Even before COVID-19, technology was changing the way that every nonprofit pursued its mission. For many, the global pandemic has forced an acceleration of those changes. Okta and NTEN have both seen the immediate impact of COVID-19 on the nonprofit sector, with organizations making technology decisions amidst significant uncertainty. In response, Okta for Good (Okta’s social impact initiative) has sponsored a nation-wide Nonprofit Tech Readiness (NTR) cohort to provide support for nonprofit staff currently addressing critical technology challenges.
Whether organizations are looking to integrate their disparate systems, increase their security, or create an inclusive IT-roadmap for the coming year, this is a unique opportunity that combines training, coaching, and direct support to help you and your nonprofit increase its capacity for digital success.
NTR is a six-month cohort program for nonprofit professionals interested in boosting technology management and planning in their organizations. Our goal is to elevate nonprofits’ technology capacity significantly by strengthening participants’ knowledge of best practices for technology planning, budgeting, decision making, and more while supporting them to advance a technology project specific to their organization.
How does it work?
NTR combines online educational sessions and leadership development. Participants learn from nonprofit technology experts and receive guidance and training to support technology projects at their organizations. This capacity-building program meets the diverse needs of nonprofit staff working to implement technology solutions that make meaningful change in their communities.
The educational sessions reflect the major departmental areas across an organization. This comprehensive training provides every participant, regardless of their current job, a full view of best practices, strategic decision-making processes, and knowledge for managing technologies in all areas of an organization. Additionally, you’ll learn to benchmark your capacity against similar organizations (not just the big names in the sector) and find appropriate partners to advance your plans.
- Training Series: a series of educational sessions that cover the core competencies of technology planning, budgeting, implementation, and evaluation across an organization
- Workshops: dedicated working sessions to provide skill-building and networking while helping you advance your technology project planning
- Leadership Development: facilitated process to coach you in providing project feedback, practicing and modeling experiences you can replicate in your organizations
- Technology Projects: coaching and support for your unique project that will make a critical and lasting impact on your programs including direct support on project planning, culture change, and successful path for implementation
The first 10 weeks of the program provide participants with a foundational knowledge of technology and its role across the entire organization. Similar to other NTEN educational programs, NTR training focuses on strategic processes, best practices, and practical application rather than specific software. During Term I, participants will attend weekly online training, complete weekly homework assignments for review by faculty, and identify and submit a final technology project that they will be able to plan for and advance during Term II. Participants should anticipate 3-4 hours of program-related work each week.
Term I topics include:
- Leadership: Culture and Change Management
- Technology Project Planning
- Digital Strategy
- Social Media
- IT Planning
- Data Management
- Metrics and Evaluation
The content in Term II is driven by the needs of the cohort. The goal is to help participants move forward with the technology projects they identified during the first term. Participants will attend two online workshops and be able to invite additional staff to join for the training. Term II also includes access to ongoing online education and coaching at the discretion of the participant. Thanks to Okta, participants may also receive pro bono support during Phase II from Okta staff. The time commitment will lessen to around 2 hours per week during the second term. The program will have a final gathering to celebrate the work of the cohort, and participants will be able to invite colleagues, friends, and family to join.
Term II topics include:
- Tech project planning
- Pitching for tech support
Orientation: Program orientation via web conference to answer questions, check everyone’s online access and account settings, and provide detailed information about the 6-month calendar.
- Fall cohort date: Sept 29
- Spring cohort date: March 29
Term I: Weekly online programs on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. pacific
- Fall cohort dates: October – December
- Spring cohort dates: April – June
Term II: Asynchronous coaching and continued trainings. Events include online workshops and the culmination event. The specific dates for these workshops and the culmination event will be confirmed based on participant schedules, with the expectation that one workshop takes place in each of the first two months, with the final gathering/culmination event in the last month.
- Fall cohort dates: January – March
- Spring cohort dates: July – September
NTR is a six-month program. Participants should anticipate 3-4 hours of program-related work each week during the first 2.5 months and 2 hours each week during the last 3.5 months.
NTR is provided to participants free of charge. The largest investment comes from participants of their time, and by their organizations in supporting staff with the time to participate fully. We are grateful for the support of Okta for Good for providing the resources to make this training available to the community.
Who should apply
Nonprofit staff who are interested in practical and tangible technology training and located in the United States are encouraged to apply. Participants should be staff responsible for the advancement and implementation of a technology project at their organization. This may include staff from anywhere within an organization, but we do not include board members or volunteers.
Applications for the 2020 cohort closed on September 8.