As you may know, since 2003 501cTECH’s Technology Innovation Awardshave recognized D.C. area nonprofits who put technology to use in an innovative way to improve key aspects of their operations and help advance their missions. It has also served as a reminder that technology is just as important to nonprofits as it is to large corporations.
Nonprofits may submit applications in the following three programmatic areas:
PreK-12 and STEM Education, sponsored by CenturyLink
Skills to Succeed and Workforce Development, Sponsored by Accenture
Veterans and Military Families, Sponsored by BAE Systems
Applicants must designate which one they believe most closely aligns with their project idea, but the cause area you select does not need to be the sole focus of the organization. If you can explain how your project applies to one of these categories and advances your nonprofit’s mission, we strongly encourage you to apply.
Past winners have included the YWCA of the National Capital Area, The Arc of Northern Virginia, and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). Winners have completed a wide range of projects that empowered them through digital capabilities, including web-based learning portals, comprehensive salesforce customization, mobile application development, and innovative social media strategy. Their stories can be found on 501cTECH’s blog, and a full list of past winners and their projects are available on 501cTECH’s website.
This is a unique opportunity to turn that great idea you’ve been holding onto into a reality and we would love to help you do it. The deadline to apply isFriday, July 1 at 5 p.m.
Hopecam received the 2015 Technology Innovation Award in the K-12 & STEM Education category, sponsored by CenturyLink. Earlier this year, I caught up with Brad Hawkins, a member of Hopecam’s Board of Directors, and learned about the history of the organization and how the $7,500 award is making a big difference.
Brad became involved with Hopecam four years ago after hearing Hopecam’s founder, Len Forkas, speak about his 2011 Race Across America. Over the span of only 12 days, Len biked over 3,000 miles from San Diego to Annapolis in what is considered one of the toughest bike races in the world. Each day of the race, Len rode in honor of a different child with cancer. “I had the luxury of choosing to put my body through the physical challenge” Len said when reflecting on the race, “children with cancer don’t have that choice. I wanted to raise greater awareness of childhood cancer and the resources available to children and families.”
For Len, this bike ride was deeply personal – his own son had been diagnosed with Leukemia 9 years earlier.
Guest Post from Bevin Landrum, Cyclical Communications Manager & TAPS Magazine Editor, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors | 2015 Technology Innovation Award Winner, sponsored by BAE Systems. Read more about their mobile app.
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) hosts two national seminars for survivors grieving the loss of a loved one in service to America. These national events bring together thousands for a time of support and connection with others who have experienced the same loss. It is so important that we begin welcoming our families to the event and integrating them into the process in advance of opening day. This helps us avoid overwhelming them with logistics when they arrive, so they can focus on the many healing resources available to them at the seminar.
TAPS decided that an easy-to-use mobile app would be an excellent way to roll out advance details about the seminar, help our survivors connect with their peers and provide logistic updates during the event. We started the research on mobile app developers six months in advance of our event and are currently waiting for our app to be approved in the Apple and Google Play app stores.
Four departments were integral to the success of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) mobile app development for our annual National Military Survivor Seminar: communications, programs, IT and our 24/7 Helpline. Not only did the content included in the app need to be informative and correct, but we needed to make sure that survivors registered for the event could receive appropriate support for the app if and when needed.
Prior to the launch of the app in April, the communications team worked closely with our programs staff to create a dashboard that included the key information for our event such as the daily schedules, speakers, resource vendors, evening event information, point of interest details, maps and FAQs. We creatively used our banner ad spaces internally to promote high-level events and details that needed additional spotlight promotion. We agreed on a priority timeline for gathering the information to upload to the app and assigned key tasks to each department.
Guest post from our Technology Partner, Converged Network Services Group. CNSG provides comprehensive, end-to-end telecommunications services. From carrier, cloud and IP infrastructure services to contract negotiation, issue resolution and every matter in between—they do it all.
Does this sound like you? Your computer keeps deleting the grant application you’ve been working on for the past 3 weeks because your storage is too full. Your phone keeps sending your selfies to your boss and you can’t figure out why. You want to tweet that there’s a clothing drive on Friday, but you can’t figure out why your Wi-Fi isn’t working. You think an update is going to a fancy restaurant instead of McDonald’s. You had no idea why people keep saying your music is “in the cloud.”
Is your nonprofit organization thinking about moving to Box.org? 501cTECH’s Technology Program Manager, Quizaira Recio, offers a few things to consider before jumping into the project. While this advice is tailored to nonprofits considering Box.org, the decision process can be applied to a variety of technology projects.
The biggest challenge nonprofits face when it comes to implementing new solutions, such as Box, is that they don’t have the time or resources on hand to provide a smooth and painless transition for their staff members.
Since we first discovered Box about 2 years ago, we’ve been encouraging nonprofits to consider the possibility of transitioning to a cloud based document management solution, but not diving in until they were ready to absorb the impact of such a transition. While this technology can be considered colloquial in the consumer market, nonprofits (and for profits for that matter) still view this technology as cutting edge – primarily because of the uptake. Acclimating to a new technology solution is not always easy. Using a solution such as Box requires you to take a few things into consideration:
Helping students set goals and work towards them is a huge step in empowering underserved youth. That’s the idea behind Teens Run DC, a nonprofit that promotes the physical, social and emotional well-being of DC students through running and mentoring programs.
As we enter the new near, we’re all making plans for New Year’s resolutions. Why not take your resolutions into the workplace, starting with one of the things we all come in contact with the most in an office environment – email. It can be daunting and overwhelming to open a full inbox every morning. By the end of the year, we’re all happy to take a break from it and rest during the holidays – email free. As you go back to the work place after some restful time off, make it a priority to stay on top of your emails this year. Having a more organized inbox will reduce stress, and help you be more efficient in your work.
Outlook 2013 has several options you can set that help you automate and simplify your email experience. Here are five ways to make your Outlook experience more convenient.
On December 9th, 501cTECH, NetSquared DC, and the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) co-sponsored a happy hour and panel discussion on digital trends. Panelists included thought leaders in the digital engagement space: Charmaine Nokuri, Chris Tuttle, DeRay Mckesson, and Jo Miles, and Colin Delany and Roshani Kothari moderated.
The discussion focused on how nonprofits can use digital platforms to further their missions.
Photo: Colin Delany, Jo Miles, DeRay Mckesson
Chris Tuttle’s opening remarks summed up the focus of the discussion quite well. There are three areas where organizations tend to struggle on digital platforms:
Questions answered by Joyce Raezer, Executive Director at the National Military Family Association. This follow-up survey was designed to serve as a resource for understanding how grants serve nonprofits, and what obstacles grant recipients might encounter while implementing projects.
The Project was to add a new, crucial feature to a recently launched mobile app, MyMilitaryFamily. According to the application, this feature would allow military spouses to add content and recommend resources to their peers around the country. This was expected to be an essential tool to capture the more informal community support that was currently happening on platforms like Facebook. The hypothesis was that this social feature would increase engagement and habitual usage of the app.