2019 Nonprofit Communications & Technology Conference

nonprofit Communications & Technology Conference

Breakout Sessions

Round 1 Breakouts: 8 - 9:15 a.m.

Collaborating to Build Nonprofit Capacity: A Success Story
Tracks: Technology Planning & IT (General)
Child Care Aware of Minnesota and The Nerdery, LLC partnered to create a learning management system (LMS) to deliver online courses. In this session we will share how we were able to collaborate to develop an online learning management system that is used to deliver courses, a virtual meeting room, and a repository for materials. You will discover the components of the LMS as well as the roles of the two organizations. Attendees will walk away with ideas about how to structure a collaborative product development process, questions to ask when working with a tech firm, and steps for achieving a successful product launch. Josh Oswald, client partner and Christopher Stephan, experience design team manager and domain lead for research and testing, The Nerdery, LLC; and Cory Woosley, professional development director, Child Care Aware of Minnesota

Communications Through an Assets Lens 

Tracks: Marketing and Communications | Leadership (Advanced)
A small shift in perception can change the stories we tell, the possibilities we envision, and the impact we have. As communicators, we hold the power to shape the perception of partners, donors, and members of the public. When we wield this influence effectively, we embody leadership across teams, organizations, and our sector. Join this session for an exploration of asset-based and appreciative lenses based on experiences in communications in cause-based organizations. Learn the shifts you can make to bring an assets-based lens to your organization’s communications and open the potential for deeper, more lasting, and more equitable impact locally, regionally, or globally. Changing perceptions requires skilled leadership. After applying an assets lens to our organizations' stories, we will discuss how to influence not just what our organizations and audiences know, but what they believe is possible.
Natasha Brownlee, independent consultant, gender and international development; Ruth Hamberg, lead consultant, Squaretree; Alyssa Scott, founder, 1,000 Words & More; and Kaying Vang, board president, Minnesota International NGO Network

Cybersecurity: Are You Protecting Your Organization?
Tracks: Technology Planning & IT (General)
As potentially damaging cyberattacks continue to affect more organizations, and news about hacking, ransomware, and data breaches increases, you may be asking yourself these questions. How can my organization fight cybercrime with limited resources and expertise? What are the biggest threats and how can I protect my data? How prepared are we to respond to a cyberattack? This session will examine the current threat landscape and offer practical advice for protecting your data, your budgets, and your reputation.
Lisa Dunnigan, chief information officer, principal, Olsen Thielen CPAs 

Data, Donors, and Fundraising: Using Data to Tell your Organization’s Story
Tracks: Marketing and Communications | Fundraising (Intermediate)
Explore the “why” and “how” of using data to tell the story about trends and demographic changes affecting the communities you serve. Data can provide evidence that the work you’re doing is making a difference. Join us for a workshop where we will highlight the latest data and tools available on Minnesota Compass, and how to use this data to learn about organizational impact. Presenters will share ideas for how you can use data in your work, key issues to consider when interpreting and analyzing data, and free resources and tools to inform your work.
Jackie Aman, research scientist, Wilder Research and Justin Hollis, research scientist, Minnesota Compass

DIY Usability Testing
Tracks: Marketing and Communications | Website (General)
Everyone wants an easy-to-use website that communicates your brand and speaks to your audience. But have you ever watched real site users engage with your site? Do you know how their experience feels? Or—like many of us—are you just guessing? As nonprofits, it can be tough to prioritize usability testing when budgets are tight or timelines feel stressed. It doesn’t have to be that way! We’ll walk you through a lean approach to user testing that you can do on your own, without expensive equipment, long timelines, or large teams. The newly-designed cleanenergyresourceteams.org will be used as a case study throughout the session, showing how DIY usability testing informed their overall redesign. Whether you’re building a new site or caring for an existing one, you’ll walk away ready to conduct tests and make your site better for the people who matter most—your users.    
Erika Stenrick, creative director, Us Creative Works and Dan Thiede, strategic communications and engagement director, Clean Energy Resource Teams, University of Minnesota

From Scrappy to Spielberg: Using Video Effectively
Tracks: Marketing and Communications | Program Design and Delivery (Intermediate)
Did you know that people retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text? Video marketing is on the rise, but with few resources and little time to dedicate to it, how can nonprofits take advantage? In this session, digital storytellers will show you how to do a lot with a little when it comes to video production. They’ll dive into some tools to make something scrappy but powerful and then show you how to create a strategy to get it in front of the people who need to see it.
Chris Hintz, creative director + filmmaker, iSee Communications, LLC and Katherine Rose, communications strategist, Kate Rose Communications LLC

Making Your Website Accessible for Low-Bandwidth Users
Tracks: Website (Advanced)
52% of the world has no internet access and the percentage of people who are dependent on low-bandwidth, mobile devices for internet access is growing. You’re trying your best to keep up with Google’s algorithm changes to make sure people are finding your nonprofit and its services: You’re creating good content, your site is mobile responsive, you’re on top of your meta tags and photo alt text. But is that enough? In a web ecosystem that increasingly rewards responsiveness and speed, nonprofit organizations and website developers need to be taking a hard look at low-bandwidth optimization. Learn what low-bandwidth optimization means, get do-it-yourself solutions for auditing and optimization, and listen to a case study of the process from start to finish.
Jonathan Hatch, executive director, Saint Paul Media; Glyn Northington, senior program director and Kallie Rollenhagen, marketing manager, Propel Nonprofits

Pay to Play: Maximizing Social Media
Tracks: Social Media | Leadership (Intermediate)
You can post to your social media accounts for free, but to really get your message out you need to invest money to boost posts. But how much and how often? How do you choose what to boost? Join us to learn tips and tricks and hear case studies from other nonprofit organizations. Bring your questions!
Lauren Edstrom, marketing and development director, Meals on Wheels; Amber Hiltunen, digital marketing specialist, YMCA Twin Cities; Ryan Pena, social media strategist, Be the Match; Jen Riemenschneider, vice president, communicationsand Emily Swanson, communications specialist, American Heart Association

Round 2 Breakouts: 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Bringing Data Together for Nonprofit Websites
Tracks: Technology Planning & IT | Website (Intermediate) The modern web is all about finding ways to share and expose the critical data that is driving your organization. Many nonprofits have third-party databases of research, users, or other content to share with online audiences but the path forward is not always easy in a world of limited budgets and time. In this session, you will learn how we build effective systems that allow local nonprofits to leverage their critical data without duplicating efforts or having to rebuild key components of their infrastructure. We will cover how to analyze your current systems and data, different strategies and techniques for data integration, real-world case studies, pitfalls and dangers, and cost versus benefits. Along the way we will look at best practices, scenarios to avoid, and general tips. Join us as we learn how local nonprofits are integrating and using third-party party databases to amplify their missions and support their users.
Tim Broeker, technical director, Electric Citizen and Bryan Lloyd, IT applications manager, Wilder Foundation

The Technology of Grantseeking and Grantmaking
Tracks: Fundraising | Leadership (General)
Rapidly evolving technology creates opportunities and challenges for nonprofit leaders. Web-based tools enable organizations to share volumes of information with the click of a button. Online platforms empower individuals to share their experiences and shape the very systems that impact them. And databases enable high-paced prospect research. Increasingly grantmakers are turning to technology to streamline their grantmaking processes, manage relationships with grantees, and evaluate and communicate the impact of their work. What’s working? What’s causing more headaches? And who’s innovating the next big idea? Join this session to engage in a rich dialogue about the intersection between good grantmaking and effective use of technology.
Kari Aanestad, director of advancement and Jon Pratt, executive director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits; and Suraj Vadgama, tech for good designer and developer, Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology

Communicating for Justice: A Practical Workshop on How to Put Your Organizational Values into the World
Tracks: Marketing and Communications (Intermediate)
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 provides steps for organizations to apply a framework to 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

Establishing a Communications Strategy that Drives Results
Tracks: Marketing and Communications | Program Design and Delivery (Advanced)
This session will give participants the tools they need to establish a communications strategy for their organization or take their existing strategy to the next level. Time will be spent exploring key individual components of and tips for a strong communications strategy. Participants will gain hands-on practice in developing some components, including: audience mapping, setting meaningful communications goals and objectives, and creating a messaging framework for the organization and any relevant campaigns or initiatives. Presenters will also spend time discussing ways to identify metrics and tools that can measure and track success of communications efforts and ways to market those back to key stakeholders.
Kristen Felegy, communications and marketing manager, People Incorporated; Briana Gruenewald, senior account executive and Bridget Nelson Monroe, vice president, Bellmont Partners

G-Suite 101
Tracks: Marketing and Communications (General)
Learn how to use the apps provided gratis within the Google Drive (G-Suite) to optimize communications with your constituents and shareholders, organize data, and leverage both your time and budget.
Valerie Lockhart, executive director, Minneapolis Telecommunications Network and the MN Women in Tech

IT – Is it for Me?
Tracks: Technology Planning & IT | Leadership (Intermediate)
Are you an accidental techie? Always organizing the next website project or computer upgrade?  An early adopter or tech evangelist?  If you’re thinking about a future in IT, this session is for you. This panel discussion will include speakers who have transitioned from communications, administration and other areas into IT. They will share why they made the switch, how they were able to get their first “real” IT job and what they do and don’t like about the field. The discussion will include information about different IT jobs, tips on how to tailor your resume, and what specialized education and networking options might be useful. Questions from the audience will be welcomed and encouraged. Panelists will share their contact information in case attendees would like to continue the discussion. 
Ashley Schweitzer, business analyst, Hennepin County and Edith Young, IT supervisor, Public Defender's Office

Mobile Device Management Essentials
Tracks: Technology Planning & IT (Intermediate)
Today almost everyone has a smartphone; employees of nonprofit organizations expect access to their work email, calendar, and other resources just like employees in the for-profit workplace. How do you, the harried nonprofit IT administrator (or accidental techie), manage all this without risking your organization’s data? Find out how to track who’s connected, how to quickly and securely configure devices, and what to do if they go missing. This session will cover both organization-issued phones, tablets, and laptops and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). 
Peter Tatikian, technology manager, Can Do Canines

Nonprofit on a Shoestring
Tracks: Technology Planning & IT | Website (General)
Investing in technology solutions for your nonprofit doesn’t need to break the bank. Learn about the low cost and free tools we used to launch our website and database with minimal investment and little experience. We'll share our experience using those tools for continuous change and improvement without major technology investments. Learning objectives include gaining knowledge about the website, database, and search engine tools that we used that can be used free or for low cost, and understanding the resources needed to take advantage of these tools.
Jennifer Victor-Larsen, founder and executive director, HeroSearch.org

Round 3 Breakouts: 2 - 3:15 p.m.

Dollars for Technology - Fundraising Workshop
Tracks: Fundraising | Leadership (Advanced) This is a hands-on session designed to challenge and strengthen your technology funding request. Bring your ideas for a funding proposal or already outlined proposal and receive active feedback from funders. As your nonprofit relies more on technology, fundraising for these tools is both a challenge and opportunity. Before investing the time into a proposal, it’s important to fully formulate the idea and create a strategy for delivery. In this workshop session, we will provide a brief overview of a strategic roadmap to creating a successful proposal. The rest of the session will be for you to briefly present your idea for a proposal and receive direct feedback. You will gain insight and ideas from the funders, fundraising professionals, and other attendees. You will walk away with a better idea for how to prepare a successful technology funding proposal.
Joel Barker, chief strategy officer, Washburn Center for Children; Brandon Nohr, chief technology officer, SUCCESS Computer Consulting, Inc.; Rebecca Shavlik, executive director, Shavlik Family Foundation; and Peg Thomas, executive director, Sundance Family Foundation

Encryption, Authentication, and Accessibility for Your Website & Email
Tracks: Technology Planning & IT | Website (Intermediate)
Websites and email—two of your organization’s most fundamental communication tools—are changing. They’ve both been around for a long time, but email and web standards for security and accessibility have evolved and become stricter, especially in the last couple of years. The results of this have been (and will increasingly be) (1) your website displaying “not secure” warnings to visitors, (2) website form submissions or your other outbound/inbound emails either landing in people’s junk mail folder or failing to deliver altogether, and (3) visitors immediately leaving your website due to lack of digital accessibility. We will discuss how to assess and resolve these pitfalls and ensure that these foundational communication tools continue to serve you and your organization’s mission.
Kelly Heikkila, chief technology officer, Accessible360 and Brian Roemen, principal, technology operations, Brave North Tech LLC

Improving Impact: A Crash Course in Human-Centered Design
Tracks: Program Design and Delivery | Leadership (General)
How do you leverage design thinking to broaden your organization’s impact? In this hands-on session, experience design experts will guide attendees through a crash course in design thinking. This course will focus on the fundamental values of the human-centered design process—empathy gathering, a bias toward action, and a culture of iteration and rapid prototyping. Come prepared to participate! You’ll be learning the design thinking process by working and doing.
Abby Breyer, engagement director, Lisa Helminiak, CEO, and Kristina Woodburn, service designer, Azul Seven

Microsoft Teams - Office 365: Collaborate & Succeed
Tracks: Technology Planning & IT | Program Design and Delivery (General)
The ability to share information, schedule meetings, track tasks, and create and share documents while keeping organized is a struggle.  Microsoft Teams is made to provide an easier way for groups to collaborate and succeed. Microsoft Teams also helps promote equity in the document and decision-making process. Multiple rooms or channels can be created within a Team to keep items easy to follow. Stay informed and in-touch. Office 365 users can bring your computers for interactive learning.
Ellery July, technology specialist, Nacel Open Door

Print is Dead. Long Live Print (and Digital)
Tracks: Marketing and Communications | Website (Advanced)
No, really, print is not dead. But print doesn’t have the same role it used to have, either. Digital outreach and print communication can leverage each other. And while there are still some must do items in print (the year-end solicitation should go out in paper to some of your donors), there are other times when past practices in print can take a back seat. We’ll review return on investment metrics for print, on-demand printing for select market impact, utilization of case statement language across print and digital to maximize impressions, and strategic use of print to augment services that shine in the digital realm (apps, progressive web apps, audio/video, and more).
Steve Boland, managing partner, Next in Nonprofits and Christine Durand, director of advancement, Minnesota Museum of American Art

Quick Thinking Speaking
Tracks: Marketing and Communications | Leadership (General)
When you get that call asking for the quick and dirty run down, you need to put together an immediate presentation that really makes a hit. In this session you will learn how to quickly outline a strategic presentation that includes high quality content. You will practice ways to build presentation confidence through active speaking practice that will help you create a bang with your audience.
Sarah Berres, volunteer coordinator, Metro North ABE

Social Media 101
Tracks: Marketing and Communications | Social Media (General)
Do you want to get into social media for your organization but not sure where to start? Still confused by what exactly a hashtag is? Join us for this session all about social media. We will go over all of the basics! You’ll learn about each of the social media channels and which may be the best fit for your organization. We will also go over some best practices for doing social media, tips for increasing your fans and followers, and what to do when something goes wrong. If you’re new to all things social, let us help you get started!
Sarah Crumrine, communications coordinator, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and Kallie Rollenhagen, marketing manager, Propel Nonprofits

You Got This! Get Ready for Your Website Redesign
Tracks: Marketing and Communications | Website (Intermediate)
If you’ve been thinking of a website redesign, don’t miss this chance to learn step by step how to plan and prepare for a successful project. We’ll share our experiences selecting and working with external web firms to achieve a successful result for nonprofits. You’ll learn how to clarify the scope of your project, build internal support, anticipate what firms charge, write a request for proposal (free template included!), interview and select a firm, lay out roles and responsibilities, and more. You’ll benefit from our many nonprofit web redesign experiences, including a special case study of Project for Pride in Living’s 2018 redesign. Bring your questions and conundrums. You’ll leave with the confidence to identify the right firm and manage your redesign project!
Nancy Doyle Brown, brand strategist, www.nancydoylebrown.com and Joanne Kosciolek, vice president of development & external affairs, Project for Pride in Living

Your New Database: From Board Buy-in to User Adoption
Tracks: Technology Planning & IT | Leadership (General)
Your organization is in desperate need of a new database, but a transition would be time consuming, expensive, and users are reluctant to change. In this session, database administrators at Arts Midwest will share how they made the case for a new system, managed the transition process, and drove user adoption through support, feature development, and monthly internal user groups.
Christy Dickinson, senior program director and Joshua Feist, program director, Arts Midwest; and Autumn Patterson, IT strategy & solutions manager, Northwest Area Foundation

Round 4 Breakouts: 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.

10 Must Know Nonprofit Website Stats for 2019
Tracks: Website (General)
How does your website compare to other nonprofit websites? Which internet trends are affecting nonprofit marketing in 2019? Learn about the 10 stats that you should keep in mind for your website in the coming year. You’ll also get ideas to improve your website strategy that you can implement immediately! The presenter will analyze dozens of nonprofit organizations’ Google Analytics accounts through her clients and students. Every quarter, she gets together with her clients for in-depth conversations about their digital outreach strategy and website analytics. For this training, she combines Google Analytics data with insights from her in-depth conversations.
Yesenia Sotelo, digital skills trainer, SmartCause Digital

Building an Organizational Culture to Support Technology Change
Tracks: Technology Planning & IT | Leadership (Intermediate)
When it comes to nonprofit technology projects, it’s easy to focus on tools, budget, and timeline. But you can’t overlook buy-in for the project from stakeholders like your board of directors, executive team, or the people with their hands on the keys. Drawing on more than 10 years of experience designing and launching digital marketing projects for nonprofits, the presenter will outline ways to get everyone excited about (and involved in) your big undertaking. We’ll share one nonprofit’s journey as a guide for identifying the right people to include in the project, how to tap into their individual strengths, and how consistent communication can keep everyone on the same page.
Eleanor Hyde, director of sales, Firefly Partners

Content Strategy for Nonprofits
Tracks: Marketing and Communications | Website (Intermediate)
The field of content strategy is vast, with many tools and processes to choose from. But big-name content strategists often work with enterprise, for-profit clients. So how does a Minnesota-based nonprofit know where to start? Over the last five years, the presenter developed an effective, replicable process built especially for nonprofits both big and small. This session will walk you through each step of this process and show you how to create your own content strategy plan. The presenter will cover key documents, suggest tools, warn of common pitfalls, and share examples from recent projects. Whether you are redesigning your website or just doing a content overhaul, this how-to session will help you implement your own strategy.
Lynn Winter, digital strategist, Manage Digital 

Online Tools that Help Nonprofits Learn, Listen & Engage
Tracks: Social Media (Intermediate)
Every day you learn about a new mobile app or piece of software that will “change your life.” There’s so much coming at you, it sometimes feels like you’re drinking through a fire hose. In this session, we will help you make technology your friend. The presenter will take you behind the curtain to show, in real-time, which tools he uses to manage his online presence and why. You’ll learn: which social media platforms you should care about; five online tools that will help you master your online world; listening tools; engagement tools; and how to master your online presence in less than 15 minutes per day.
Jay Wilkinson, CEO, Firespring

Poetry for Nonprofits: Simple Techniques for Powerful Communications
Tracks: Marketing and Communications | Leadership (General)
The more you believe in your mission, the harder it can be to find language to talk about why it matters. Many nonprofits struggle to communicate the value of their work to funders, community partners, clients and potential employees. Rather than making a compelling case, they retreat to vague language about “impact,” “change-making,” and “empowerment.” Your mission is too important for clichés. In this session, two award-winning nonprofit communications experts will share strategies for speaking clearly, precisely, and powerfully about the value of your organization. You’ll learn two powerful techniques: one taken from the world of storytelling, another from the toolbox of poetry.
Neil Chudgar, communications strategist, CHUDGAR and Erin Rufledt, principal, Luminary Lab

Software that Can Enhance Your Mission
Tracks: Technology Planning & IT (General)
We will explore concrete examples of organizations using technology to advance social causes and reflect on how technology can advance the core mission of nonprofits in Minnesota. Rather than merely surveying a bunch of random tech projects for inspiration, the group will think critically about the types of problems that technology is appropriate for solving. We will consider a wide range of technologies and identify low cost, readily accessible, and well-proven tech resources. As many organizations have tried to incorporate technology into their work and found mixed results, we’ll analyze examples of where technology advances social good as well as instances where technology obscures or exacerbates oppression or inequality. Participants will leave the discussion with a framework for identifying when technology can advance the mission of their own organizations and how to overcome some of the common obstacles to innovation that nonprofits encounter.
Eddie Glenn, software engineer, Software for Good and Leyla Mahabadi, marketing student, Carlson School of Management

Using Specialized Contractors in the Gig Economy
Tracks: Leadership (Advanced)
Many nonprofits need access to specialized knowledge workers, but don’t have the budget or workload to justify hiring those skills as permanent staff. Solutions can be short-term gigs, outsourced contracts, or retainer agreements. How does a nonprofit work effectively with a consultant or contractor for specialized communications and technology needs? Three local consultants—two experienced in the field, one recently launched— will share tips and recommendations for maximizing the opportunities of gig work while minimizing risk. Results of a qualitative research project gathering wisdom from local organizations will also be shared. This is a future-facing presentation equipping organizations to anticipate the full development of trends we are already starting to see.
Steve Boland, managing partner, Next in Nonprofits; Ruth Hamberg, lead consultant, Squaretree/Next in Nonprofits; and Lisa Tabor, owner, Culture Brokers 

Using Trello for Project-Management Success!
Tracks: Marketing and Communications | Program Design and Delivery (General)
As a nonprofit leader, our priorities and plans are constantly shifting. So, how do you work in real-time, fast-time without leaving any of your team members behind? Join us as we share how we’ve been using Trello to move our work forward and better deliver on our mission. Trello is a free, easy-to-use online tool for teams of all sizes. We’ll explore the basic functionalities of Trello and talk in-depth about how we’ve used this tool to become a more collaborative, effective, and efficient team. As a project example for this session, we'll be talking about annual reports and how to work across teams to create your best annual report, yet! You'll walk away with an understanding of Trello, project management tips, and an annual report checklist that will set you up for success in the future!
Andrea Cole, graphic designer, AmplifyDMC and Abby Wellan, nonprofit services & communications manager, Charities Review Council

Conference Sponsors

Comcast Business                       Just Some Apps                     Seven Corners Print and Promo