Nonprofit Technology Conference Session Hot Picks! #18NTC

social fish
social fish

UPDATE: the voting window is now closed, but check these great sessions out and come to #18ntc! Fingers crossed these get selected but it will be an awesome conference no matter what 🙂


Are you going to the 2018 Nonprofit Technology Conference (#18ntc)?  You may have heard that session voting is open. Here’s a quick roundup of some great sessions – please vote for these if you love them as much as I do!  How did I choose them, you ask? As you read through them, you’ll notice how they all reflect important perspectives on culture… 🙂

Full disclosure – I know the folks presenting these and therefore I pretty much guarantee their awesomeness.

  • Fish or Fowl? Establishing Your Nonprofit’s Brand Personality

Is your voice on social media friendly or formal? Are your email appeals inspiring or dull? Your organization has a personality—a tone and style—that is reflected in how you present yourself and how people respond to you. This session will explain what having a “brand personality” means and how it can help your organization engage people and differentiate itself. We’ll share examples and lead you through an exercise to craft your own.

  • Activism in the era of Trump: How nonprofits can respond to a mobilized base and the technology that’s empowering them.

Before the 2016 election, nonprofit organizations sometimes struggled to move their constituents beyond signing a petition or writing a legislator. But the election has sparked not only higher levels of digital activism and offline mobilization, but also new technology designed to make activism, easier more creative and more impactful than ever before. In this session, you’ll hear from a diverse panel of industry thought leaders, tech developers and advocacy organizations about how nonprofits can effectively respond in this new era of activism that demands we provide local, impactful ways to make our voices heard. This will be a “state of the industry” type discussion, with insights and opinions from some of our community’s thought leaders.

Are you the first communications director at your nonprofit? Or were you hired or promoted into the job, even though communications is not your primary area of experience or training? No fear, you aren’t alone! The Communications Director title is still a relatively new one in the sector, the job is constantly evolving, and just about everyone is making it up as they go. During this session, we’ll discuss comms strategy and planning basics and some internal ground rules and workflows to build early, so you avoid big problems later. We’ll also talk about how to “manage from the middle” and build a culture inside your nonprofit that supports great communications with those outside the organization.

You’re amazing at what you do. You’re deeply committed to the non-profit community and leveraging technology to make the world a better place. But you struggle with getting (and staying) focused and are on the brink of burnout from the endless emails and notifications from social media and your devices. You know there’s a better a way to manage the tech tools that seem to be getting in your way more than helping you and your team advance the mission of your organization. If this sounds like you, join us for a fun, interactive session that addresses technology mindfulness for individuals, teams, and organizations. We’ll cover the following: 1) how you can combat technology burnout so that you spend more time on mission-critical activities; 2)  how teams can mindfully use technology to improve productivity, and; 3) how to improve your nonprofit’s culture to encourage mindful organizational technology use.

You are an experienced nonprofit technology trainer who is responsible for internal training and leadership development. You have solid skills but you’re wanting to update your toolkit of facilitation and training tricks. Come explore new techniques to add to your training toolbox including design thinking, appreciative inquiry, gamification and more that will freshen up your practice and recharge your passion for training. While our session is designed for experienced trainers, people of all levels will find useful ideas. Our expert facilitators have decades of experience and will share their knowledge as well as tools and techniques that are proven winners. We’ll get you moving in this participatory session so come prepared to exchange ideas, be energized and inspired! As a bonus, resources for additional new ideas you can use back at the office will be shared.

  • Brand Architecture: Strategies to strengthen your nonprofit’s family of programs, events, and initiatives

Do you have a gala your supporters would never miss? A fun run that motivates families and raises lots of money from friends-of-friends? A campaign that rallies activists to take to the streets and share it on social media? These initiatives can be wildly popular as well as the entryway to your organization. With unique names and logos that grab attention, and microsites or promotion to market them, supporters may connect to these “sub-brands,” but not realize your organization is behind them. More and more nonprofits seem to be struggling with how to organize communications in looking at a full brand review versus “sub-brands”. In this workshop, we’ll define brand architecture and share insights and examples for how to organize your brand and express it in a clear, holistic way that your audiences understand. We will also present case studies so you can see different examples of brand architecture structures in action.

  • Tokenizing Is A Thing Of The Past – How To Actually Make Your Org LGBTQ Inclusive

So, you’ve written job descriptions that explicitly state that you don’t discriminate based on sexual orientation. Maybe you’ve even hired a Director of Diversity. And, your nonprofit may have even gone as far as offering an inclusivity training. Congratulations! You’re on your way to LGBTQ competency……but wait! There’s so much more to it than that. Research has shown that organizations aren’t paying Directors of Diversity as much as they’re paying other department Directors. And, people who are transgender are getting lumped into the sexual orientation category when really, gender identity and sexual orientation aren’t related. There’s still so much more work to be done. This interactive workshop will provide tangible ways to be even more inclusive without tokenizing, strategies that are sustainable for the long-term, and team-building exercises to create more welcoming spaces within your nonprofit.

  • Culture Change and Engagement

By facilitating engagement strategically, community managers orchestrate and normalize behavior change – and change culture much more efficiently and effectively than top-down approaches can. This requires a sophisticated understanding of engagement and how to orchestrate it. This workshop will help you understand how to crack the engagement code.

  • Creating a Culture of Continuous Innovation in a Not-For-Profit

A Not-For-Profit organization’s ability to use technology to innovate can make or break the success of their programs. Programs that stop innovating become stale and lose their effectiveness over time. The clever application of technology can help organizations deliver their value propositions more effectively, generate excitement in their ecosystems and ultimately help them drive impact. In this presentation, we will present several useful and proven models that will help technologists impact their organization’s ability to innovate and improve the performance of their programs through technology.

  • Digital Minimalism: How to win the internet with more focus and less stress

Minimalism is a movement that favors quality over quantity and has been influencing Americans to reduce the clutter in their lives and focus on the important experience of living. With its unlimited channels, always-on social networks, and constant noise, our digital spaces are equally cluttered. Digital Minimalism applies the thinking of the minimalism movement to your organization’s digital engagement programs. By cleaning out your digital closet and focusing on the powerful stories that move people to action, you can improve your engagement and online success. A form of organizational self-care, Digital Minimalism starts with strategy and a deliberate focus on constituent-centric storytelling. In this session you will get to audit your own program for clutter and learn about the quick wins that can increase organizational focus and improve your results.

Editorial calendars are essential tools for CALM: being more Collaborative, Agile, Logical and Methodical in your communications work. During this session, we’ll quickly cover some editorial calendar basics and then move on to Show and Tell. You’ll see how several nonprofits structure and manage their calendars, including which tools they use, what’s included (and not), and who in the nonprofit uses it and how. You’ll leave the session with lots of great ideas for how you can build your own editorial calendar, or tweak the one you have now, to help you be even more effective in your communications work.

And, of course, I’ll love you forever if you vote for my session too!

  • The Hidden Power of Your Organization’s Genetic Culture Code

Workplace culture is the true key to capacity building for nonprofit organizations, yet leaders struggle when it comes to improving culture and making it stronger. Core values and engagement surveys fail to move the needle, because what’s missing is a deeper understanding of the true dynamics that make your culture tick. In the Workplace Genome™ Project, organizations have analyzed what it’s REALLY like to work there, measured by 8 key culture dynamics. Learn how several nonprofits have been able to use that deeper knowledge to make concrete internal changes that have improved capacity and sustainability for more powerful mission-driven success.

Thanks and see you in New Orleans (well, if my session gets in… hint hint!)

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