Thanking Your Nonprofit Techie: A Holiday Wishlist

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Most nonprofits have someone who is a tech geek, be it an IT staff member, a communications person, or an outsourced contractor, to thank for keeping everything digital running smoothly. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the nonprofit tech geek in your life, here are a few items that we think might be on their holiday wishlist this year. From the big nonprofit with a Chief Technology Officer to the small shop with a part-time “accidental techie,” we’ve assembled a short list of some nifty #nptech gifts for a variety of budgets and tastes.

The Non-Profit Narrative: How Telling Stories Can Change the World

Image Credit: Amazon

Whether you download this book onto your e-reader or flip through the pages of the paperback version, this is a great read for anyone in the nonprofit sector. As many of us know, engaging content is the key to attracting people and dollars toward our missions. Yet so much of our sector is mired in mundane philanthropy-speak that we have forgotten the importance of creating a compelling, heroic narrative to describe our work. Applying the idea that all organizations have great stories to tell, Dan Portnoy encourages nonprofits to interpret fundraising and engagement through the perspective of storytelling.

Action Life Media mCAMLITE

Image Credit: Amazon

Turn your iPhone or Android mobile device into a pro video camera with the mCAMLITE. The aluminum frame provides a sense of stability that helps you shoot your next event, testimonial or promotional video with confidence. Interchangeable lenses and a 180-degree external mic enable you to produce professional-quality videos that you may not have thought possible from a smartphone.

Women’s Audio Mission Soundchannel Subscription


One of the most often overlooked aspects of digital media production is the importance of audio quality. Through its online Soundchannel online training library, Women’s Audio Mission provides a collection of college-level e-textbook modules, “How-To” videos, listening examples, audio comparisons, studio tours, and other training resources. The Sound Essential series is a complete collection of e-textbooks that are used in introductory audio production courses in colleges across the country.

Coastermatic Coasters


Convert Instragram images of events, volunteers or inspiring images into coasters. What could be more fun?

Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector

Image Credit: Amazon

Anyone who has had a big pitch to a funder go down in flames because of technical difficulties will appreciate this gadget. Once you’ve created your compelling presentation or video, you can project it anywhere with Brookstone’s compact, portable and rechargeable HDMI pocket projector. It connects via HDMI to most smartphones, tablets, computers, video players, game consoles, and digital cameras.

Mobile Citizen Wi-Fi Hotspot


If your education or nonprofit organization is located in Mobile Citizen’s coverage area, you may qualify for low-cost 4G mobile Internet access through CLEAR. Mobile Citizen is funded by five nonprofit foundations that entered into a unique 30-year partnership agreement with CLEAR to provide mobile Internet service exclusively to schools and nonprofits. The service includes unlimited data usage, no download speed cap and upload speeds up to 1.0 Mbps, providing enough bandwidth for streaming videos, uploading presentations or hosting webinars.

Grass Charging Station

Grass Charger

Hide ugly charging cables and brighten up your office with a patch of grassy—albeit fake—lawn. Simply run a standard extension cable into the bottom of the base, plug in all your power adapters, then snake the charging cables up through the faux grass. Perfect for recharging all your mobile devices, the grass charging station works with most small devices that have a charging cable.

Fitbit One


For the health-conscious techie, the recently redesigned Fitbit One allows users to track steps, distances traveled, floors climbed, calories burned, and sleep quality. At night, it measures your sleep cycle, helps you learn how to sleep better, and wakes you in the morning with a “silent” vibrating alarm clock (to wake you, but not your partner). Seamless syncing with Bluetooth 4.0 automatically sends your health data to your dashboard.

Tech Tool Training

Atomic Training

Need to get up to speed on FrontPage, Adobe Creative Suite or Final Cut Pro? Atomic Training has teamed up with TechSoup Global to offer more than 500 free and discounted online courses on 150 software products to eligible nonprofits. These online training courses are broken down into small bites of no more than three minutes, so you can learn at your own pace, and on your own time. Since they’re cloud-based, courses can be finished online anywhere and anytime.

E-Waste CD Clock from Hipcycle

CD Clock

Show off your green geekdom with this upcycled e-waste clock. An old CD provides a shiny backdrop to a smooth disc of a motherboard that sits behind the clock’s hands. There are plenty of other gift options available through online retailer Hipcycle as well.

You don’t have to be a techie to appreciate the value of a fun, thoughtful gift. But as you ponder who to surprise with a little extra trinket this holiday season, a clever gadget for the techie in your life may come in handy when he or she is dealing with multiple situations at once and must decide whose system to restore first. And while you’re at it, you just may wish to pick up a little treat for yourself as well!


John Hoffman has more than 15 years of experience in marketing and development within the high-tech and nonprofit sectors.