webinar. It is an hour long, but this particular piece actually has a video of the slideshow/web navigation that accompanies the talk. You can see where to look on the Tech Soup site to find various resources. Ms. Wiegand also mentions a lot of other technology resources that provide information, services and software either for free or more affordably than generally available and visits some of those sites as well.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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