Nonprofit Technology News, Tips, Events, and Ideas

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The awardees for the fourth cycle of 501cTECH’s Small Nonprofit Initiative (SNTI) have been announced!

Congratulations to Crittenton Services of Greater Washington, Perry SchoolAccess Housing, Inc.

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The Small  Nonprofit Initiative was created for organizations with budgets under $1M that provide critical services to Wards 7 and 8 in Washington, D.C. Most of these organizations have outdated technology, most of which is often broken and expensive to maintain.

For these nonprofits, technology is more of a burden than a resource and that’s what we’re trying to change with the Small Nonprofit Initiative.

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Windows 95

Twenty years ago today, TLC’s “Waterfalls” was number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Michael Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls after a year of playing professional baseball, and Microsoft launched its unbelievably popular Windows 95 operating system, selling 7 million copies in the first five weeks.

Another really popular thing at the time was “The Rachel,” a hairstyle made famous by Jennifer Aniston’s character on the T.V. show Friends. Here she is with that haircut, and Friends co-star Matthew Perry, in a “cyber sitcom” produced by Microsoft to promote the new software.

In total, Microsoft spent $250 million promoting Windows 95. This was the first OS to include the Start menu, so in addition to funding that perfect time capsule up there, the company purchased the rights to the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up,” and paid to put Start button billboards everywhere.

Knowing how much has changed since then, it’s exciting to imagine what we’ll be saying 20 years from now about the launch of Windows 10, Game of Thrones, and the Man Bun.

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SwayIf you’re using Office 365, you may have noticed a new logo show up among your standard suite of apps recently. Sway is an innovative platform from Microsoft Office that lets you create and share interactive reports, presentations, newsletters, projects, and more. A few months ago, Microsoft began rolling this out to Office 365 users for free, but you might have missed it if you weren’t paying close attention.

It’s a great resource with a lot of potential for some users. At a minimum, it can provide a more engaging alternative to PowerPoint presentations. We recommend trying it out if you haven’t already.

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John Dawes, Project Strategy and GIS Analysis at Chesapeake CommonsGuest post from John Dawes, Project Strategist and Co-Founder at Chesapeake Commons. Chesapeake Commons was founded in 2011 by members of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network (CBFN) to encourage transparent data sharing for the development of sound and effective Bay restoration policy. John also worked with 2013 Technology Innovation Winner, Potomac Riverkeeper, to develop their winning Water Reporter app.

As a small team we are very fortunate to have a full roster of environmentally focused dev and mapping projects for the year, but when deadlines are tight it’s easy to let best practices fall by the wayside or go out the window all together. Chesapeake Commons and our partners at Viable Industries have been working to design, develop, and deploy open source tech solutions for just over three years. In that time span, three of the major take homes that we’ve learned as a team consist of the following:

  • Always question why the system is being built in the first place

  • Plan more so you can code less

  • Communicate openly and frequently

In nearly all the projects we’ve worked on, our attention to items 1 – 3 have directly correlated with the project outcome.

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Camacho Headshot WBJOf all the excellent work being done across the nonprofit world, we think that some of the very best comes from D.C’s own Community of Hope, Inc.

Their mission is to provide opportunities for low income families, including those experiencing homelessness, to achieve good health, a stable home, a family sustaining income, and of course, hope.

We have worked with closely with the team at Community of Hope over many years, supporting them as they grew from a small organization to a powerhouse.  So, we weren’t surprised when their VP of Finance, Brenda Comacho, was nominated for 2015 CFO of the Year by the Washington Business Journal.

Congrats to Brenda and thanks for the very hard work that she does on behalf of our region and those in need day in and day out.

Full article.

August NTEN Happy Hour

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Join NTEN501cTECH, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Thursday, August 27 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm for a FREE happy hour and discussion on utilizing the cloud to run scalable, highly-available, and inexpensive websites.

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In this talk, Leo Zhadanovsky, Senior Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services, will discuss how to run content management systems such as Drupal, WordPress and Jekyll on Amazon Web Services in a way that is scalable, highly-available and economical.

He will also discuss how to architect websites in the cloud so they are secure and allow for rapid iteration and change without downtime.

Before AWS, Leo was the Director of Systems Engineering at the Democratic National Committee. From 2009 to early 2013, he ran the DNC’s physical server and cloud footprint and supported infrastructure which was in use by the Obama campaign, state, and local Democratic parties.

AWS will be hosting the event at their offices near Union Station. Get your free ticket HERE to reserve a spot before space fills up!


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.

Amazon Web Services Office

601 New Jersey Ave NW, 9th Floor

Washington, D.C., 20001

Located near the Union Station Metro stop.

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windows 10 loading

As of this morning, Windows 10 is available to Windows 7 or 8.1 owners as a free upgrade! Which is exciting news because the new OS is receiving some high praise. Although the transition to 10 is, by most accounts, seamless and a clear upgrade from previous versions, there are still some things you’ll want to know before clicking the “Begin Install” button.

What’s New in Windows 10?

Windows 10 is basically a refined version of the Windows you know and love, but with a few notable additions.

  • Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Siri or Google Now, only it’s ALWAYS listening for your voice commands, which makes it at once more efficient and eerie.
  • Microsoft Edge is the company’s new Internet browser and it’s a considerable upgrade from its predecessor, Internet Explorer (IE).  Edge is fast, stylish and has some compelling features like web page annotation. Although IE was leading the pack in browser market share, it lagged behind Firefox and Chrome when it came to functionality. With these new features, though, Edge might be a worthy lightweight alternative.
  • Through Windows Hello, users with the right hardware will be able to log into their PCs via fingerprint, iris, and face scan.
  • The virtual desktops feature essentially allows you to have multiple invisible monitors within your one desktop. Each “desktop” can have its own set of apps and shortcuts, allowing you to separate out tasks into their own custom spaces.
Windows 10 Virtual Desktops

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July NTEN Happy Hour

Join NTEN and 501cTECH July 23  for a FREE happy hour and discussion on IT stewardship and how it affects the economics, efficiency, and morale of your organization.

Image titleTodd Peterson, 501cTECH’s VP of Client Relations, will talk briefly about the value of IT stewardship and then answer questions from attendees. If there’s a question you’d like an answer to, or a topic you’d like covered, please tweet it to us @501cTECHDC, or email Jesse Chimes.

And, if free drinks and food weren’t enough of an incentive, we’ll also be raffling off a Google Chromecast!

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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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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