This is an exciting time for Idealware. As our fearless founding Executive Director, Laura Quinn, prepares to hand over the reins to a new Executive Director and take on a new role for the organization, I can’t help but be proud of all that Laura has helped Idealware achieve in the last ten years, and also excited about the opportunities ahead as we welcome our new Executive Director, Karen Graham, to chart the next ten (plus!) years.

I can remember first talking with Laura about her idea for Idealware back in 2005. We met for lunch in New York City, where Laura was then working as an independent consultant, and she was lamenting the lack of resources to help nonprofits make smart software decisions. At the time, the nonprofit software market was growing rapidly, and the options were quickly becoming overwhelming. It was clear Laura was on to something, and I told her we (Beaconfire—my organization) would be on board to support her if she decided to go through with it. Little did I know that—within six months—Laura would have launched Idealware and produced the first of many outstanding nonprofit tech reports out of her attic in Portland, Maine!

And that basically sums up Laura—tenacious, persistent, and committed to creating thoroughly-researched yet practical resources to strengthen the nonprofit sector. Since Idealware’s inception, Laura has always considered what small, low-resource nonprofits are grappling with, and how Idealware could best support them. It has been humbling to watch her grow Idealware from a one-woman, volunteer-only organization to the respected and dependable national nonprofit resource that it is today, reaching nearly 800,000 people annually with practical resources, reports, and training to help them use technology to serve their communities. It’s even more humbling to see her recognize this opportunity to hand over the reins to a new Executive Director to lead Idealware through its next chapter of growth and service to the sector. We are grateful to move forward with Laura’s continued influence and involvement while welcoming another amazing nonprofit veteran to the helm of Idealware.

Karen Graham brings an ideal mix of experience to Idealware. As a board president, it’s a wonderful feeling when you meet a candidate that just “gets” your organization, believes in the work, and—on the first interview—shares ideas, energy and passion that make your whole search committee chatter with enthusiasm. Karen has a stellar reputation and strong connections in the field of nonprofit technology, both from her work at the Minnesota-based capacity-building organization MAP for Nonprofits, and at the nonprofit CRM/database solution provider, thedatabank, before that. Combined with her experience in human resources and her MBA in Nonprofit Management, we know Karen is the right person to help Idealware move into its next phase of growth.

We look forward to you getting to know Karen better, and are eager to hear your ideas about how Idealware can best support nonprofits in making smart technology decisions going forward. We have come a long way over the last ten years thanks to Laura’s leadership, the dedication and hard work of many committed staff and volunteers along the way, and you—our awesome community of supporters, readers, and reality-checkers!

Please join us in thanking Laura and welcoming Karen during this exciting and important transition. Here’s to the next ten (plus!) years…