Nonprofit Technology News, Tips, Events, and Ideas

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We are very excited to announce that the submission period for the 2015 Technology Innovation Awards (TIA) has officially begun!

As you may know, since 2003 501cTECH’s Technology Innovation Awards have recognized D.C.-area nonprofits whose innovative uses of technology improved key aspects of their operations and helped advance their missions. It has also served as a reminder that technology is just as important to nonprofits as it is to large corporations.

In planning the 2014 Awards last year, we did some research to see how we might improve the TIA in its eleventh year. We spoke with past applicants and judges and out of that process came some pretty significant changes that added greater overall value to the nonprofits TIA Verticalinvolved.

Most notably, we heard loud and clear that it’s very difficult to secure funding for new projects, so rather than judge applicants who have already implemented a technology project, we asked organizations to submit ideas for NEW technology projects they would like to develop with our help.

The other change was to award three cash prizes of $7,500, whereas before there were only two, and separate the winners into the following three programmatic areas:

  1. PreK-12 and STEM Education
  2. Skills to Succeed and Workforce Development
  3. Veterans and Military Families

Applicants must designate which one they believe most closely aligns with their project idea, but the cause area you select does not need to be the sole focus of the organization. If you can explain how your project applies to one of these categories and advances your nonprofit’s mission, we strongly encourage you to apply.

This is a unique opportunity to turn that great idea you’ve been holding onto into a reality and we would love to help you do it. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, July 15 at 5 p.m.


If you have any lingering questions about the process, register for one of our free 30-minute webinars.

We look forward to seeing your ideas!

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Gmail-LogoWhat Google announced today is actually more of a delay send feature, but it’s the kind of thing that could save you from accidentally sending a message to your boss that was meant for your mom.

You’ll have the option to delay your emails by 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds, which might be all the time you need to catch a wrong address or misspelling.

Once you’ve navigated to the settings  page, selected your time delay, and hit save, you’ll see a little window pop up after each email prompting you to “Undo” or “View Message.”

Gmail Unsend

I would still recommend proofreading your emails before you hit the send button, but it’s always nice to have a safety net for the occasional slip up!

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cc_logo_full_horiz_color_600Guest post from Alessandra Madrid, Content Marketing Manager at CommitChange. CommitChange is an innovative fundraising and donor management tool, and  trusted Technology Partner of 501cTECH.

Welcome back to Online Fundraising 101 with CommitChange! So far we’ve covered the very basic info about getting started in the world of online fundraising and how to choose the best fundraising platform for your nonprofit. Now, the exciting part begins: Creating your very first online fundraising campaign!

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June NTEN Happy Hour

Join NTEN, 501cTECH, and Infamia’s, Founder and Partner, Ernesto Gluecksmann, June 25 for a FREE happy hour and discussion on the strategy behind podcasting for nonprofits.

We may very well be in the golden age of podcasts. With the breakout Image titlesuccesses of WBEZ Chicago’s Serial last year, and the rising popularity of old standards like The Nerdist, This American Life and RadioLab, podcasting has become one of the fastest growing content platforms. We want to explore how this booming new medium can be used to advance the nonprofit sector!

As a co-founder and host of the Through the Noise podcast, Ernesto can share strategies for using the medium to grow your organization. He’ll talk about everything from the technical basics of creating and uploading a podcast, to what makes a successful show.

For a sample of one of those successful shows, check out an episode featuring our very own Abigail Goliber.

If you want to continue learning on your way home from the happy hour, we’ll be raffling off a Bluetooth headset that you can use to catch up on all the great episodes of Serial and Through the Noise you’ve missed.


ETA (6/22): The President of the United States has been on one.

The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) is the membership organization of nonprofit technology professionals. Members share the common goal of helping nonprofits use all aspects of technology more effectively. NTEN connects and educates on issues of technology use in nonprofits, and spearheads groundbreaking research, advocacy, and education on technology issues affecting the community. 501 Tech Club DC is part of NTEN’s 501 Tech Club program

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cc_logo_full_horiz_color_600Guest post from Alessandra Madrid, Content Marketing Manager at CommitChange. CommitChange is an innovative fundraising and donor management tool, and  trusted Technology Partner of 501cTECH.

Did you know nonprofits raise over $20 billion every year from individual donors? That figure is quickly growing every day as the usage and reach of Internet continues to rise among both younger and older populations. The giving environment is changing and it is important that all nonprofits are prepared to embark on this new fundraising adventure. But don’t be intimidated; thankfully, there are plenty of new tech tools already developed to make this transition run smoothly within your organization. It is important, however, that you start becoming familiarized with the processes and terms that these platforms utilize. The more you know about them, the better decisions you will be able to take about what kind of platforms and technologies will adapt best to your nonprofit’s structure and needs.

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techsoupRepost from the TechSoup blog. TechSoup is a nonprofit international network of non-governmental organizations that provides technology and other resources to the voluntary sector.

Is your staff spread across multiple locations? Or perhaps you have some virtual volunteers who help out with your website or online community? Just because your some of your staff isn’t physically present in your office doesn’t mean that they should be left out of meetings and important projects!

The power of technology can bring your entire staff together — whether they’re in the office or working elsewhere. Best of all, this technology doesn’t have to be expensive, either. TechSoup’s catalog has discounted and donated hardware, software, and services to help your staff better telecommute.

people's hands putting puzzle pieces together to form a speech bubble

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Skype-for-Business-logo-FI (1)Much like college seniors this month, Skype is entering the workforce!

Starting in April, Skype for Business officially overtook Microsoft’s Lync as the company’s enterprise-level video conferencing platform.

1Skype users will get all the familiar trappings of the platform — the contacts list, presence indicators, buttons and icons, app sounds, etc., and Lync users won’t have to worry about any features going away.

Lync already let you instant message and call Skype users, but now you’ll be able to video chat with them as well. Among other useful features Microsoft has added the Skype call monitor, which keeps an active call visible in a small window when you move to another app. You can also use the devices you already have to reach business contacts through an enterprise-grade, secure platform.

And, if you were wondering when emoticons would officially enter the professional lexicon, now might be that time. Skype for Business includes the same set of emoticons found in the consumer version of Skype.  Overall, the experience is simplified and more robust, which is all you can ask for.


“We are bringing together the familiar experience and user love of Skype with the enterprise security, compliance, and control from Lync,” wrote Microsoft’s Gurdeep Pall. “We believe that Skype for Business will transform the way people communicate by giving organizations reach to hundreds of millions of Skype users outside the walls of their business.”

Current Lync Server customers will need to simply update from Lync Server 2013 to the new Skype for Business server in their data centers to take advantage of these new features. No new hardware is required. It’s even simpler for those of you on Office 365 because Microsoft will handle all the required updates.

For a more detailed look at what the new Skype for Business has to offer, read through Microsoft’s blog post on the platform.

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cc_logo_full_horiz_color_600Guest post from Alessandra Madrid, Content Marketing Manager at CommitChange. CommitChange is an innovative fundraising and donor management tool, and  trusted Technology Partner of 501cTECH.

Welcome to the Online Fundraising for Beginners blog series! Over the next couple of weeks we will be covering the most important aspects of creating online fundraising campaigns for your nonprofit. Although today’s tools for fundraising should be making everything easier for nonprofit professionals, there is plenty of planning that needs to happen before you start an online campaign; from defining your fundraising goals, to picking a platform and creating the right messaging. Let’s get started!

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