Upstart Crow Studios

Tech Donations Give Youth Arts-Education Group Something to Crow About

Imagine spending weeks perfecting a presentation designed to get a major new donor on board. Now imagine you show up to make your presentation and find out that you can't use your file because you created it with outdated software on an incompatible platform. Does this sound too terrible to be true? This actually happened to Upstart Crow Studios, a nonprofit youth performing arts company.

Upstart Crow Studios' mission is to provide affordable arts education for youth, regardless of their abilities, challenges, or socioeconomic status. It serves approximately 300 children a year as well as several local artists and nonprofits. Thousands attend its community theater productions and events. It also provides theater programs for underserved communities like Head Star and Lane Regional Program for the Visually Impaired.

The organization relies on technology to create donor presentations, prepare and edit scripts, manage ticket sales and budgets, and create marketing materials. Before seeking help from TechSoup, the organization had to make the choice between using slow, outdated software and outsourcing work to volunteers. Outsourcing work meant another host of problems as staff and volunteers used different versions of software.

After it reached out to TechSoup, the organization received a donation of Microsoft Office software that dramatically transformed its administrative operations. The immediate result: an over 50 percent increase in returning volunteers and a 25 percent increase in revenue.