Tag: NTC

It’s time to shape the educational agenda for the 2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference (20NTC)! Over 600 proposals were submitted this year, so we need your help deciding which ones will become sessions next March in Baltimore. You can review all the proposals and select your favorites through August 30.

Each year we try to improve the selection process based on community feedback. Here’s a quick summary of what’s new for 20NTC.

Clean-up week

This year we added a week between when proposals closed and when we open for community input to do some high-level review and clean up of proposals. For the past week we’ve been:

  • Adjusting appropriate category and tag assignments
  • Removing inappropriate language
  • Fixing significant formatting errors (copy and paste gone awry)

Goodbye, voting. Hello, favoriting.

Input from the community has always been central to selecting sessions for the NTC, but it’s not the sole decider. Public input is 60% of a final weighted score with the remaining 40% coming from the Session Advisory Committee. Even with this final score, creating a balanced agenda within and across each of the categories can mean a proposal voted on by many people may still not be accepted for a variety of reasons.

In recent years, we heard that displaying the public vote count reinforced the mistaken belief that it was all that determined if a session was selected. To help address this, we’re implementing two changes:

  1. Instead of voting for a proposal, we’re asking you to choose your favorites. You’re not committing to attend them if they’re selected to be sessions. We’re just asking you to think about which topics would be relevant, practical, and of high quality to conference attendees.
  2. We’re not displaying how many times a proposal is favorited. Since there’s not a direct correlation between community input and session selection, we’ve stopped implying this process is voting for sessions.

Community input on final selection

The last step in session selection is ensuring there is a balanced agenda within and across topic categories. We’ll also make sure any critical topics are not missing from the lineup. If so, we’ll hold spots for these topics and seek to fill them. To increase opportunities for community input in our process, the Session Advisory Committee will be included in this final step as well.

If you have any questions about the community input process then please feel free to email us. Otherwise, you have until Friday, August 30 to review the proposals. Start favoriting today!

The 20NTC session selection process is underway with over 600 proposals submitted! However, we want to share that we made a mistake and have learned from the experience.

We require that anyone submitting a session have an “Organization” affiliation listed in their profile. Our guidelines include session application limits for individuals and teams or organizations to avoid having large organizations overrepresented. We failed to include enough information in the proposal support materials and on the proposal page that you could list an entity you work for, your name, or anything else that makes sense for your work. We do not require that people have to work for an established organization to submit sessions. But we see now how unclear and confusing that was in this year’s proposal process.

Learning, changing, improving, and doing so transparently is part of NTEN’s values. We are sorry to all those who felt excluded from the session proposal process this year because of the affiliation requirement. We appreciate the community member who took the time and energy to bring this to our attention.

We have already made notes and decisions around how to improve this so that you’ll see a clearer direction next year. And for anyone who experienced this and would like to discuss it further, please feel free to email me. Onward!

We’re excited to tell you session proposals are open for the 2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference (20NTC) happening in Baltimore MD, March 24–26, 2020! This includes proposals for both educational sessions and Ignites.

Proposals are accepted from July 8 to August 11.

If you’re familiar with our community-driven process, please take a minute to learn what has changed for 20NTC.

You can always find all the information you need regarding process, requirements, and more by visiting the 20NTC Session Proposal Guidelines & FAQs.

As always, there are a few things to keep in mind as you craft your proposals. Here are some resources and suggestions to help get you started.

Suggested topics

Based on feedback from the last NTC and input from the current Session Advisory Committee, we provided a list of suggested topics. Proposals are in no way required to adhere to what is suggested in these lists. They are provided as a way of sharing what the community (and those that will be sharing input on your proposals) have indicated they see as priority topics. View the 20NTC Suggested Topics.

Highlight diverse perspectives

NTEN has a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and sessions are expected to be aligned with this focus. Your proposal should clearly articulate a diverse range of voices, perspectives, and content to help it find wide support both with the community and the Session Advisory Committee, which will be using this as one of their review criteria.

Be clear who is a good fit

With anywhere from 15 to 20 concurrent sessions attendees have a lot to choose from in terms of sessions. The more you can clarify in your session title and description who is the right fit for your session the better your chances of getting support for selection and the right audience in the room at the event.

An obvious focus on the practical application

Attendees are looking for tips, strategies, and tools they can put to use immediately. Ensuring your session proposal has a clear connection to practical application goes a long way in terms of building support for your session.

Nonprofit perspective included

Each session is required to include a nonprofit perspective, with the exception of the short format sessions. Making it clear in your proposal how this is already included or how you intend to include it will be important to be both considered for and move forward if your session is selected.

Know the guidelines

Sessions at the NTC have guidelines for what goes into creating the high-quality experience attendees have come to expect. Ensuring your proposals clearly meet these guidelines increases your likelihood of building community support and selection. Please review the guidelines.

Who should submit a proposal?

Submissions are open to the public, regardless of NTEN membership status or previous participation within the NTEN community. We strongly encourage individuals and organizations who have not presented at an NTC and those from underrepresented communities and perspectives to submit proposals.

Get support from NTEN and the community

There are multiple ways you can find support throughout the proposal process, including open offices hours and a peer review community group. Get the full details in the Guidelines and FAQ resource.

Want more information?

Join us for a community call, Tuessday, July 9. We’ll share details on the overall process and what happens when a proposal moves into the various stages of the selection process. We’ll also answer any other questions you have about how you can be part of building the educational program for 20NTC.

You can also always reach out to us at training@nten.org with any specific questions.

In a little over a week, we open the community-driven process to gather session proposals for the 2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference (20NTC), held in Baltimore, MD.

Session proposals open on July 8, 2019.

As always, we look for opportunities to continually evolve the conference based on attendee and speaker feedback, lessons learned, and new ideas we want to pilot. Here are the key changes and updates you can expect at 20NTC.

Continued Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

NTEN continues to emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion at the conference, including the proposal and session selection process. This year there will be a field on the proposal form that allows you to share how your session will directly support these efforts. The Session Advisory Committee will continue using this as part of their criteria as well and there will be new fields providing opportunities to share this type of information about your proposal during the community input part of the process.


Ignites are your opportunity to present from the main stage in front of 2,200 of your peers. In previous years applications to present an Ignite opened after the main session selection process was complete. Beginning this year, applications will be accepted during the same period of time as other sessions proposals. However, Ignites will continue to go through an internal review process only and will not be part of the public input process

An Expanded Presence of Short-Form Sessions

At 19NTC we piloted the use of a 30 min format to add both some variety to session formats and address the natural lull that comes directly after lunch. The response from both attendees and presenters was so positive that we’re extending the shorter format session to all three days. This means more unique sessions for attendees to choose from overall.

Community-Driven Sessions

As part of our continued exploration on better ways to include community-driven sessions to be more integrated with the rest of the program, we are exploring a new option this year. Rather than happening during lunch times, competing with educational sessions or only on the pre-conference day, we will be run community-driven events (such as Connect Sessions) in the late afternoons over the course of the three days of the conference. By making this shift, we will be putting our community-driven sessions in parallel with other community type event times rather than opposite them.

Session Advisory Committee — Final Review

The Session Advisory Committee will be adding an additional layer of review to the final selection of sessions. Historically, their votes are aggregated with community input to create a final score which is then used to build the final agenda. Beginning this year they will also look over the final selection to offer insights into missing key topics and the overall balance of topics within their assigned category.

Have additional questions or want to learn more? Join us for a free community call on July 9.

When 2,300+ nonprofit professionals gathered in Portland last month for the 2019 Nonprofit Technology Conference, they didn’t glean career guidance from keynote speakers and session presenters alone. For a second year, the NTC Career Center offered an on-site spot to connect with longtime community members for eight-minute mentoring and professional profile or résumé reviews.

We asked this year’s Career Center Mentors to share their top career tips. Here are a few highlights.

Dar Veverka

Director of Information Technology, Urban Teachers

In her experience with career mentoring, Dar believes a common error is sharing a generic checklist of tech skills, rather than showcasing accomplishments and skills that nonprofit tech teams need.

“Highlight your entire skill set. Did you do the product evaluation for migrating to a new CRM? Did you lead the journey-mapping for a new website? Do you know how to manage a budget or maybe you found cost savings for an org? Maybe you’re really good at tech project management. You don’t have to have a PMP to highlight that on your résumé. Someone that can successfully organize and lead a cross-team tech project is worth their weight in gold to any organization.”

Another frequent issue is recognizing and addressing self-doubt. “Go for it! Job listings are wish lists. As a hiring manager, I am often happy to have a candidate with a 75% match with the job description. I look for mostly-matches that demonstrate they can get up to speed on the rest of the items I need for the position.”

Looking to hone some essential nonprofit tech skills? Dar recommends fine-tuning your ability to juggle many things, address shifting priorities, and continually learn and adapt — “all on a tight budget while standing on your head (Okay, maybe not that last item. It often feels like that’s what you’re being asked to do).”

New to the sector? Dar advises that nonprofit jobs often involve taking on many different tasks and responsibilities. “Use that as a learning opportunity. There are just as many directions you can go in nonprofit tech as there are in the for-profit tech world. Find your strengths, your niche, and what you like doing.”

David Geilhufe

Senior Director, Social Impact Strategy at Oracle NetSuite

David’s top advice is 1) Take advantage of opportunities, 2) Create opportunities, and 3) know your direction. “It’s the interplay of these three things that make for a great and fulfilling career.”

David’s introduction to the sector was when someone dropped by his office and asked, ‘You like computers, right?,” which led to volunteer HTML-coding training with at-risk youth,“ says David. “At the time, I had a general sense of my direction, but the specifics eluded me. By being open to the volunteer opportunity, it allowed me to add to my direction. I discovered I wanted to make the world a better place and I enjoyed using technology to do it.”

One of David’s first “real” jobs in nonprofit technology was a mix of taking advantage and creating opportunities. “I responded to a job listing in line with my direction and I found out that the federal grant that funded the position was a matching grant. I would have to raise the match before I could get paid. At that point, I had to create the opportunity, take a risk, and raise my salary. This was an interesting journey into privilege. I worked with a community-based social and racial justice organization, but it was my privilege that allowed me to create the opportunity. Creating an opportunity doesn’t have to be too dramatic. Going to the NTC and talking to 50 people can create a lot of opportunities.”

But what if there are no opportunities? “Opportunities take a lot of work. In job searches, it was not uncommon for me to apply to 100 different jobs. In volunteer contexts, I would get involved with five or 10 different organizations before I found or created the opportunity. There is no shortcut to the work, but knowing your direction will allow you to sort through all the opportunities and allow you to select things that take you in a positive direction.”

Deb Socia

Executive Director, Next Century Cities, and NTEN Board Vice Chair

A longtime mentor, Deb most enjoys talking with people who are examining their current position and considering taking on more responsibility. Here are her top five tips.

Find your passion and pursue it.

Don’t settle for a position that does not fill your soul. Working in the nonprofit community can be challenging in many ways, but you do have the opportunity to get paid twice. First is your actual paycheck (and it should be a livable wage!) and your second payment should be the sense of personal satisfaction you receive from your work.

Be brave, be bold.

Do not underestimate your capacity to take on greater responsibility. Everyone in leadership had a first leadership role and we all felt worried about our ability to do it well. Accept that no one is perfect and making mistakes is a part of learning and growing.

Ask and listen.

Never believe you have to know everything. You need to tap the skill set of those around you. Find mentors, listen to the experts on staff, be open to new ideas, and create space for conversation.

Build up the people around you.

Provide regular, real, and helpful feedback, ensure your budget has room for professional development, and encourage folks to take chances and step up.

Give credit and accept blame.

When you are a leader and things go well, publicly congratulate staff. When things go wrong, take responsibility.

Farra Trompeter

Vice President, Big Duck, and NTEN Board member

Check mission first, people second.

Feeling that an organization’s or company’s mission aligns with your values is often the first step of a job search. Beyond that, people often focus on the details of the job description or the range of the salary. How you’ll be spending your day and whether you’ll be fairly compensated are other givens. But what about focusing on who you’ll be spending the day with? With so many hours spent collaborating with colleagues, finding a group of people you can learn from, respect, and enjoy is just as important. If you are evaluating a position, don’t just scroll through your LinkedIn network for people who can put in a good word or connect you for an info interview. Look for people who know the current or former staff at your potential employer and see if they’ll talk to you about the culture.

Before you leave, grow from within.

Now let’s say you love the people you work with and are still fueled by the mission, but don’t love how you are spending your day. Before you leave, consider talking to your colleagues about other things you can do there. Bringing in some new responsibilities or switching jobs completely can breathe new life into what may feel tedious or boring. And if you love working somewhere, there’s a chance they love you too and would rather find a way to support your growth than lose you completely if there is an opportunity to do so.

Find what charges you up.

Not sure if you should stay or go? Confused about where to take your job search? Take time to reflect on what kind of work energizes you and what feels depleting. Look back at your past week or even your most recent jobs, and make a list. Spot any trends? Before you dive into the nitty-gritty of a specific job, zoom out and a get a sense of what you really need in a job, in a workplace, and in a supervisor, and focus your search on the elements that are most likely to motivate you.

Jason Shim

Director, Digital Strategy, Pathways to Education Canada, and NTEN Board Chair

Jason reviewed several résumés at the 19NTC Career Center and noticed a common tactic of work experience separated into “Volunteer” and “Employment” sections. “Consider a single heading of ‘relevant experience’ that includes both volunteer and employment experiences, and highlight the roles that most closely align with the role. Whether the relevant experience is paid or unpaid, it is still valuable and should be highlighted accordingly.”

When thinking about your next steps, Jason recommends you consider not just your next position, but the position you want after that. “It helps to create the space to reflect on how shorter-term job decisions can also support your longer-term career goals.”

In nonprofit careers, a sense of meaningful impact is often identified as an important consideration. “When considering career decisions, take a step back to reflect on your personal values and identify what these values look like in action in order to provide clarity that can inform future career decisions,” says Jason. “For example, if balance is identified as one of your personal values, what does balance look like on a day-to-day basis? What does it look like in 30 days? Six months? A year? What is the role your career will play in living out your values? These reflections can help to plan your next steps.”

Ready to take these tips and find your next opportunity? Visit our Nonprofit Tech Job Board for freshly-posted listings from change-making organizations across the country.

Software developers can’t put roofs over people’s heads. But they can, as Silicon Valley’s Community Technology Alliance puts it, help housing activists and their organizations more effectively get the right resources to the right people at the right time.

Bob Russell heads that Community Technology Alliance, and his work coordinating the development of the open-source HOME — for Homeless Outreach Mobile Engagement — software has won the 13th annual Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest.

The $10,000 Pizzigati Prize honors software developers working to fashion open-source applications that support activists and nonprofits in their ongoing struggle for social change and renewal.

Tides, a partner to philanthropists and activists worldwide, hosts the prize selection process and formally presented this year’s honor in Portland, Oregon, at NTEN’s annual Nonprofit Technology Conference, the nonprofit sector’s signature technology event.

Learn more about this honor and Bob’s work.

Every year at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, NTEN honors smart, generous, and inspiring community members by celebrating their achievements through three awards.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Shireen Mitchell


Shireen Mitchell profile photo

The Lifetime Achievement award honors an individual who is instrumental in shaping the field of nonprofit technology, and has dedicated their career to advocating for our sector and paved the way for all of us. This is the 11th year we’ve given out the Lifetime Achievement award.

Shireen has made an incredible impact to this community and our country, often in ways that media and institutions refuse to recognize, creating a world online and offline where everyone, especially women and girls of color, can lead.

NTEN Award: Emilio Arocho

Emilio ArochoThe NTEN Award recognizes a community member who is truly living the NTEN values. They are always ready to share resources or a recommendation, they contribute to the community with articles, and regularly invest their time and energy to support our sector.

Emilio is a volunteer organizer for one of NTEN’s online groups. He recently earned his Nonprofit Technology Professional Certificate from NTEN while regularly engaging and supporting others in the program, served on the 19NTC session advisory committee, and so much more.

Rob Stuart Memorial Award: We R Native


We R Native logoThe Rob Stuart Memorial Award honors the spirit of someone who was pivotal in creating the NTEN community. Rob Stuart was a builder of communities, ideas, and movements. Central to his work was the idea that technology can accelerate the pace of change, making it possible for movements to grow overnight and for change to be created in new and surprising ways. Each year, we celebrate Rob by honoring an organization and community using technology to disrupt the status quo. Rob’s legacy continues to thrive as the NTEN community pushes technology to be more inclusive, to support more diverse goals, and to truly be a tool for change.

We R Native is an organization that recognizes technology is a tool for connection, support, and change—making critical impact that can change the course of the lives of their community.

Voting is open now through March 1 for the 2019 DoGooder Awards, which honor the best work created by people and organizations using video to make a real impact in their communities. See3, Gather Voices, and NTEN are excited to present these DoGooder Awards.

Finalists have been selected for the following categories:

  • Best Nonprofit Video Award
    Best overall video created by a nonprofit organization.
  • Fundraising for Good Award
    Best fundraising video that includes a direct call for donations.
  • Funny for Good Award
    For those creators who are doing good with a sense of humor.

Winners will be announced on March 13 at the 2019 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Portland, Oregon, and each winner will receive one free registration to NTEN’s 2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference.

Here’s a sampling of videos waiting for your vote:

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – A mother’s dream for her child
“Our objective was to help raise awareness for cystic fibrosis and show the progress that has been made. People with CF are living longer than ever before and achieving dreams of all kinds. Going to prom. Getting married. But we’re not finished yet. We can’t stop until there’s a cure for CF.”

A prescription for your energy bill power struggle, from Dr. Watt
“This video was produced for a campaign raising awareness about energy efficiency and Illinois’ new smart power grid, in partnership with the Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation.”

Vote for your favorite video in each category at dogooder.tv. You can vote once per day, and you’re encouraged to share your vote and spread the word about the valuable work these organizations are doing.

Looking for an edge in our competitive nonprofit job market? Or, perhaps you’ve been there, and want to share what you’ve learned?

The Career Center will return to the 19NTC, March 13-15, after an overwhelmingly positive response last year, and we’ve expanded the center’s hours to better accommodate attendees’ schedules.

Every day during lunchtime, the Career Center will be open from 12 noon to 1:15pm PT. It’ll also be open on Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:45pm PT during the reception in the exhibit hall, and Thursday from 4:15 to 5:45pm PT during dedicated exhibit hall time.

How it works: Mentee Edition

Sign up here if you’d like to work with a nonprofit professional to improve your job-seeking chances, advance in your current organization, or find a new role. Bring your résumé or your professional profile like LinkedIn (on screen or printed out). Our pros will help you position yourself in the industry, up your skills, and advise on how to network with your peers.

You’ll spend just eight minutes with your mentor, but that time should give you a solid base for professional growth. We hope you’ll feel refreshed and excited, with action items to make your résumé or profile shine.

How it works: Mentor Edition

You’ve been at this for years. You know what management looks for when hiring good candidates, and you want to share this knowledge with the NTEN community. You’re dedicated to helping good people find great opportunities, either in their current jobs or future ones. Up to the task?

There are many community members looking for your help. They love what they do, they love nonprofit work, and they want to improve their chances of advancement, or just improve themselves professionally. Our mentors help to polish résumés and improve online profiles, while at the same time offering advice and general knowledge about the nonprofit landscape.

Be a mentor and share your experience with the community. Sign up here.

Stay tuned

We’ll have much more information about the Career Center soon. Sign up now, and we’ll keep you in the loop.

Here at NTEN HQ, we’re just about to bust our buttons with pride in hosting the 19NTC in Portland, Oregon. We’re so excited to share everything that makes us love our hometown with you, our incredible community members.

You’ve probably heard all of our reasons to attend: over 2,300 attendees, nearly 200 educational breakout sessions, 100 exhibitors, valuable networking, and the chance to spend time in the incredible city of Portland. If you’re still on the fence, we’ve compiled a list of top five reasons why you should join us in March.

New pre-conference day

The NTC pre-conference, on March 12, Is all new for 2019. We’re hosting sessions on WordPress, Drupal ActBlue, Data Security, Azure and AI from Microsoft. Instead of registering for one track of programming, attendees will be able to plan their own agenda in order to select from all categories of sessions. Additionally, the WP and Drupal online communities each will host four sessions of their own, so this year the pre-conference day will include a substantial community aspect. Get excited to dive deep and ask the questions you’ve been waiting for, and leave with tangible ideas and actions you can take back to your organization.

Career Center

The NTC Career Center will be staffed by professionals from the NTEN community who will offer eight-minute mentoring and professional profile or résumé reviews. It will provide mentees with personalized and unique opportunities to learn how to best position themselves on the job, enhance their career skills, and network with peers.

Sessions galore

Technology changes fast! With the abundance of incredible resources available, it can be challenging to carve out time to absorb the latest trends and apply them to your nonprofit’s work. At the 19NTC, we’ve compiled an impressive agenda of sessions on a range of topics, plus, we’re debuting new tactical sessions. These 30-minute sessions will provide attendees with actionable and practical solutions to immediately apply to their work.

Connect with the local nonprofit community

Thanks to our sponsor Care2, we’ll host drop-in volunteer projects during all Exhibit Hall hours. Stop by to make toys and blankets for shelter pets, help assemble hygiene kits for folks experiencing homelessness, and pack sack lunches for a rescue mission. Get to know your fellow attendees and give back to the local community!

We’ve got your back!

While the NTC has a lot to offer, it can be a bit overwhelming. We’re here to make your experience as welcoming and comfortable as possible, including our lactation room with milk storage, our prayer and meditation room (now featuring reiki!), and our racial affinity spaces.

We hope to see you in Portland this March—register for the 19NTC today! Bring your raincoats for our sometimes soggy but always lovely climate.