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Celebrating 10 years of empowering small nonprofits

Posted May 29, 2019 by Chris Bicknell

celebrating 10 years

Dear Friends of Little Green Light,

We are celebrating 10 years of LGL this year and want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped us along the way. We would not be here without the family and friends who got us off the ground, the great team of people we work with here at LGL, or, most importantly, the thousands of nonprofit organizations that put their faith in us to help them manage their donors and donations.

When we started LGL, there were already lots of donor management systems on the market, plenty of them good. As someone said when we registered for our first conference in 2009, full of hope and excitement: “It’s kind of a crowded market.” That was discouraging. But in our view, no one had the mix of capability, accessibility, and affordability that we believed should be available to the smaller nonprofit.

At the time, there was a lot of talk about how the only way to achieve meaningful impact with a nonprofit mission was to merge or scale up. We believed the opposite: Small nonprofits play a vital role in our society and, collectively (and sometimes individually), have an important and positive impact. This position is powerfully articulated by Paul Hawken in his book “Blessed Unrest” (2007).

Our belief in the small nonprofit came firsthand through the school our parents started (which we both attended) that was small on budget but large on impact. Data also showed that the vast majority of nonprofits in the U.S. (nearly 95%) were “small” (less than $10 million). With this conviction and knowledge, we forged ahead with our mission to create a powerful, intuitive donor management system that any nonprofit could fit into their budget.

Since that first conference, we have gone from a tiny unknown to one of the most widely used donor management systems in the United States. Though we were not an overnight sensation, we have had steady, independent, sustainable growth. At the same time, we’ve seen competitors abandon the smaller nonprofit market in favor of pursuing nonprofits with larger budgets due to mergers, acquisitions, or investment capital promising rapid growth.

When we look back, we are amazed and thankful that so many people got behind LGL and put so much effort into making it what it is today. We’re grateful to every person who has told a friend or colleague about LGL and explained why it might, or even might not, be the right solution for them.

Our vision today remains the same as it was when we started, that small organizations can accomplish great things and should have simple, powerful, and affordable software to help them do it.

Here’s to the next ten years!  We are looking forward to it, and hope you are too.

All the best,

Nick & Chris Bicknell

P.S. For an illustrated tour of our first 10 years, please see our company timeline.

9 thoughts on “Celebrating 10 years of empowering small nonprofits

  1. Why the name Little Green Light?

    We are the Padilla Bay Foundation in Mt. Vernon, WA and just getting going with LGL. So far so good and, interestingly, a migration from FilePro!

  2. Kudos! I’ve brought LGL to 3 small non-profits on whose boards I serve here in Windham County, VT. All 3 are thrilled with your remarkable product and the thoughtful and reliable support you provide to organizations that can’t afford a database manager. I’m also a fan of your father Kent and the amazing Sant Bani School.
    Keep up the good work. Hope you don’t get swallowed by a bigger company!

  3. LGL has made a 100% difference in the ease with which I can store, extract, and provide information. I’m still learning, but it’s been a game-changer. My work-life is much improved because of this software. So glad you had this dream!

    1. Carla,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences about Little Green Light with us! We love hearing how using it has impacted your work life for the better!


  4. Congratulations from Lexington, MA! There are many orgs here in Lexington and Arlington, Massachusetts that have really benefited from LGL, precisely because it is affordable for small nonprofits and extremely flexible, while also providing good structure for best practices in nonprofit development. I have been thrilled to be able to introduce many organizations to Little Green Light, and was so happy to have the opportunity to transition to it at my nonprofit in Newton, MA. Thank you for many years of great support for a great product!

    1. Janet,

      Thank you so much for the kind words and the wonderful testimonial! We are so pleased that you are finding so much benefit!


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