5 Behavioral Science Theories to Convert One-Time Donors to Recurring Donors

The following is a guest post by Creative Science, a digital agency that aligns behavioral science with design and technology to help companies rethink the way they engage with people. Learn more at www.creativescience.co.


The average nonprofit only retains 21% of their donor base year over year.

The term LTV (lifetime value) of a customer is often talked about in the for-profit space but can often be overlooked in the social good space. This is a critical KPI (key performance indicator) to track in order to build a successful nonprofit and speaks to the underlying sustainable health of your donor base. The LTV of a donor is simply the amount of money given over the lifetime of the donor.

In contrast, CAC (customer acquisition cost) is the cost to acquire a donor. The LTV needs to be higher than the CAC or you are losing money on every donor you acquire. There are two ways to increase donor margins; either decrease your CAC or increase your LTV.

Today we’re going to look at increasing the LTV of your donor base. Specifically, focusing on converting one-time donors to recurring donors (rather than finding new donors every year).

Recurring donors give on average 42% more over a year than one-time donors. Typically recurring donor programs enjoy retention rates of over 80% in year one and 95% after 5 years. This has a strong compounding effect and a great way to build sustainability into your social good organization.

So, how do you successfully convert one-time donors to recurring donors?

It starts with understanding five key theories from behavioral science, the study of how humans make decisions.

1. Certainty Bias

Assuring potential supporters that their support will have a certain effect will make your nonprofit more appealing than other nonprofits in which the impact of the donor’s contribution is probable, but not certain.

Screenshot of a donation page

Donation landing page showcasing exactly what each donation provides.

Studies show donors are more likely to give when they understand the impact of their donation. Provide your donors with visibility into how their money will be spent and the impact it is making. Even if you cannot directly relate, it is critical you do provide some visibility into these metrics.

2. Anchoring

Anchoring refers to the cognitive bias to use another number (even if unrelated) as reference for a decision. Provide donors with a reference point of how much they should donate.

Sample donation page

You can do this by referencing that specific donor’s previous donation amount or by referencing the donation amount of a random previous donor.

3. Default Bias

Make it easy. Humans have a cognitive bias to default to the path of least resistance.

sample donation page

If you’re sending a recurring donor to a donation form, don’t provide the option to donate once. Have ‘monthly’ donation select as the default with a default donation amount selected. Ensure your donation forms are mobile optimized. There is a high chance that a donor will experience your donation processing on a mobile device and if it’s too much work they won’t complete the process.

4. Hyperbolic Discounting

Humans tend to discount the future, we prefer smaller rewards now rather than larger rewards at a later date. Would you prefer $20 today or $30 in six months?

You can use this to your advantage by asking donors to pledge to a larger donation amount in the future. Ask donors to commit to just a $1 a month today with a pledge to increase their monthly donation to $5 six months in the future.

5. Reciprocity Effect

If you subscribed to the Economist and stopped receiving your monthly magazine, what would you do? You would cancel.

sample donation page on a mobile phone

The same holds true with a recurring giving program. It is critical to provide updates at least monthly to donors so they are reminded of the impact their giving is making. This can be a simple email update or even an SMS text notification.

95% of all our thoughts, emotions and learning occur before we are even aware of it. Integrating these behavioral science theories into your monthly giving program will allow you to work with the human mind rather than against it.

TechNow 2018 Conference Registration closes Sept. 28!

TechNow: A technology conference for nonprofitsAbout TechNow

Join us on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, for the 15th anniversary of the TechNow Conference, organized by The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University. Anyone who has an interest or stake in their nonprofit’s technology management or usage is encouraged to attend.  TechNow has something for everyone!

TechNow 2018 will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Registration opened July 1. Visit the conference website, www.technowconference.org, for more information.

Registration Fees

This year, thanks to Microsoft sponsorship assistance, we are able to offer nonprofit organizations tiered, budget-based pricing for TechNow registration:

  • Nonprofits (Based on annual budget)
    • Under $500,000: $25/person
    • $500,001 – 2,000,000: $50/person
    • $2,000,001 – 5,000,000: $75/person
    • $5,000,001 and up: $100/person
  • For-profit companies and independent consultants: $200/person
  • University and college students: $25/person

Learn more and register at: http://technowconference.org/registration/.


Headline sponsor

Microsoft

About Lucy Bernholz, Ph.D. – Our 2018 TechNow Conference Keynote

For this year’s TechNow conference keynote speaker, we are delighted to feature Lucy Bernholz from Stanford University! Among her many duties and projects there, Lucy annually writes a report called the Blueprint, in which she makes (pretty doggone accurate) predictions for the coming year on technology, philanthropy and digital civil society.

You can download her 2018 Blueprint for free here. Lucy is expecting to have her 2019 Blueprint drafted by the date of the conference and we are looking forward to hearing a preview of her predictions for the coming year!

Learn more about TechNow and register at www.technowconference.org. Thanks to Microsoft sponsorship assistance this year, we are able to offer affordable, tiered registration fees for nonprofit organizations.

Lucy Bernholz, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scholar, Stanford University

Lucy Bernholz

Bernholz is a Senior Research Scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and Director of the Digital Civil Society Lab. She has been a Visiting Scholar at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and a Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, the Hybrid Reality Institute, and the New America Foundation. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including the annual Blueprint Series on Philanthropy and the Social Economy, the 2010 publication Disrupting Philanthropy, and her 2004 book Creating Philanthropic Capital Markets: The Deliberate Evolution. She is a co-editor of Philanthropy in Democratic Societies, published in 2016 by the University of Chicago Press. She writes extensively on philanthropy, technology, and policy on her award winning blog, philanthropy2173.com.

She studied history and has a B.A. from Yale University, where she played field hockey and captained the lacrosse team, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Follow Lucy on Twitter: @p2173


Headline sponsor

Microsoft

TechNow 2018 Conference Registration is Open!

TechNow: A technology conference for nonprofitsAbout TechNow

Join us on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, for the 15th anniversary of the TechNow Conference, organized by The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University.  Anyone who has an interest or stake in their nonprofit’s technology management or usage is encouraged to attend.  TechNow has something for everyone!

TechNow 2018 will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Registration opened July 1. Visit the conference website, www.technowconference.org, for more information.

Registration Fees

This year, thanks to Microsoft sponsorship assistance, we are able to offer nonprofit organizations tiered, budget-based pricing for TechNow registration:

  • Nonprofits (Based on annual budget)
    • Under $500,000: $25/person
    • $500,001 – 2,000,000: $50/person
    • $2,000,001 – 5,000,000: $75/person
    • $5,000,001 and up: $100/person
  • For-profit companies and independent consultants: $200/person
  • University and college students: $25/person

Learn more and register at: http://technowconference.org/registration/.


Headline sponsor

Microsoft

TechNow 2018 Conference Registration Opens in 2 Weeks!

TechNow: A technology conference for nonprofitsAbout TechNow

Join us on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, for the 15th anniversary of the TechNow Conference, organized by The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University.  Anyone who has an interest or stake in his or her nonprofit’s technology management or usage is encouraged to attend.  TechNow has something for everyone!

TechNow 2018 will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Registration opens July 1. Visit the conference website, www.technowconference.org, for more information.


Our Keynote Speaker

Lucy Bernholz, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scholar, Stanford University

Lucy Bernholz

Bernholz is a Senior Research Scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and Director of the Digital Civil Society Lab. She has been a Visiting Scholar at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and a Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, the Hybrid Reality Institute, and the New America Foundation. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including the annual Blueprint Series on Philanthropy and the Social Economy, the 2010 publication Disrupting Philanthropy, and her 2004 book Creating Philanthropic Capital Markets: The Deliberate Evolution. She is a co-editor of Philanthropy in Democratic Societies, published in 2016 by the University of Chicago Press. She writes extensively on philanthropy, technology, and policy on her award winning blog, philanthropy2173.com.

She studied history and has a B.A. from Yale University, where she played field hockey and captained the lacrosse team, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Follow Lucy on Twitter: @p2173


Headline sponsor

Microsoft

NEW at the Bayer Center: Microsoft Summer Bootcamp 2018

MicrosoftAbout the program

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsor, Microsoft Corporation, the Bayer Center is offering a two-day intensive Microsoft product and technology training program FREE of charge to nonprofits in the Pittsburgh region. (A $250 value!)

There are a limited number of seats available. Applications will be accepted through June 30, 2018. We will notify applicants about acceptance in early July 2018.


The program will be held in two separate cohort groups on the following dates:

  • July 25-26, 2018
  • August 22-23, 2018

Applicants must attend both days of one cohort or the other (e.g.. cannot select to attend Day 1 from one cohort date and Day 2 from the other cohort date).

Both program cohorts will be located at:

The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at RMU Downtown
339 Sixth Avenue, Suite 750
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Laptops will be provided for the hands-on instruction portions of the program.

Program Agenda:

Day 1
9 am – 10 am: Getting to Know Windows 10
10 am – 11 am: Microsoft Word 2016 Tips and Tricks
11 am – 12 pm: Fundamentals of PowerPoint 2016
12 pm – 1 pm: LUNCH (please plan to bring brown bag or eat out)
1 pm – 2 pm: Online Safety – What You Need to Know
2 pm – 3 pm: Fundamentals of OneNote 2016
3 pm – 4 pm: Cybersecurity Basics for Nonprofits
Day 2
9 am – 12 pm: Introduction to Microsoft Excel 2016
12 pm – 1 pm: LUNCH (please plan to bring brown bag or eat out)
1 pm – 4 pm: Intermediate Excel 2016

Program Instructors:

Cindy Leonard is Consulting Team Leader at the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University. She manages the consulting program and technology program, working with the consulting team to maximize client satisfaction and identify areas for growth. Her own consulting specialty is helping nonprofits leverage technology to meet their missions. In addition to technology assessments, planning and decision support, she specializes in website development on the WordPress platform and community organizing around nonprofits+technology. She presently serves on the board of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management. She holds a B.S. in computer science, an M.B.A. and a M.Ed. in instructional design technology, all from Seton Hill University.

Gina McGrath is the Technology Director at the YWCA Westmoreland County. In addition to being the network administrator for the organization’s two sites, Gina also manages the YWCA Technology Center, creating the curriculum and class schedules and regularly teaches technology classes to adult learners. She also manages the afterschool YWCA TechGYRLS robotics program, organizes the nonprofit technology meetup group, Bagels & Bytes in Westmoreland County and is an adjunct instructor at Westmoreland County Community College. Gina holds an associate degree in computer science from Westmoreland County Community College and a bachelor of science in business management/information technology from Seton Hill University.

Additional Information:

  • There is no registration fee for this program. (Course value is $250.)
  • Applications will be accepted until June 30, 2018.
  • Only one applicant per organization will be accepted.
  • Preference will be given to organizations with small- to medium-sized annual budgets.
  • Parking, travel and lunch costs are the responsibility of the applicant or the applicant’s organization and will not be reimbursed.
  • If an applicant is accepted to the program and is unable to attend, the organization is responsible for giving the Bayer Center notice 5 days prior to the start date of the program and must send another staff member in the applicant’s place.

How to Apply:

Apply for the program today!

Questions?

Please email Cindy Leonard, leonard@rmu.edu, with any questions you may have about the program.

Call for Breakout Proposals: TechNow 2018 Conference

TechNow: A technology conference for nonprofits

Share your technology knowledge or “lessons learned” story with other nonprofits at a TechNow 2018 breakout session!

We are looking for leading edge, well-designed and interactive breakout sessions.  The content and format must fit into a 60-minute session. Vendors and consultants are permitted to propose sessions, but we prefer that a nonprofit co-presenter be included. (We can help you find one, if needed.)

To complete the breakout session proposal form easily, you’ll want to have the following information ready:

  • Working title for session
  • Session description (100 words max)
  • Three key takeaways
  • Name, contact information (including address, email and phone) and a bio (100 words max) for at least one speaker

Propose a Breakout Session now!
Session proposals are due by the close of business on Friday, May 18, 2018.


Contact Cindy Leonard at the Bayer Center if you have any questions – leonard@rmu.edu – or visit the conference website for more information.

Save the Date: TechNow 2018 Conference is Wednesday, October 3, 2018

TechNow: A technology conference for nonprofitsAbout TechNow

Join us on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, for the 15th anniversary of the TechNow Conference, organized by The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University.  Anyone who has an interest or stake in his or her nonprofit’s technology management or usage is encouraged to attend.  TechNow has something for everyone!

TechNow 2018 will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Registration opens July 1. Visit the conference website, www.technowconference.org, for more information.


Our Keynote Speaker

Lucy Bernholz, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scholar, Stanford University

Lucy Bernholz

Bernholz is a Senior Research Scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and Director of the Digital Civil Society Lab. She has been a Visiting Scholar at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and a Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, the Hybrid Reality Institute, and the New America Foundation. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including the annual Blueprint Series on Philanthropy and the Social Economy, the 2010 publication Disrupting Philanthropy, and her 2004 book Creating Philanthropic Capital Markets: The Deliberate Evolution. She is a co-editor of Philanthropy in Democratic Societies, published in 2016 by the University of Chicago Press. She writes extensively on philanthropy, technology, and policy on her award winning blog, philanthropy2173.com.

She studied history and has a B.A. from Yale University, where she played field hockey and captained the lacrosse team, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Follow Lucy on Twitter: @p2173

April 2018 Technology Classes at the Bayer Center

Tech Wizard - this could be you!Taking a tech class at the Bayer Center is an affordable way to sharpen your skills in a user-friendly, comfortable environment!

To register for any of these classes:


SERIES: Work Smarter Not Harder – Technology Integration for any Size Organization

Social media, email, marketing, accounting – everything has a system. Does it feel like managing a circus? Don’t throw your hands up! This fast-paced, practical course will demystify systems and teach you how to pull the pieces together effectively and efficiently. Integrating your technology saves time, money, headaches, and expedites growth. You’ll leave with a solid understanding of how digital systems work together, an integration plan for your organization, and a toolbox of resources to help you learn more and implement your plan.

Intro to Integration:What it Means, How It Works and Why It Matters 
Monday, April 9 from 1– 4 p.m.

Discover why integrating technology is essential to the growth of your organization and how to keep your sanity during the process. Learn commonly-used technical terms and techniques, and what it means to integrate technology. We will also explore why technology integration is a mindset and leadership issue, and how to foster collaboration.

Doing Your Homework: Creating a Technology Plan That Grows with Your Organization
Monday, April 16 from 1– 4 p.m.

Learn how to identify the technology needs of your organization now, while keeping an eye on the future. We will discuss how to evaluate systems like Mailchimp, Quickbooks, etc., to create ease-of-use and compatibility for your organization. Additionally, you’ll learn how systems can help you identify new opportunities.

Organizing and Using Your Data
Monday, April 23 from 1– 4 p.m.

Discuss different data metrics, what they mean, and how to decide which metrics matter for your organization. You’ll learn how to use data to tell your story and we’ll cover data visualization as well – what it means and how to do it.

Instructor: Connie Capiotis, Digital Bridges Pittsburgh
Fee: $65 ($55 if paid online) per session OR $150 for all three classes in the series


Writing for the Web and Social Media
Tuesday, April 17 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)


Advanced Excel
Thursday, April 19 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, time-saving 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, Bayer Center
Fee: $125 ($115 if paid online)

How Hackable is Your Password?

While information security can be a challenge for nonprofits in general (e.g., lack of resources, lack of knowledge, lack of in-house technology staff, etc.) – there is one simple thing that everyone working at a nonprofit can do to improve security:

USE STRONG PASSWORDS!

Most of us have either made or heard the usual excuse (“That’s too hard, I’ll never remember it!”) and some of us even use the same weak password for multiple accounts. Even if your face is turning beet red right now with shame, keep reading…it might save your life someday.

But…I’m not a target for hackers

If you are reading this and thinking “oh, why would anyone want to hack my stuff?” – consider that hackers don’t actively sit there at their computers and look for attractive targets. Hackers use software apps that let them scan hundreds or thousands of sites and accounts automatically, looking for flaws and ways into a system. They also have apps that let them try “brute force” attacks, which essentially means trying password after password (computer generated as well) until something works.

What’s a “strong” password these days?

A strong password contains a combination of letters, numbers and special characters like @, #, %. However, that’s not enough. The length of your password also makes a difference:

Amount of time to crack passwords

How are you feeling about your password strength now?

Other ways to improve password strength

Some of these may be obvious, but they are worth repeating here because, after all of the news we hear about hacking and compromised accounts, many people are still kinda lazy about passwords.

  • Don’t use a common word or a dictionary word. You can use a phrase, but even then you’ll want to mix it up a bit.
  • Use 2-step verification if it’s an option. Yes, 2-step verification is a pain in the behind that gets no love from anybody. It sure beats all the work you have to do to clean up identity theft though.
  • Change your password regularly. If you are the person responsible for your nonprofit’s technology, set password policies that enforce regular password changes.
  • Don’t give your password to anyone else. Regardless of the situation or need.

As a final thought, here’s a great infographic on creating strong passwords:

Creating strong passwords

 

Tech Chats for Nonprofits in January 2018

Steel City Codefest Tech Chats 2018

As part of Steel City Codefest’s commitment to assisting local government and nonprofit organizations in finding tech solutions to their tech challenges, they will be hosting six Tech Chats in January 2018.

These Tech Chats will provide an opportunity for local government and nonprofits to meet with a panel of tech experts to discuss their technical questions one-on-one (Cindy Leonard of the Bayer Center will be a panelist at the January 22 Tech Chat). Participants are encouraged to come prepared with technical questions/challenges to discuss. The experts will provide potential technology solutions to your issues, focusing on tools that are free or low cost.

Register today! The dates, times and locations of the Tech Chats are listed below.

January 16th
Google Pittsburgh
5 PM – 6:30 PM

January 17th
The Millvale Moose
9 AM – 10:30 AM

January 18th
The Braddock Carnegie Library
5 PM – 6:30 PM

January 19th
Google Pittsburgh
9 AM – 10:30 AM

January 22nd
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Downtown
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

January 23rd
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Downtown
9 AM – 10:30 AM

Get answers to your tech questions at Bagels & Bytes Meetups

Bagels & Bytes meeting at the Frick Art & Historical Center

Why come to a nonprofit technology meetup?

If you are managing technology at your nonprofit, whether intentionally or accidentally, it’s useful and healthy to connect with other people doing similar work. The Bayer Center organizes the Bagels & Bytes meetups to provide space for the #NPtech community to connect and communicate.

About Bagels & Bytes meetups

If you’ve never attended Bagels & Bytes, we welcome you to check us out! If you used to attend, but haven’t in a while, make 2018 your year to come back. Everyone needs to take time out for “sharpening the saw” – we all need to build in time for stepping back, reflecting and getting our creative juices flowing again. Bagels & Bytes is just one way to do this.

2018 meetup dates

Check out the Bagels & Bytes blog to see past meeting notes or join us on Meetup.com for easy reminders and meeting RSVPs! Here are the B&B dates and locations booked so far for 2018:

Bagels & Bytes – Allegheny group

The first Wednesday of each month except for January and July from 8:30-10 AM.

  • January – No meetup this month
  • February 7 – Grow Pittsburgh
  • March 7 – Grow Pittsburgh
  • April 4 – Frick Art & Historical Center
  • May 2 – Frick Art & Historical Center
  • June 6 – TBD
  • July – No meetup this month
  • August 1 – Jewish Residential Services
  • September 5 – Jewish Residential Services
  • October 3 – ACHIEVA
  • November 7 – ACHIEVA
  • December 14 (1-4 pm) – Dave & Busters (“Bagels & Bytes Holiday Meetup”)

Bagels & Bytes – Westmoreland group

The third Tuesday of every other month, January/March/May/July/September/November, from 8:00-9:30 AM, typically at King’s Restaurant on Rte. 30, west of Greensburg.

Cool Tech Tool: Canva

Have you ever wanted to create an infographic to display your nonprofit’s data in a visual format but just don’t have the graphic design chops? Give Canva a try!

Canva is an amazing tool for creating infographics of all kinds. You choose a template, then add your data. You can then modify font sizes and styles, colors, add stock photos and graphics, then download your infographic for use on your website or anywhere else you’d like.

You can also use Canva to design ads, postcards, flyers, business cards and more.

Best of all, Canva offers its premium version (all the best templates and stock photos/graphics) for FREE to nonprofits!

Learn more and sign up at Canva.com.

Screenshot of Canva software tool

Upcoming Technology Classes at the Bayer Center

LearnTaking a tech class at the Bayer Center is an affordable way to sharpen your skills in a user-friendly, comfortable environment!

To register for any of these classes:


Social Media Strategy for Nonprofits
Tuesday, Nov. 28 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)


120,000 Reasons to Learn About Google AdWords Grants
Wednesday, Nov. 29 from 1 – 4 p.m.

Google offers free advertising to nonprofits through AdWords, a tool that powers 3 billion search queries per day. This course helps nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 status and an active website qualify for $120,000 of annual ad spend, and explores how to use AdWords to drive more website traffic and donations. Unfortunately, government programs, hospitals and schools are excluded from the program.

Instructor: Andy Garberson, LunaMetrics
Fee: $65 ($55 if paid online)


Organizing and Using Your Data
Thursday, Dec. 7 from 1 – 4 p.m.

Discuss different data metrics, what they mean, and how to decide which metrics matter for your organization. You’ll learn how to use data to tell your story and we’ll cover data visualization as well – what it means and how to do it.

Instructor: Connie Capiotis, Digital Bridges Pittsburgh
Fee: $65 ($55 if paid online)

Upcoming Technology Classes at the Bayer Center

Technology is the new magicBecome a technology wizard this Halloween! Learn about building a website with WordPress, analyzing technology risk, using Microsoft Excel, creating a press kit for your website or writing grants for technology!

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

DIY Websites with WordPress
Tuesday, Oct. 31 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)


Assessment and Analysis of Technology Risk 
Monday, Nov. 6 from 1 – 4 p.m.

What is Technology Risk management and where do you begin? This course is intended to give management a baseline to develop an infrastructure that is manageable to navigate the risk related to the technology structure within the organization.

Instructor: Stephanie Bucklew, SLB Consulting
Fee: $65 ($55 if paid online)


Excel Day: Introduction to Excel 2010 
Friday, November 10 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, and printing your worksheet.

Excel Day: Intermediate Excel 2010
Friday, November 10 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, and chart creation and formatting.

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


How to Create a Press Kit for Your Website
Monday, Nov. 13 from 1 – 4 p.m.

Having a press kit on your website is a smart way to attract media coverage and attention that doesn’t take a lot of time or cost a lot of money. In this half-day workshop, you’ll learn a you step-by-step process to create a complete press kit, including the five components of a press kit; how to write a bio that stands out; common mistakes made with press photos; what to include in your fact sheet; how to write a press release that gets attention; wow to invite media to your special event.

Instructor: Beth Caldwell, author, columnist and publicity expert
Fee: $65 ($55 if paid online)


Grant Writing for Technology 
Wednesday, Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. – noon

This session is for anyone who is serving in nonprofit roles with responsibility for technology infrastructure, educational programs and grants/fundraising. Both new and experienced grant writers will find helpful information and action-oriented tools to identify funders, and develop and improve grant proposals for technology grant requests. Topics to be covered include grant seeking process; identifying best fit funders (BFF’s); ten issues to address in grant proposals to foundations; preparing online grant submissions; grant strategies for technology.

Instructor: Katherine F.H. Heart, Heart Resources, LLC
Fee: $65 ($55 if paid online) OR $150 for all three grant writing sessions

Still time to register: Aliza Sherman to keynote TechNow 2017 Conference on 10/19

TechNow: A technology conference for nonprofitsAbout TechNow

Join us on Thursday, October 19, 2017, for the 14th annual TechNow Conference, organized by The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University.  Anyone who has an interest or stake in his or her nonprofit’s technology management or usage is encouraged to attend.  TechNow has something for everyone!

TechNow 2017 will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Visit the conference website, www.technowconference.org, for more information.


Aliza ShermanOur Keynote Speaker

Aliza Sherman
Digital Strategist, Author, Speaker, Consultant

Aliza Sherman helped pave the way for women online and in the Internet industry. She is a web and social mobile pioneer whose work helped shape the early new media industry. In addition to starting the first woman-owned Internet company in the early 90s, Cybergrrl, Inc., she has been writing, speaking and consulting about social media since 2006 and social mobile marketing since 2010. She is also well known for her expertise on women’s technology and business issues.

She is an advocate of sensible, practical and manageable uses of technology that achieve business goals. She deftly cuts through hype to get to the essence of what tech tools to use and how to use them well for optimal results.

She has written 11 books, most recently The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit with Beth Kanter.

Follow Aliza on Twitter: @alizasherman

September Technology Classes at the Bayer Center

Technology is the new magicLearn something new in September! Classes include Introduction to Excel and Intermediate Excel!

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

Excel Day

Introduction to Excel
Thursday, Sept. 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, and printing your worksheet.

Intermediate Excel
Thursday, Sept. 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, and chart creation and formatting.

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

TechNow 2017 Breakout Sessions & Speakers Announced!

About TechNow

TechNow: A technology conference for nonprofitsBreakout sessions and speakers have been posted for the 14th annual TechNow Conference! TechNow is slated for Thursday, October 19 and is organized by The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University. TechNow 2017 will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Anyone who has an interest or stake in his or her nonprofit’s technology management or usage is encouraged to attend. TechNow has something for everyone!

A preview of session titles and speakers follows. Visit the conference website, www.technowconference.org, for more information about each session!


Breakout Sessions 1 (10:30 – 11:45 AM)

  • Security Soup to Nuts: Assessing and Addressing Risk
    Speakers: Stephanie L. Bucklew, SLB Consulting; Katie Robson, The Pittsburgh Foundation
  • One Small Step for Technology: The Art of the Micro-Improvement
    Speaker: Dan Fang, Tickets for Kids Charities
  • Meet Your Mission without Breaking the Bank: Free and Pro Bono Technology for Your Cause
    Speaker: Peggy Duvette, Oracle+NetSuite

Breakout Sessions 2 (1:00 – 2:15 PM)

  • Technology Manual: You DO need one!
    Speaker: Arwen Lavengood Davis, MPA
  • Keeping IT Afloat: What to Expect When a Techie Decides to Leave
    Speaker: Nicole DeVault, ACHIEVA
  • Leveraging Technology for Mission-Critical Results: Two Local Case Studies
    Speakers: Colleen O. Fedor, The Mentoring Partnership; David J. Mosey, Smart Futures; Kate Brennan, M.Ed., NurturePA

Breakout Sessions 3 (2:30 – 3:45 PM)

  • Square Pegs and Round Holes: How We Upgraded Our Database
    Speaker: Brittany Zuckerman, Breathe Pennsylvania
  • Better Together: Organizing and Scaling Volunteer Management with Technology
    Speaker: Connor Sites-Bowen, Global Links
  • Accidental Techie: How to Balance the Workload without Losing Your Mind
    Speakers: Arwen Lavengood Davis, MPA; Bethany Hemingway, Staunton Farm Foundation

Summer Technology Classes at the Bayer Center

Technology is the new magicLearn something new this summer! Classes include Writing for the Web & Social Media and Telling an Impactful Story with Data!

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
Wednesday, June 28 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)


Telling an Impactful Story with Data
Friday, June 30 from 9 a.m. – noon

Finding stories in data can be a challenge. Where should you turn for sources? How can you confidently report them? This workshop will introduce the typical kinds of stories that can be found in data, provide an introduction to economic impact and the types of data used in an analysis, and give you practice in finding your own data stories. You’ll feel more confident “reading” datasets to uncover the stories they contain. A great resource for grant writers, project evaluators, strategic planning, or anyone interested in learning more about the communities you serve.

Come and learn how to access and extract community data, hone your data-storytelling skills, and understand how economic impact
reporting can benefit your organization!

Instructor: David Primm, IMPLAN
Fee: $65 ($55 if paid online)

NTEN Releases its 10th Annual Nonprofit Technology Staffing & Investments Report

Cover of the 10th Annual Nonprofit Technology Staffing & Investments ReportThe Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) recently released its 10th Annual Nonprofit Technology Staffing and Investments Report. This report is invaluable for benchmarking your nonprofit’s technology spending and staffing:

“How do you know how many tech staff is the right number for your organization? How much is an appropriate investment for a nonprofit of your size? Find out how other nonprofits are investing in technology staff, hardware, and services and see how they compare to yours.

The tenth annual Nonprofit Technology Staffing and Investments Report comprises data from more than 250 organizations. This one-of-a-kind resource will help you guide your nonprofit to smarter, more agile and sustainable engagement with tech.”

Download the report for free today!

Protecting Your Organization from Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware is a type of cyber attack that locks a users files and forces a payment in return for unlocking the files.

Last week’s ransomware attack was possibly the most widespread and complex global cyber attack to date. In the wake of this incident, we think it’s important to reiterate things you can do to protect your nonprofit (and yourself) from becoming a victim during similar attacks in the future.

On the hardware and software side:

  1. Run updates as soon as they are available. Use the auto-update feature if the software has one. This applies to your operating system, Java, drivers and any other software you have installed.
  2. Backup your files. Preferably in the cloud, but even an external hard drive is better than no backup at all.
  3. Use anti-virus software, anti-malware software and make sure you have hardware and software firewalls in place.

On the user side (and this is the harder part to control):

  1. Educate users about not clicking links in emails from senders they don’t know.
  2. Educate users not to download files from emails and websites they don’t know or trust.
  3. Educate users about “phishing” – how emails can look like they come from a reputable source but aren’t the real deal.

Finally, here’s an article advising what to do if you get hacked by ransomware.

 

It’s Time for Bagels & Bytes: Open Source Summer Fiesta!

Computer Reach, Humanitarian Computer OutreachIt’s time for our special June B&B meetup!  This year, we will hold our summer meetup, the “Open Source Summer Fiesta,” at Computer Reach on June 7.

As usual, bring your tech questions, ideas, and issues. Join our fellowship of nonprofit techies (all levels of knowledge are equally welcome) as we brainstorm, share ideas and solutions, and support each other.

Additionally, we will receive a demo of the Linux operating system and other open source software from the Computer Reach folks, who will explain how they refurbish computers for nonprofits using these tools!

Bagels & Bytes: Open Source Summer Fiesta

  • Wednesday, June 7, 2017
  • 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
  • Computer Reach, 214 North Lexington Street, Pittsburgh, PA (East End, inside Construction Junction)
  • Parking is available in Construction Junction’s lot.
  • The meeting is FREE to attend, but you must register online or via Meetup.com.

Save the Date: TechNow 2017 Conference happening October 19

TechNow: A technology conference for nonprofitsAbout TechNow

Join us on Thursday, October 19, 2017, for the 14th annual TechNow Conference, organized by The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University.  Anyone who has an interest or stake in his or her nonprofit’s technology management or usage is encouraged to attend.  TechNow has something for everyone!

TechNow 2017 will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Visit the conference website, www.technowconference.org, for more information.


Aliza ShermanOur Keynote Speaker

Aliza Sherman
Digital Strategist, Author, Speaker, Consultant

Aliza Sherman helped pave the way for women online and in the Internet industry. She is a web and social mobile pioneer whose work helped shape the early new media industry. In addition to starting the first woman-owned Internet company in the early 90s, Cybergrrl, Inc., she has been writing, speaking and consulting about social media since 2006 and social mobile marketing since 2010. She is also well known for her expertise on women’s technology and business issues.

She is an advocate of sensible, practical and manageable uses of technology that achieve business goals. She deftly cuts through hype to get to the essence of what tech tools to use and how to use them well for optimal results.

She has written 11 books, most recently The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit with Beth Kanter.

Follow Aliza on Twitter: @alizasherman

Call for Breakout Proposals: TechNow 2017 Conference

TechNow: A technology conference for nonprofits

Share your technology knowledge or “lessons learned” story with other nonprofits at a TechNow 2017 breakout session!

We are looking for leading edge, well-designed and interactive breakout sessions.  The content and format must fit into a 75-minute session.  Vendors are permitted to propose sessions, but we prefer that a nonprofit co-presenter be included.  (We can help you find one, if needed.)


Propose a Breakout Session now!
Session proposals are due by the close of business on Friday, June 2, 2017.


Contact Cindy Leonard at the Bayer Center if you have any questions – leonard@rmu.edu – or visit the conference website for more information.

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.

Featuring:

  • 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!

Instructions

  • 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.