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Breakout Sessions by Time

Round 1 Sessions

Better Photography Starting Now! (7:30 – 8:45 a.m.)
It’s pretty easy in photography to become afflicted with Gear Acquisition Syndrome—the belief that more gear, different gear, and better gear will make you a better photographer. In this session, you’ll learn how to get better results from the equipment you have now—whether that’s an iPhone or a high-end DSLR. We’ll work through 10 easy-to-understand photo suggestions (nobody likes “rules”) that you can apply right away to get better pictures. We’ll look at lots of photo samples, have plenty of time for discussion and questions, and introduce the critical concept known as data migration. This is a shooting course, rather than an editing course, with a focus on practical ways to start getting better photographs today!
Evan Johnson, founder, Ellida Productions

Big Data: Creating Better Organizational Intelligence (7:30 – 8:45 a.m.)
Big data is a big topic. Organizations small and large have data to manage, and your services are increasingly impacted by big data. Funders are asking for broader community outcomes and your participation in results. Technology has made more information accessible to anyone, but how do you translate the data and communicate it with your constituents. Our panel will discuss different vehicles for collecting and communicating big data, how to interpret the data and how to use the data to further your mission. 
Joel Barker, vice president, chief development officer, Fraser and and Rebecca Shavlik, executive director, Shavlik Family Foundation

Creating Successful Projects with Volunteer Technologists (7:30 - 8:45 a.m.)
The hard part is over, you think… You’ve found a volunteer who is willing to complete your technology project, pro bono! Whether it’s a website fix, database upgrade or system installation, you’ve now got a nerdy partner to make it happen. But, this is only the beginning! Now you need to work directly with the technologist(s) to define, design, develop and deploy your project. In this session, we’ll discuss how to successfully find and partner with a technology volunteer (or team). Learn what they need from you in each phase of the project, how to keep them engaged, and how to launch a successful project with pro bono technology talent. Based on a decade of experience working with volunteer technologists, we’ll share what makes the best technologist relationships successful. 
Ginger Sorvari Bucklin, executive director, The Nerdery Foundation

Communicating Justly: How to Live Equity Values Online (7:30 – 8:45 a.m.)
Now, more than ever, it's imperative for nonprofits and their leaders to tell bold, brave and unwavering stories of solidarity both in person - and online. This workshop-style session will help you create a framework for how you and your organization can show up online in ways that elevate historically quieted voices and bring equity into action. This is an intermediate session designed for attendees and organizations who are familiar with the field of diversity, equity and inclusion and have *already begun* the work of practicing self-awareness around their own identities as they relate to systems of oppression.
Kate Downing Khaled, managing director, Imagine Deliver

Implementing Integrated Strategies for Stronger Communications Results (7:30 – 8:30 a.m.)
The communications landscape has changed and traditional communications methods are delivering fewer and fewer results. Many nonprofit marketers are abandoning traditional tactics in favor of integrated marketing, an approach that allows different marketing and communications channels like online, social media, direct mail and others to work together in a synchronized fashion. Although integrated marketing strategies often deliver stronger results, it’s not always clear where to begin. In this session, attendees will gain a practical and real-world approach to developing integrated communications strategies. This approach is focused specifically on tactics that drive significantly stronger results in terms of brand awareness, donor and volunteer engagement, and overall communications results. Attendees will learn the steps involved in creating integrated strategies that work, without becoming too complicated or unwieldy. 
Vicky Couillard, executive director, Vail Place and Bonnie Harris, C.E.O., Wax Marketing

Online Marketing Trends: The Power Of Social Media Advertising (7:30 – 8:45 a.m.)
In this session, the presenter will illustrate why social media channels, specifically Facebook, are the most sophisticated advertising platforms ever conceived. The presentation will demonstrate Facebook’s sophistication by breaking down how the Trump campaign used psychographics and social advertising to microtarget voters. It will also address some immediate online marketing trends you'll want to be aware of. The presenter will also spotlight some technologies on the horizon that may very well freak you out. 
David Erickson, vice president of online marketing, Karwoski & Courage 

Your Boss, Your Board and You: Making the Case (7:30 – 8:30 a.m.)
You know you need organizational support to ensure the most effective and engaging communications at your nonprofit -- but what do you do if your leadership isn’t convinced? This session will feature tips and techniques you can start using right away to build a strong case for high-quality communications, plus hands-on tools you can use to better communicate your strategy to leadership, colleagues and board members. You'll come away with new confidence in your ability to build a case for communications, plus learn methods you can use to measure effectiveness, build consensus and give peers and higher-ups the information they need to evaluate current efforts and get on board with effective communications. 
Juliana Anderson Wilkins, director of external relations, COMPAS 

Round 2 Sessions   

Enabling Technology Transformation (11 – 12:15 p.m.)
To take spark, technology transformation needs an organizational leader. Transformation can start only after a critical mass of staff have taken a mindset to view technology as a strategy rather than a cost center. This means we must change our acceptance of low-cost technology alternatives. We must train ourselves and our colleagues to view technology as a strategic investment in our organizations, as well as a key component in how we achieve our missions. In this session we'll discuss what it takes to develop this mindset and how we use it to reshape our organizations. 
Ryan Peasley, information technology consultant, Wipfli

Goodbye, Old Dusty File Server. Hello, Office 365 Sharepoint! (11 – 12:15 p.m.)
Local nonprofit Jeremiah Program had a number of old servers hosting their files and needed a modern and remote accessible solution that was ready to scale with their growing organization. Enter Office 365 Sharepoint to save the day. Learn about how they successfully moved all their files from an old server to Sharepoint online. You'll also hear about the lessons of this project and discover how this type of transition could benefit your organization.
Joe Kessler, service engineer, Tech Guru; Jessica Lehman, chief operating officer, Jeremiah Program; and Micah Thor, president and integrator, Tech Guru

IT Planning and Budgeting Crash Course (11 – 12:15 p.m.)
Well managed IT infrastructure is a foundational piece to using technology to meet your organization’s mission. This session will begin with a case study of documentation developed over the course of a decade to manage a mid-sized nonprofit’s infrastructure. The case study will highlight how a LANbook documents the nuts-and-bolts of a network environment, how a technology plan lays out issues and priorities, which helps inform a multi-year strategic budget. Beyond the case study, this session will be an opportunity for experienced and new IT managers to come together and discuss approaches to infrastructure management. The goal of this session is that participant feedback will expand on the concepts presented, and that everyone will leave with new ideas to improve their IT environment. 
Jason Samuels, IT operations manager, American Craft Council 

Muslim Sheroes of Minnesota: Storytelling Impact on Equity (11 – 12:30 p.m.)
Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE) is a new, social impact nonprofit, established to increase the engagement of Muslim women in our communities. Their mission is to amplify the voice and power of Muslim women by building the network through storytelling, leadership development and civic engagement. Join this workshop to learn about RISE’s narrative storytelling project, “Muslim Sheroes of Minnesota,” a project to amplify girls and women in our community who aren't waiting for permission to change the world. When women are engaged, participate and have a productive role within their societies, the outcomes are physically, emotionally and mentally healthy, vibrant communities. Society as a whole prospers. In this workshop, you will walk away understanding: the importance of owning your story; a new framework of how Muslim women are breaking stereotypes while making an impact in their community; how social connectedness impacts health equity & community; and how to engage in the work as allies.
Kate Downing Khaled, managing director, Imagine Deliver; Nausheena Hussain, co-founder and executive director, RISE; and Ariel Tilson, documentary filmmaker and producer, Twin Cities PBS

Online Sales Increase 100% - How to Make a Digital Transformation (11 – 12:15 p.m.) 
Based on a case-study of the Reif Center, learn techniques to increase your online sales by 100%. This growth has enabled them to increase their event offerings, expand community outreach and achieve goals that are larger than ever. Hear from the digital strategist who took them from ground zero to hero in the last 18 months. You will gain insight into the marketing strategy that was mapped out to achieve the long-term results that were requested by the Reif Center board. This strategy included a laser focus to increase ticket sales via digital marketing utilizing automation and target market research. Come prepared for a fast-paced presentation that addresses countless issues that the Reif Center walked through, so your organization doesn’t need to struggle through the same pain points! Expect to walk away with actionable tasks for your organization!
Anna Anderson, C.E.O., Art Unlimited and Katie Benes, marketing director, Reif Center

Segmented Communications for Mission and Donor Impact (11 – 12:30 p.m.)
Different supporters have different needs, and using the same megaphone for all of them is too much for some and not enough for others. Join us for a case study of a growing nonprofit, from zero Facebook and newsletter subscribers to over 2600 of each, in three years. Starting with the basics, we'll cover how the East Side Freedom Library introduced segmented email newsletters, and show how those SuperFans metrics are more engaged, while the general supporter isn't overwhelmed. The session will use real-world measurements from tools such as Mailchimp to show how customized engagement - with little extra effort - returns real results. 
Steve Boland, managing partner, Next in Nonprofits and Alessandra Williams, assistant to the director, East Side Freedom Library 

Seven Highly Risky IT Habits of Small Nonprofits (11 – 12:15 p.m.)
Though small scale hacks rarely make the news, small and medium-sized nonprofits are not immune to cyber security risks. Too many nonprofits are easy targets. Hackers prey on the naïve perception that nonprofits' data is of little value to hackers but if you’re working with credit cards or data regarding donors, volunteers, clients or patrons, you could be at risk. Any breach could have severe ramifications, including loss of trust among your community or possible financial penalties--but sound IT practices can provide a comfortable measure of control. We’ll walk through seven commonly-found bad habits and consider potential IT security risks. We’ll also discuss ways to minimize risks and transform bad habits into good ones. This session is appropriate for staff members responsible for making technology decisions at small or medium-sized nonprofits, as well as leaders influencing IT operations.
Karen Graham, executive director, Idealware and Linda Widdop, director of client solutions and education - IT Services, Tech Impact

Strong News Reporting is Critical to Strong Communities (11 – 12:30 p.m.)
During this session, the Minnesota Budget Project’s Laura Mortenson will explore how Minnesota reporters are conducting deep, investigative reporting that is resulting in political and governmental institutions examining their practices and policies in order to better reflect the values and priorities of Minnesotans. We’ll hear what motivates three long-time reporters to cover the hard topics. Then we’ll discuss how nonprofits can meet their organizational missions, while serving the public interest through transparency and trust.
Brian Bakst, reporter, Minnesota Public Radio; Briana Bierschbach, Capitol reporter, MinnPost; Amanda Horner, social justice communications manager, Catholic Charities of St. Paul; Laura Mortenson, communications manager, Minnesota Budget Project; and Chris Serres, health care reporter, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Technology's Impact On Your Sleep (11 – 12:15 p.m.)
Most of us are tired more often than not. Whether you work 9-5 or keep working well into the night; whether you’re employed with a major agency or a small nonprofit – fatigue is a part of our lives. This is mainly due to a vast number of negative influencers on our sleep, including the modern technology that is meant to make our lives simpler. Learn how technology is preventing us from getting the sleep that makes us feel alert and productive, as well as tips and tricks to achieve the rest we need to be our best selves in our work and daily lives.
Sarah Moe, founder, Sleep Health Specialists

Round 3 Sessions

Part 1: ADA Compliance: Full Access in a Remote Meeting Space (1:15 – 2:30 p.m.)
This interactive session will model how to set up a fully accessible face-to-face or remote meeting. The workshop has two objectives: The participants will acquire information about the legal responsibility of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Participants will learn about various platform features available for inclusive face-to-face or remote meeting spaces. Bring a laptop to fully participate in this session. Join one or both of the ADA Compliance workshops; the second session is scheduled at 3 p.m.
Joan Breslin Larson, independent consultant and Becca Jackson, specialist, Special Education Workforce, Minnesota Department of Education

Collective Wisdom: Empowering Volunteers to Lead (1:15 – 2:30 p.m.)
Empowering high skill volunteers to lead boards, capital campaign cabinets and other volunteer-led initiatives can be both scary and risky. However, the right volunteer with the right support can exceed what even the most capable nonprofit professional can achieve. In this advanced session, we will explore how to identify, recruit, engage, and support high capacity volunteers to lead teams of other high capacity volunteers to advance the work of your nonprofit. Our conversation will stretch many in attendance to consider new approaches to volunteer leadership and delegation. 
Brent A. Hafele, vice president, Client Services, Dickerson, Bakker & Associates

Decoding Informal Online Learning to Advance Nonprofit Missions (1:15 – 2:30 p.m.)
Do you want to expand your reach with online outreach education but don’t know where to start? Have you given online courses a go, only to wonder why people don’t complete? There is a great deal of agreement that online learner engagement and course completion rates are often low, especially in the non-credit setting. But while there is a breadth of research on how to engage online learners in traditional online courses, the literature does not address the inherent challenges of assuming online courses are the primary way to provide educational content to online audiences who are not seeking credit or certification. With examples from academic research and real world application, we’ll talk about the ways people learn online informally in daily life and what that means for designing and evaluating effective outreach education in the Web 2.0 era. 
Alison Holland, academic technologist, University of Minnesota Extension and doctoral student, Hamline University School of Education

Digital Innovation’s Promise of Objectivity (1:15 – 2:30 p.m.)
One of the expectations we have of a digital world is to achieve a higher level of objectivity. Said differently, emerging technology is seen by many as a pathway to remove human bias from systems, processes and decisions altogether. In these ways, digital innovation has the potential to be a catalyst for equity. The truth, however, is that digital innovation is subject to both human authorship and human end users. In the nonprofit sector, where the desire to build equitable and unbiased systems continues to grow in focal concern, organizations need to embrace and deconstruct the bias inherent to emerging technology in order to more effectively determine what analog practices need to accompany their utilization of digital innovation. Join this session to better grasp issues of equity and accessibility in a digital world, as well as to identify steps that you can take to ensure your organization applies an equity filter when adopting digital technology.
Taqee Khaled, co-founder and principal, Imagine Deliver and director of strategy and national practice lead, The Nerdery

From Analytics to Action (1:15 – 2:30 p.m.)
You know how many people are using your website, how long they’re staying and how many of them take critical actions such as signing up for a program or donating. So how can an organization go from passive observer of metrics to actively engineering engagement and action? In this session, we’ll explore and explain proven methods for optimizing websites to maximize donations, sign-ups or nearly any other user behavior that drives its mission. By attending this advanced level session you’ll be able to identify and track your website’s key performance indicators; understand how to design simple scientific experiments that will reveal which content users respond best to, while simultaneously optimizing the content; and have concrete steps for optimizing your own site using a variety of approaches and available at different budgets.
Josh LaBau, co-founder and web developer, Significant Digits

Me Oh My, API: Tech Your Way to Growth (1:15 – 2:30 p.m.)
Every successful organization moves through various stages of growth before getting to the next level. At some point, good processes and the right technology will be keys to making those moves. Start Reading Now is a nonprofit with no full-time employees that experienced exponential growth of its programming and service delivery. This rapid growth and lean functionality is largely due to Start Reading Now’s co-founders recognizing a need and acting at the right time. Join the co-founders as they explain how they cleaned up processes and automated functions in order to meet their growth goals and offer value to future expansion sites. And how they linked Start Reading Now’s growth strategy to a new technology platform. The presenters will explain the process of weighing the pros and cons of specific technologies; implementing a tech solution in a highly cost-effective way; and leveraging in-house and third party resources to implement the new technology. 
Kevin Terrell, co-founder; Pam Longfellow, co-founder; and Lauren Beek, program lead, Start Reading Now

Increase Engagement by Putting Your Users First (1:15 – 2:30 p.m.)
Nonprofits live or die based on their ability to capture support through websites, email and social media. Digital interactions inspire your advocates to make donations, volunteer their time and spread your message. But in order to spur action, we must first understand who these digital “users” are and what they want. In this session, we will learn how to identify and prioritize your digital audiences, learn what motivates them and develop a content strategy that truly serves their interests and needs. We will also cover ways to measure whether a strategy is actually working. Specific topics will include stakeholder interviews, surveys, usability testing, content segmentation and analytics and will include examples from a range of nonprofit projects. We will also focus on sharing MVP techniques and tools; in other words, approaches that work within your limited time and budget. 
Emily Good, legal projects manager, Legal Services State Support; Erika Stenrick, co-founder and creative director, Us Creative Works; and Lynn Winter, Digital Strategist, Manage Digital

Nonprofit Events in an Instagram World (1:15 – 2:30 p.m.)
If no one takes a picture at your event and shares it on social media, did the event ever happen? In an age of selfies, hashtags, filters, and likes, it should be no surprise that most nonprofits are missing an opportunity for audience engagement and connection simply because they aren’t creating moments at their events. Moments that inspire an attendee to stop, take out their phone, snap a picture, and share with their networks. It’s an action that endorses your organization and connects your mission to their community. And in a world based on social trust, that is invaluable. In this advanced level session, we’ll share trends of how the biggest lifestyle and social media influencers are curating content with compelling visuals that engage their followers beyond any nonprofit’s wildest expectations. We will then show how you can apply these trends to your next nonprofit event, workshop, or tabling experience.
Julie Cohen, director of communications and engagement; Jamie Millard, executive director; Meghan Murphy, director of art + story; and Mónica Nadal, communications and engagement coordinator, Pollen 

The Power of Blogging & Thought Leadership for Nonprofits (1:15 – 2:30 p.m.)
Most nonprofits who have tried to blog have failed miserably. In this session, we will share the collective wisdom we’ve gleaned from dozens of nonprofit organizations that have stumbled upon the magic formula for becoming thought leaders in their community. Join us to discover: three keys to becoming a thought leader; who should blog; seven components of the best nonprofit blogs; tips to optimize your blog’s effectiveness; four ways to promote your blog; and tips for measuring your blog’s performance.
Jay Wilkinson, chief executive officer, Firespring

Round 4 Sessions

Part 2: ADA Compliance: Digital Accessibility and Full Access Online (3 – 4:15 p.m.)
Are your nonprofit’s electronic communications and website ADA compliant? Do you know how to find out? Join this session to learn both the requirements and the best practices for accommodating the needs of individuals with disabilities. One in five individuals in the United States has a disability (20%). Ensuring online and electronic accessibility is an important step toward building a nonprofit sector that can truly serve the whole community. You will leave with takeaway information on accessibility and motivating factors that you can bring back to your stakeholders at your nonprofit. Join one or both of the ADA Compliance workshops; the first session is scheduled at 1:15.
Anne Sittner Anderson, communications coordinator and Emory David Dively, deputy director, Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Minnesotans

Data Analysis for Showing Program Impact (3 – 4:15 p.m.)
Communicating your program’s impact is a key tool for acquiring funding, attracting donors and recruiting volunteers. Without impact data, your communications strategy can feel hollow to donors and volunteers. This session will provide practical, easily applied knowledge for conducting data analysis to show program impact and change. Topics discussed will include evaluation tools, pre/post survey design, significance testing and presenting results as a table and graph. All analyses and visuals will be created with Word and Excel. Attendees will learn how to show significance change from the beginning to end of the program/intervention, how to present results in a visually appealing and easily understood way and how to create a robust pre/post survey. 
Julie Nielsen, director, Innovation Group, NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center and Michelle Ramirez Roth, research professional

From Apple to Zappos, Simple Brands Succeed (3 – 4:15 p.m.)
The iconic brands of our time distinguish themselves by offering refreshingly simple experiences. A global consumer study found that three out of four people are more likely to recommend a brand that provides a simpler experience and that people would even pay more for a simpler experience. We’ll demonstrate how every nonprofit, no matter its size or budget, can benefit from periodic brand decluttering. Our recommended four-step process will help you clarify and simplify your organization’s core brand idea, visuals, language and touchpoints. You’ll leave knowing how simplicity can strengthen your nonprofit brand. 
Nancy Brown, brand strategist, and Joannne Kosciolek, vice president of development & external affairs, Project for Pride in Living

How One Nonprofit Became CyberSecurity Ninja Warriors (3 – 4:15 p.m.)
Join this session to learn about a case study on how Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota implemented a cybersecurity program that was just right for them. It all started when Epilepsy Foundation leadership wanted to better understand what level of cybersecurity measures were appropriate for their organization given their risk exposure and then implement those measures. They began their journey with a look inward to better understand what their exposure level was, and then identified relevant and appropriate levels of mitigation while taking budget and staff productivity into consideration. In this session we will discuss the specific steps they took to identify the risks and mitigate them. And looking back, we will explore what we learned from the experience and how the program is continuing to evolve and improve. 
Daniel Moshe, founder, Tech Guru and Claire Colliander, C.F.O., Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota 

Radical (Digital) Hospitality: Streamlining Inbound Donor & Volunteer Communication (3 – 4:15 p.m.)
Does your organization want to keep inbound donor, customer and volunteer communication clear, consistent and accessible to the whole team? Are you a small organization sharing a single email box between many leaders and trying to make sure notes about interactions get recorded? Join us to learn how GiveMN has answered more than 40,000 questions from diverse stakeholder groups. With the help of technology, the small but mighty GiveMN Help Team has created a service culture of radical hospitality that is proactive in designing communication strategies to anticipate questions from donors, partners and volunteers and answer them quickly and comprehensively. Together we’ll look at how your organization can build the communications, technology, leadership and culture necessary to maintain and improve digital relationships with your organization’s most important constituents. 
Daniel Moore, director of operations and donor experience; Mai Vang, support specialist; and Tom Zimmerman, director of marketing and communications, GiveMN

Smart Technology Planning: A Cost-Effective Approach (3 – 4:15 p.m.)
Crafting a cost-effective technology strategy is always a pressing need -- and even more so in the emerging social and political climate. Unfortunately, the exact path to cost-effective IT operations is far from obvious. It may be tempting to simply refrain from all IT purchases, put off all updates/upgrades, and just “limp along.” However, this is often a recipe for security vulnerabilities, an unstable network, a frustrated staff and ultimately greater costs in the long run. We will survey the merits and demerits of various strategies for cost-effective IT, including what works, what doesn’t and why. We’ll discuss specific tactics available to your nonprofit for getting the most out of your IT budget and maintaining the functionality, security, and forward movement of your IT landscape. 
Joel Barker, vice president of development, Fraser; Steven Foldes, principal, Foldes Consulting; and Brian Roemen, lead tech, Brave North Technology

Your Nonprofit Mission at 400 Feet: Drones in the Nonprofit Sector (3 – 4:15 p.m.)
Drones are invading every industry. Farmers are using drones to increase yields and reduce damaged crops. Emergency services are using drones for search and rescue. Real estate agents are flying drones over and through houses. But how could your nonprofit mission be enhanced through aerial photos and video? Learn the legal, ethical and practical applications of drones for the nonprofit sector in this high-flying workshop. 
Jeff Achen, executive director & drone pilot, The UpTake (Nonprofit News Service) and Henry Schneider, producer/director, Open Window Productions

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2018 Communications & Technology Conference
Wednesday, March 21
7:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
1300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis


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Hosted by:

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits