April Technology Classes at the Bayer Center

Technology is the new magicLearn something new in April! Classes include Writing for the Web & Social Media, DIY Websites with WordPress and Social Media Strategy for Nonprofits!

Register online or email bcnm@rmu.edu if you have questions (or want to register 3 or more people for a discount).

Writing for the Web and Social Media
Thursday, April 6 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Writing content for your website or social media is very different from writing for other types of communications because of the way people read and use the Web. Learn how to improve your written website and social media content, increase your site’s usability as well as readability and improve the effectiveness of your online communication channels.

Instructor: Cindy Leonard, Bayer Center
Fee: $125 ($115 if paid online)

DIY Websites with WordPress
Thursday, April 13 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Are you a website novice who needs to know how to design a basic website that is easy to update and has room for future expansion? WordPress is a website content management system that is great for building and managing websites, even for beginners. Nonprofit staff without previous web design experience and experienced web designers who want to learn WordPress are welcome.

Instructor: Cindy Leonard, Bayer Center
Fee: $125 ($115 if paid online)

Social Media Strategy for Nonprofits
Thursday, April 27 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Using social media for your organization requires planning, strategy and management. Learn what you should consider before getting your nonprofit started in the social media realm, what to expect afterwards and how to keep the ball rolling. You will have the opportunity to work on a draft strategic plan for your organization’s social media that you can take back to your office and refine. Basic social media concepts and terminology are recommended but not necessary for attending this class. We will focus on planning and strategy rather than on “how to” use the social media tools.

Instructor: Cindy Leonard, Bayer Center
Fee: $125 ($115 if paid online)

Celebrate the wrap-up of Steel City CodeFest at “NextFest” on April 7

About NextFest

Steel City Codefest 2017Steel City Codefest and Inclusive Innovation Week are teaming up to bring you a fair of tech for social good in Pittsburgh. Join us as we close out Inclusive Innovation Week and celebrate the participants of Steel City Codefest with food, speakers, and activities for all ages.


  • Mayor William Peduto, City of Pittsburgh
  • Councilman Burgess, City of Pittsburgh
  • Kate Dewey, The Forbes Fund
  • Leah Lizarondo, 412 Food Rescue
  • Awards to Steel City Codefest participants
  • Activities from Inclusive Innovation Week participants

Doors open at 4:30PM. Programming begins at 5:30PM.

Registration is free to all, get your tickets here!

Volunteers wanted for HackFest Pittsburgh event in April

Please note that the Bayer Center is not affiliated with this event. All inquiries should be directed to Presbyterian SeniorCare Network at srcarehackfest@srcare.org.

About HackFest Pittsburgh

Hackfest Pittsburgh is coming up on April 7-9. The event is being hosted by Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, who is seeking additional volunteers from a variety of backgrounds including developers, engineers, application designers, healthcare professionals, gerontologists, marketing professionals and business experts.

Here are the event details that have been provided by Presbyterian SeniorCareNetwork. You can also download their event flyer here or register for the event here.

Event Details

We’re looking for a good mix of talented people from a variety of backgrounds – both students and nonstudents – to be part of our local LeadingAge HackFest, where you will use technology to solve challenges facing older adults.

The local event will be held at Longwood at Oakmont, A Presbyterian SeniorCare Network Community, located in Verona, PA, from Friday, April 7 until Sunday, April 9.

FREE transportation available from the Oakland area to the Longwood at Oakmont location.

Rough agenda

  • Friday, April 7: 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. (includes dinner)
  • Saturday, April 8: 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Sunday, April 9: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (includes breakfast and lunch)

Cash prizes! Winning team from HackFest Pittsburgh will compete in the national HackFest competition in New Orleans, LA, October 29-November 1. Your travel, lodging and conference access paid!


  • Please apply as an individual. Our coordinators will develop teams of 4 to 6 participants. You may indicate in the notes section of the registration page if you want to be on a team with others you know. We will provide the tools you need to hack.
  • Remember: You must be 18 years of age to participate.
  • To round out the teams, we are looking for developers, engineers, application designers, healthcare professionals, gerontologists, marketing professionals and business experts.
  • The application period closes on Tuesday, March 21, at 11:30 p.m.
  • Your deposit is 100% refundable, which means we’ll give it back to you once you show up and participate in our HackFest.
  • Ideas will be generated at the event itself since we are seeking unique new ideas.
  • Please read and accept the HackFest official rules and legal disclosures (included as a waiver on the registration page).
  • If you have any questions, send an email to srcarehackfest@srcare.org.

Seven Ways to Make 2017 To Help Your Nonprofit Build Resilience

Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman are our guest authors today, giving us some useful advice on how techies (and everyone else!) can manage stress and build resilience in the workplace by creating good self-care habits and practices as an organization. They recently released the book The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit to provide organizations with a manifesto for a culture shift in the nonprofit sector, starting conversations about the importance of individual self-care and WE-care in the workplace.

Seven Ways to Make 2017 To Help Your Nonprofit Build Resilience
By Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman

Book cover of The Happy Healthy NonprofitWorking at a nonprofit can be a pressure cooker of stress and unhealthy habits that can lead to burnout. Burnout is defined as a “state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion that occurs when we feel overwhelmed by too many demands, too few resources, and too little recovery time.” Sounds like conditions at many nonprofits, doesn’t it?

An antidote to burnout is self-care. According to the World Health Organization, “self-care” is “what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness.” Engaging in appropriate and effective self-care at your organization requires a culture shift from self-sacrifice to self-care.

As we write in our book, The Happy Healthy Nonprofit, workplace activities that foster an ethos of “WE-care,” the organizational version of “Self-Care,” are typically group undertakings in the form of activities that help your staff work together to acquire self-care habits and practices.

Here are some ideas to help your nonprofit build resilience in 2017:

Communal Meals

Eating at your desk is unhealthy and isolating, and yet so many nonprofit workers squeeze in more work by doing just that. Build community and connections amongst staff with communal meals.Amy Sample Ward of NTEN noticed that staff was often eating at their desks. “So we decided to have a weekly communal healthy brown bag lunch on Thursdays. We have remote staff, so we bring them in via a Google Hangout, and they join us at the table.”

Get Fit Together

Exercise programs are probably one of the most common initiatives or employee benefits implemented to promote workplace wellbeing. Be creative about the fitness activities and also about how you equip your office to encourage exercise.Crisis Response Network in Tempe, Arizona transformed an old training room into an on-site workout room after employees said they would use it to “let off steam” from their stressful work. The organization’s health insurance carrier, Cigna, covered the cost of the equipment for the onsite gym under the organization’s plan.

Stand Up at Work

If “sitting is the new smoking,” according to Dr. James Levine who studies the destructive health effects of sitting too much, Gina Schmeling from Hazon, did her part to combat the ill effects when she ordered a Varidesk and used it at the office in an open, shared space.“It was often immediately noticeable to visitors and people arriving to work if I had it up,” says Schmeling. “When people were curious, I showed them how it worked, and told them how much I enjoyed it.” Whenever she travels, Gina invites fellow staff members to log in at her computer and stand at work.

Compete For Sleep

Sleep in the workplace may seem like an oxymoron, and sleeping on the job can be a bad thing. But without enough sleep, employees are unable to focus or perform simple tasks and lack patience.Create a friendly competition at your organization to encourage staff to get more sleep.

Meka S. Sales, Health Care Program Officer at The Duke Endowment, serves on an employee committee that oversees the Endowment’s wellbeing in the workplace initiatives. As part of the voluntary program, employees wear trackers that monitor not only fitness activity but also sleep. The organization holds monthly challenges including a sleep challenge. Participants said they gained a lot of awareness of their sleep habits and could improve them.

Group Accolades

Bringing compassion and caring into the workplace is a valid way to increase employee wellbeing. Scientists at Stanford University actually hold a conference called “Compassion and Business” and discussed how caring about your own wellbeing and caring for the wellbeing of others is not in conflict.

Giving kudos is a great way to care for co-workers. Taryn Degnan, former communications staff for Common Sense Media, said staff there did something in their office they called “SURPRAISE!” 50 to 75 colleagues write your praises all over Post-It notes that are stuck to an employee’s desk and computer. Degnan recalls. “It was an awesome way to have your spirits lifted and feel good about your place in the office — especially coming from many [people] you never talk to.”

Melanie Duppins of DonorsChoose says the number one reason why their employees have long tenures working for the organization is because of their “people-first culture.”  Her nonprofit uses ‘YouEarnedIt’ platform (http://youearnedit.com/) that allows staff to give each other shout outs and accumulate points. They can redeem those points for a cash donation to one of the DonorsChoose classrooms.

Building Community

Research shows that the way employees treat each other impacts stress levels. While there are techniques that individuals can use to manage toxic relationships in the workplace there are also ways your organization can foster a positive work environment such as establishing community building and kindness rituals.

At the Cara Program, a Chicago-based nonprofit that helps adults affected by homelessness and poverty get and keep quality jobs, stakeholders engages in a daily morning ritual that evolved organically over the organization’s 25-year history. Every morning, clients, staff and guests gather in a circle in the organization’s meeting room and answer a question of the day, such as, “Who or what gives you great joy and why?” or “What has happened in your life that has motivated you to change?” Participants share inspiring stories of personal growth and change. The morning ritual is not a visual show for donors but a chance for all to reflect on what makes everyone human. Staff and visitors alike say the experience is energizing.

Henry Tims, Executive Director of 92nd Street Y and co-founder of GivingTuesday, says a staff member, Rabbi Peter Rubenstein, leads a weekly Kiddush every Friday. His role is to oversee Jewish Life at the Y, something clearly at the core of their work. The weekly staff ritual is an opportunity to step back and connect with colleagues. Tims, who is not Jewish, says, “It provides such a simple but meaningful moment and has attracted not just Jewish colleagues but those of a range of faiths. Many look forward to it all week, just to take the chance to stop and be together. It reminded me of how powerful these rituals can be.

Mindfulness as a Team

Offering an option to take a break for mindfulness activities at work can benefit everyone on your team.The organization Idealist offers a comprehensive wellness program and employee benefits that promote wellbeing. Idealist has a staff member in New York City, Caroline Contillo, who is trained as a mindfulness instructor and leads a mindfulness break at the office on a weekly basis. They use an empty conference room, arrange chairs into a circle, and guide people through the techniques. There is time for questions and comments at the end. The whole practice takes about 30 minutes.

It has been a stressful year and we, in the nonprofit sector, need to collectively build our resilience muscles to be ready for whatever 2017 might bring our way. Are you ready to make and keep a happy healthy new year’s resolution for your nonprofit? Come join us and other nonprofit professionals who sharing ways to become more resilient in 2017.

Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman are the co-authors of The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout.

Beth KanterBeth Kanter (@kanter) was named one of the most influential women in technology by Fast Company and is the award-winning author of The Networked Nonprofit books. She is an internationally acclaimed master trainer and speaker.


Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman (@alizasherman) is a web and social media pioneer; founder of Cybergrrl, Inc., the first women-owned, full-service Internet company; and Webgrrls International, the first Internet networking organization for women. She is a motivational keynote speaker and the author of eleven books, including Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

Tips for Securing Your WordPress Website

Cindy Leonard, who manages the technology program for nonprofits at the Bayer Center, recently gave tips for securing your WordPress website in a Tribune Review article, “‘Pharma hack’ preys on small nonprofits to peddle Viagra online.

Leonard builds WordPress websites for nonprofits as part of her consulting practice at the Bayer Center. Visit the Bayer Center website to learn more about this and other technology services we provide to nonprofits.


March Technology Classes at the Bayer Center

Technology is the new magicMarch features a variety of tech classes, including advanced Excel, donor database management and Adobe InDesign! Register online or email bcnm@rmu.edu if you have questions (or want to register 3 or more people for a discount).

Advanced Excel
Tuesday, March 7 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The deeper you go into Excel, the more directions you can pursue. In this full-day class, we’ll have plenty of time to go beyond the typical functions and into more magic, timesaving techniques you may not have used before. We’ll cover creating links between sheets, text manipulation, pivot tables, advanced formulas and customizing charts beyond the wizard. This session will combine context for techniques, guided practice and ample time for questions.

Instructor: Cindy Leonard
Fee: $125 ($115 if paid online)

Conquering Your Donor Database Dragon
Thursday, March 9 from 9 a.m. – noon

Having a database with information in it is one thing. Being able to get the reports and information you need back out is another. Learn how to make your database work for you and how to utilize it in your various fundraising efforts. This session is designed to help you clean up your database and create a strategy to leverage the database so you can make more data-driven decisions and spend more time raising money for your mission.

Instructor: Dave Tinker, ACHIEVA
Fee: $65 ($55 if paid online)

Essentials of Adobe InDesign
Thursday, March 16 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Adobe InDesign has so many features it can be overwhelming for beginners. In this introductory class, we’ll explain the InDesign interface and tool sets, and cover the features most often used when creating publications with this software. We will create a variety of sample publications during the class so that you’ll walk away with actual hands-on experience with the software.

Instructor: Cindy Leonard, Bayer Center
Fee: $125 ($115 if paid online)

February Technology Classes at the Bayer Center

Technology is the new magicFebruary kicks off our spring semester of tech classes with Excel Day! Register online or email bcnm@rmu.edu if you have questions (or want to register 3 or more people for a discount).


Introduction to Excel
Tuesday, Feb. 28 from 9 a.m. – noon

Learn Excel basics in the morning session including:

  • Worksheet creation
  • Formula creation
  • Cell formatting using “mouse pointers”
  • Absolute cell references
  • Printing your worksheet

Instructor: Cindy Leonard, Bayer Center
Fee: $65 ($55 if paid online) per session OR $100 for the whole day

Intermediate Excel
Tuesday, Feb. 28 from 1 – 4 p.m.

Learn more about Excel in the afternoon including:

  • Worksheet templates creation and use
  • Using functions
  • Creating links between worksheets
  • Database features
  • Chart creation and formatting

Instructor: Cindy Leonard, Bayer Center
Fee: $65 ($55 if paid online) per session OR $100 for the whole day