Nonprofit Technology News, Tips, Events, and Ideas

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We have some very exciting news to share as we announce 501cTECH’s merger with Philadelphia-based Tech Impact, which is the nation’s leading nonprofit technology services organization and the operator of an award winning IT training program for youth.  We have worked alongside our colleagues at Tech Impact for more than a decade.  First, as part of the NPower Network created by Microsoft to deliver affordable and sustainable solutions to community based nonprofits like yours and then as partners with Tech Soup.

The merger with Tech Impact really provides us with the best of both worlds. Being part of larger organization provides us with scale, leverage with vendors and greater financial strength.  Our entire tech team will remain intact, allowing us to retain the personal touch and the first-hand knowledge of our customers’ needs that are so important to quality service delivery.  Here are a few other highlights:

  • We will be introducing exciting new services to DC clients, particularly the Data Analytics and Management Service provided by Philadelphia-based data scientists. This service includes database selection, customization and ongoing management. Look for an announcement on the Data Showcase that we are planning in early July.
  • The DC office will remain open, and I will continue as the Executive Director of Tech Impact DC Offices and Operations. Patrick Callihan will assume the role of CEO of Tech Impact.
  • Other new services will include discounted VoIP phone service and social media and digital marketing consulting.
  • We will be consolidating some administrative functions to achieve efficiency and reduce overhead. This includes finance, HR, fundraising and client relations.
  • We will continue with our mission-based tech capacity programs, the Small Nonprofit Technology Initiative and the Technology Intervention for Community Change and look to expand them to other markets.
  • The Technology Innovation Award and Celebration of Technology will also continue, and we look to grow these by engaging even more members of the business community in this important work.

To learn more, read our official announcement.


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We are very excited to announce that the submission period for the 2016 Technology Innovation Awards (TIA) has officially begun!

As you may know, since 2003 501cTECH’s Technology Innovation Awards have recognized D.C. area nonprofits who put technology to use in an innovative way to improve key aspects of their operations and help advance their missions. It has also served as a reminder that technology is just as important to nonprofits as it is to large corporations.

Nonprofits may submit applications in the following three programmatic areas:

  1. PreK-12 and STEM Education, sponsored by CenturyLink
  2. Skills to Succeed and Workforce Development, Sponsored by Accenture
  3. Veterans and Military Families, Sponsored by BAE Systems

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.

tia heading for Linkedin (2)


Past winners have included the YWCA of the National Capital Area, The Arc of Northern Virginia, and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). Winners have completed a wide range of projects that empowered them through digital capabilities, including web-based learning portals, comprehensive salesforce customization, mobile application development, and innovative social media strategy. Their stories can be found on 501cTECH’s blog, and a full list of past winners and their projects are available on 501cTECH’s website.

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 Friday, July 1 at 5 p.m.


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

We look forward to seeing your ideas!

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Hopecam logoHopecam received the 2015 Technology Innovation Award in the K-12 & STEM Education category, sponsored by CenturyLink. Earlier this year, I caught up with Brad Hawkins, a member of Hopecam’s Board of Directors, and learned about the history of the organization and how the $7,500 award is making a big difference.  


Brad became involved with Hopecam four years ago after hearing Hopecam’s founder, Len Forkas, speak about his 2011 Race Across America. Over the span of only 12 days, Len biked over 3,000 miles from San Diego to Annapolis in what is considered one of the toughest bike races in the world. Each day of the race, Len rode in honor of a different child with cancer. “I had the luxury of choosing to put my body through the physical challenge” Len said when reflecting on the race, “children with cancer don’t have that choice. I wanted to raise greater awareness of childhood cancer and the resources available to children and families.”

For Len, this bike ride was deeply personal – his own son had been diagnosed with Leukemia 9 years earlier. Read more »

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Guest Post from Bevin Landrum, Cyclical Communications Manager & TAPS Magazine Editor, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors | 2015 Technology Innovation Award Winner. Read more about their mobile app.


Four departments were integral to the success of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) mobile app development for our annual National Military Survivor Seminar: communications, programs, IT and our 24/7 Helpline. Not only did the content included in the app need to be informative and correct, but we needed to make sure that survivors registered for the event could receive appropriate support for the app if and when needed.

Prior to the launch of the app in April, the communications team worked closely with our programs staff to create a dashboard that included the key information for our event such as the daily schedules, speakers, resource vendors, evening event information, point of interest details, maps and FAQs. We creatively used our banner ad spaces internally to promote high-level events and details that needed additional spotlight promotion. We agreed on a priority timeline for gathering the information to upload to the app and assigned key tasks to each department. Read more »

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Guest blog post from Max Kryzhanovskiy, Preseident and CEO of MOS Creative, a digital marketing and growth strategy firm that uses data to help organizations develop focused website and fundraising strategy.

Have you heard of the Google Ad Grants Program for nonprofits? It’s a program that gives nonprofits the chance to advertise on Google AdWords at no cost to the nonprofit. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? This program gives qualified organizations $10,000 per month (YES, PER MONTH) in AdWords spend to be used to promote their missions and initiatives on To qualify, a nonprofit organization must go through the application process, and to keep the grant they must follow the following program details.

Here are the details to receive the Grant:

Read more »

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Why you should uninstall QuickTime for Windows immediately:

As of April 14th, Apple abruptly ended support for QuickTime for Windows.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, Apple will no longer be providing security updates for the software, which means that computers with QuickTime are vulnerable to security threats including increased risk of viruses and malicious attacks on data.

Organizations and individuals currently using QuickTime for Windows should uninstall the software immediately. Our 501cTECH engineering team is in the process of uninstalling QuickTime from all of our clients’ computers.

Additional resources to learn more about why Apple ended support:

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You are diligently working on a business project on your computer, then suddenly the application you are using freezes. Soon your frustration skyrockets while your productivity plummets as you try anything you can think of to resolve the problem. Sound familiar?

Here is how you can quickly get back to work when an application running on a Windows desktop or laptop computer freezes: Read more »

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Do you use a laptop at home or in your business? If you do, chances are you store a lot of important data in it, from financial information to sensitive documents, that you need to protect if your laptop is lost or stolen.

Here are some basic steps that you can do to protect the data stored in your laptop from unauthorized access.

Password protect you laptop

A good password is one that is hard to guess but is easy to remember. Here is how you can create a good password:

  1. Combine letters, numbers, and special characters such as %$* when creating your passwords. You can substitute a number for a letter, like 3 for E or 5 for S. Examples of good passwords are br34kf45T!, t0u3h&go$, and 2hotPi22a$.
  2. Keep your password’s length at least eight characters long — usually longer.
  3. Some experts even suggest the use of passphrases instead of passwords. Longer and complicated passwords will make it hard for unauthorized persons to guess them. Example: UnitedWeStand can become Un1t3dW3St4nd.
  4. Do not use your name, birthdate, zip code, or address as your password.
  5. Memorize your password, never write it down anywhere.

Read more »

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As of February 2016, there is a new strain of malware circulating the internet, hidden in infected Microsoft Word documents. This ransomware, known as “Locky,” arrives in an user’s inbox as an email with a Microsoft Word document attached, containing malicious macros.  Once enabled, the macros will scramble and encrypt files and the user must either pay a ransom, or hope that a recent backup will prevent any lost data.

How to Identify an Email Containing Locky

According to KnowBe4’s security awareness training blog, an email with ransomware will have a subject line similar to “ATTN: Invoice J-99223146″ and a message such as “Please see the attached invoice and remit payment according to the terms listed at the bottom of the invoice.” The content of the word document will appear scrambled and illegible with various fonts and symbols, and the top of the document will prompt the user to enable macros in order to read the document.

Screenshot of infected word document, courtesy of KnowBe4: Read more »

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TAPS-LOGO_Round_Color-WEB-No-BoxGuest  blog post from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, 2016 Technology Innovation Award Winner.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) hosts two national seminars for survivors grieving the loss of a loved one in service to America. These national events bring together thousands for a time of support and connection with others who have experienced the same loss. It is so important that we begin welcoming our families to the event and integrating them into the process in advance of opening day. This helps us avoid overwhelming them with logistics when they arrive, so they can focus on the many healing resources available to them at the seminar.

TAPS decided that an easy-to-use mobile app would be an excellent way to roll out advance details about the seminar, help our survivors connect with their peers and provide logistic updates during the event. We started the research on mobile app developers six months in advance of our event and are currently waiting for our app to be approved in the Apple and Google Play app stores.

Here are three recommendations for selecting a developer, identifying goals and features, and getting approval for your organization to have a presence in the major app stores. Read more »