Nonprofit Accounting Software in Portland Maine
About two years ago, I started looking to seriously move to Portland, Maine after spending four years in the Philadelphia suburbs. At the time, our friends and family were shocked that we would want to leave our house, jobs and comfort zone to migrate to the “frozen tundra” of New England. Why would we be interested in moving to Maine?
At the time, I had just started working for NonProfitPlus, focusing mainly on launching our cloud based nonprofit accounting suite. Although ASI (our parent company) had been in business for years, NonProfitPlus was essentially a startup product. Suddenly, I realized that my professional career and personal life had intersected and granted me with an incredible opportunity to relocate.
In a country with so many wonderful places to live, work and play, how would we narrow down the search? Although I had a long list of personal preferences (great food, city on the coast, skiing and hiking), professionally I was concerned with finding a place that was friendly to both technology startups and nonprofits. Enter Portland, Maine.
We quickly learned most people associate all of Maine with two places: the beautiful coast found Downeast (Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park) or the mountainous regions found mainly in Western Maine. Portland wasn’t even a thought. I’m no pioneer here, many people before me have recognized what a gem this seaside town is, so I needed little convincing.
A Growing Technology Hub
Mainers have been innovators and business-minded folks for centuries. I’ve heard so many stories about Lobster businesses, farms, mills and the logging industry. Entrepreneurship is part of the Maine DNA. When I started looking at options for an office space, Google spit out 5 different co-working spaces all friendly to both start-ups and technology. Even almost two years in, I haven’t been to every networking event that is available on the peninsula.
The first month after we moved, I attended an evening event called Pubhub. The Pubhub is a staple-networking event each month where entrepreneurs come together to drink craft beer and learn from successful startups. I can’t tell you how valuable the advice, honesty and strategy that I’ve taken away has been. As long as I’m in town, I try to make it every month.
A Nonprofit Friendly State
According to the Maine Association of Nonprofits, 1 in 7 workers in Maine are employed by nonprofit organization. These nonprofits contribute $10 billion per year to the economy through wages, sales and contracted services, which equates to about 19% of the state GDP. Our new Accounting Suite, NonProfitPlus, is accounting software that can truly scale to meet the specific needs of any nonprofit organization, big and small. We take away the headaches caused by antiquated spreadsheets, legacy systems and off-the-shelf accounting products. Historically, there were many roadblocks nonprofits had to overcome to enter the ERP market, especially for smaller organizations (under $10 million in total receipts per year). There are over 6,000 nonprofits in Maine, most of them falling into the category of a small business. If I wanted to set up shop in a place that was accessible to nonprofits so that we could help manage their finances, Portland was the place.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. I’ve learned valuable lessons about 1) developing a software solution that nonprofits need and 2) taking that software product to market. These lessons have shaped our corporate strategy and culture, which is important as we continue to grow. And who would have guessed that all of this would take place within a few square miles of coastline in Southern Maine.