Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Where I'll be at #15NTC!

Each year I follow in the inspiring example of Peter S. Campbell by sharing where I'll be at the You should read Peter's post to see where he will be!
Nonprofit Tech Conference.

The annual NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference is something I look forward to all year long! This event has helped shape my career and the orgs I have worked for, plus it has impacted a number of orgs and staff I have collaborated or shared with. I love it. Anyway, here is where I will be at #15NTC.

HELP! Last year I made awesome plans to connect with people at Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, but I don't have any of those plans yet, hit me on Twitter at @steveheye if you want to connect or leave a comment.

Or you can read what I learned at #14NTC to see if it helps you want to go!

Tues, March 3

Volunteering! I will be helping NTEN stuff bags and such all day if you want to come find us to help!

A mix of nerds and brew, need we say more? Celebrate the 7th annual #ntcbeer, the pre-conference party known for good refreshments and better conversation. Catch up with nptech friends old and new over a few brews or whatever. Visit us on Facebook!

Weds, March 4

NTENer Center!
If you want to meet me, hang out with me or just point and laugh, I will be at the NTENer center from 7am-8:30am and 3-3:30pm! The NTENer center will be in the middle of the science fair. Take a minute to grab a lounge chair and chill with me.

Ignite Plenary!
Excited about this even if I a will not be presenting this year. Ignites rock the house with 20 slides, 15 seconds each and in 5 minutes you have a lasting memory! I embedded a video here if you want to relive the song part of my ignite from #14TNC.

Help Desk or Service Desk: Either Way, How Does IT Become a Partner?
I am presenting this with Dar Veverka and John Cronin. Help Desk sessions may sound boring, but this will not be! We all know the traditional meaning behind an IT Help Desk: something breaks, you call, we fix. Moving to an IT Service Desk can add further meaning: we also work with you on the goal. And in case you need another reason to come, check out DJ Help Desk!

Avoiding Disaster - A Practical Guide to Backup Systems and Disaster Recovery Planning
Pretty much every nonprofit has an IT disaster recovery plan in place these days– it’s a standard auditing requirement. But often those plans are just a modified boiler plate that someone snagged off the Internet to satisfy that auditing requirement. No one has ever tested the plan or thought about whether all parts of it are practical, much less kept it up to date.

Thurs, March 5

Strategy, IT\Mission Alignment and Outcomes -- How Do Yours Fit Together?
This stands to be the highlight of #15NTC for me! I have been waiting for years to present this session and excited to have Kelly Trusty bring it! Does an organization’s overall strategy type have anything to do with the extent to which it aligns technology with its mission? We say yes, and a study of 244 organizations agrees. Does that connection have anything to do with how well an organization performs and achieves outcomes? Again, we think so. We would like to share those connections with you and help you see how the relationship between strategy, IT/mission alignment and performance in your organization can be strengthened to help you achieve outcomes.

How to and Where to Get Started with Business Intelligence
This session will provide you with a practical approach for getting started with business intelligence (BI). Using BI will help you understand what drives the success of your organization.

Igniting a Culture of Tech Innovation
If nonprofits don’t innovate, they are going to lose talent, support, and funding to other faster, sexier tech startups. Let’s talk about how to create a culture of tech innovation in nonprofits, because we have people’s interests, not just the bottom line, at heart.

FUN After Hours!
Salesforce Foundation Party
NTC Howdy Hour with TechSoup!

Fri, March 6

How to Perform a Strategic Technology Assessment for Your Nonprofit
Based on over 100 projects performed over the last dozen years for nonprofits big and small, this informative presentation will step participants through the most commonly adopted and time-tested process for performing strategic technology assessments for nonprofits.

Geek Games! Bring it!

Sat, March 7 

Fishing with Friends at Lake Travis, I can hardly wait to combine a nonprofit tech conference trip with fishing! Booyah!

SO much Stuff! If you haven't registered, DO IT NOW! If you have registered, change your travel to be there early for the Pre-Conference (Smaller crowds and more info!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Is Adoption today's implementation?

When I first started in technology, you needed technical aptitude and were forced to follow the parameters set by the tools. Technology projects were focused on the hardware needs, installation and setup. You needed to follow the implementation plan and then stick to the manuals.

But times have changed, many technology projects require very little technical knowledge and hardly focus on the tools at all. The strategy, process, buy-in, training and organizational change overshadow all of the technology.

The transition from inserting disk A to logging into the cloud, building software to leveraging platforms, hardware constraints to nearly limitless storage, code to config, wired to wireless, heavy tech skills required to consumerized tech, and on and on...   It isn't stopping.

Sidebar soapbox: just cause all this tech is changing doesn't mean tech staff are going away. Wrong. The demand is growing. Tech staff know how to integrate, match to process, innovate, configure, manage, train, drive strategy, select platforms, see the big picture, and on and on... It isn't stopping

Back to my point though. Adoption of technology in an org is now more important than implementing it. It isn't about installing it, it is about getting it understood. It isn't about the tool, it is about how it is used. It isn't about the email, it is about the message.  It isn't about the social media, it is about the conversation.  It isn't about the system, it is about the culture surrounding it. It isn't about functionality, it is about how it serves the mission.

Anyway, I think you get the point. Most technology projects are not about implementing the technology, they are about the organizational change required (ADOPTION!)

Luckily enough, the awesome, smart people over at Exponent Partners (who we worked with to adopt Exponent Case Management on Salesforce) wrote an amazing paper all about the adoption process! And they did it in a way which would be tough to recreate here on my blog. SO GO DOWNLOAD THE ADOPTION RESOURCE!

Then be sure to read this awesome article from Peter Campbell on a very similar topic! 

I did a presentation about this for Dreamforce regarding adoption of Salesforce for The Cara Program. So to have a bit of fun with it, I first did a parody of Bruno Mars Lazy Song.  My video recreation of the song is below along with my presentation.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bring Faith to Everyday!

In my college years I strayed from my Faith. I made choices based on my own needs and wants. I became a different person. Eventually I found my way back and my life changed. My life continues to grow in blessings and joy. But I always wonder, what would my life be like if my Faith stayed a part of my life?

I think we all have part of our lives where we stray from our Faith, where we take our focus off of God and choose our own direction.

Now as my oldest kids are taking the next steps in their lives, I see them facing the choice of following their faith or taking their own path. Which makes me wonder, what can we do to better prepare our kids for their future?

When I think about this, I am reminded of countless Church services talking including God and Faith in every part of our lives and making Him the center. But do we help our children do this? Sure we take them to Church on Sunday and maybe even to a church group during the week, but do we encourage them to show their Faith outside of Church?

This is what gets me excited about Leap of Faith Arts Ministries, bringing God and Faith into the
Arts providing another opportunity to weave it into everyday. Allowing the dancers and artists to learn to use their talents to worship. This impact goes beyond the studio walls. Each time a Leap of Faith artist performs, one of dancers talks to their friends or a parent comes to Leap of Faith, an opportunity opens to experience God outside of Church.

The work Leap of Faith is doing is important to me and my family. We have dedicated a lot of our time, resources and talents to this organization because we believe in it.  Would you join us by making a donation to Leap of Faith on this #GivingTuesday?

With a monthly budget of $5,000, even a small donation has a large impact. A $100 donation is 2% of this monthly budget.  Will you join us in this work and bring Faith into the Arts?

You can donate on our website!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tech For Small Orgs!

photo from Sergio on Flickr
Having spent the last few years helping Leap of Faith Arts Ministries with their tech has spurred new thoughts on what it means to be a small org.

I think we have heard the pleas of "not enough money", "not enough time", and "not enough skills" so much that we become numb when we hear it. But these challenges are real. Using those challenges as excuses to have no technology plans is still not acceptable though. Even the smallest nonprofit should have a technology plan. Even if it is a napkin with a list of tech they use, vendor info and when it should be replaced.

SO my challenge to all small nonprofits is to stop focusing on your size and challenges and look at the opportunities you have. This video does a better job explaining it, I think...

SO what is the action you should take?
I would start with training the person who will be your technology decision maker. (note, I didn't call them your IT staff. I said technology decision maker. Even if you don't have IT staff, every org needs a formally recognized technology decision maker.)

Here is my full presentation about tech for small nonprofits:

If you are interested in seeing an example list of technology from a small org, you could read my post about the tech Leap of Faith uses. It is a good example of priority in spending tech dollars.

The other awesome part of small nonprofits? Even a $25 donation goes a huge distance. If you found this info or my blog helpful, consider donating to Leap of Faith Arts Ministries!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Why do I spend so much time on #NPTech?

Recently a few people have asked me questions like:
Why do you spend so much of your time on nonprofit technology?
Where do you find the time to write, present & speak about nonprofit technology?
Why are you so passionate about nonprofit technology?

Since the early 90's I have been a fan of the ability of technology to change the way a nonprofit meets their mission. My degree is in Finance, so I have a natural interest in process, policies, controls, metrics and the bottom line. Combine my finance education with a childhood full of volunteering in almost every program role possible at the YMCA and you get a process driven love of program delivery with a heart for technology innovation.

Understanding the importance of technology used to be a huge problem, today the problem seems to be moving from knowing technology is important to acting on it. Not to mention the distraction of social media. Yeah, I said it, social media is a distraction from core technology strategy (almost as distracting as gifs...). It seems like too much of our attention in nonprofit technology is on social media. Yes, social media is important, but more important than a solid infrastructure, good security, efficient staff, organization effectiveness and innovative use of technology for mission? I think not.

So I am trying to do my part to bring core technology strategy back into focus. The nonprofit and NTEN communities were there for me when I was starting out and I want to be there for others. I use a big chunk of my spare time reading, writing and speaking about nonprofit technology because I know first hand the power it has. 

I am not saying I am doing this alone, I am doing it as one small part of a community. This is why the NTEN community is so critical. This is why I am an NTEN Champion this year. Your support of this campaign helps nonprofits everywhere learn more about technology. It is like supporting all causes all at once!

Show your support at: https://www.crowdrise.com/2015NTENCommunityChallenge/fundraiser/NTENChampHeye

OR learn about the other causes I am promoting at:

This video is a teaser of a Bruno Mars song I rewrote. I will release more of the video as more donations come in.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Celebrating a year of Impact! Will you join in?

NPTech or Leap of Faith or The Cara Program - Help me support these causes.

But wait, there is more this year! My 14 year old son has started his own campaign called Comforting Covers!

"Getting stuff done" seems to be the only theme this year. A major project at The Cara Program was super rewarding and impactful, but required extra time, focus and energy. Leap of Faith went through major staff changes, a location move and a fundamental shift by joining More Than Great Dancing.

Not to mention Becca enjoying being a Band Mom and myself continuing to find time for Improv. But I have also been blessed with a number of opportunities to present at conferences including Dreamforce (Salesforce), NTEN NTC, Nonprofits in Motion, and National Catholic Development Conference. It has been a wild ride.

We have still made time to enjoy life, embrace family and love God, but it has all taken a toll. We have put more time and resources than ever into the causes we believe in.

I wouldn't change a thing. A key learning has been that we can't do it alone. We need your help.

Any small or large donation will help me feel I have made the right sacrifices and choices. I am really hoping to find 25 donors across the causes, please join me.

Comforting Covers

Comforting Covers was started in early 2014 by Dominic Heye (my son), a 14 year old boy. Inspired by God, this kid made this little idea he had into a huge plan. He collected over 15,000 dollars in February 2014. Now this year he hopes to collect double that. Comforting Covers collects blankets, gloves, coats, socks, shoes, pants, and anything else a homeless person might need in bitter Illinois weather. All of the items collected will be divided up and donated to Daybreak Shelter in Joliet, IL and Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, IL.

Comforting Covers is an organization that collects warm items, such as blankets and coats, and gives them to the homeless in Chicago and Joliet. Clothing donations can be dropped off at my house or at Leap of Faith.

Visit Comforting Covers on Facebook for more info!

Leap of Faith

New Location, New Curriculum, New Staff, New Website, and tons of New Opportunity.

Watching your kids succeed is one thing, but how do you instill the right values, build their self esteem and ensure strong spirituality as a foundation for life? I think a key to this is to avoid isolating spirituality to church on Sunday. My daughter is a different person because of her involvement with Leap of Faith. As a father, I don't seem as worried as others about how my daughter will behave as a teenager. I am proud of who she is becoming, her self image, confidence and spirituality shine through. When faced with peer pressure and life's challenges, she has leaned on her Faith.

Leap of Faith is building more than great artists, they are equipping youth through spirituality outside of church to live a life to the fullest! And as some of the first students of Leap of Faith have left for college or have grown up and moved on, they talk about the friendships and spiritual lessons having huge impact on their life.

Leap of Faith has taken many next big steps, but it has required a lot of resources. Leap of Faith needs some people to step out in Faith and give them the resources necessary for growth. Operating with a budget around $60,000, any donation today will lead to exponential return and have huge impact.

Donate Now to Leap of Faith or visit the website to learn more or check out the programs!

The Cara Program

Homeless is a serious issue and I have never experienced an org making such a real, lasting impact on individuals, as I have seen at The Cara Program. We prepare and equip our students for entry level jobs and provide a full year of retention support once they are on the job. But don't take my word for it. Take a few minutes to visit The Cara Program website to see the very transparent metrics which try to show the impact.

Or find time to come visit us in Chicago to see our morning Motivations! You will experience our mission first hand and learn about who we are and what we do. We do Motivations Mon-Thurs at 8:25 am till 9am. We are 2 blocks West of Union Station. Just let me know when!

But to see the real impact of The Cara Program, you have to also see the social enterprises we run:

  1. Cleanslate provides our students much needed work experience by providing litter abatement, snow removal, recycling and other neighborhood beautification services.
  2. TCP Staffing is a temp staffing agency which employs our students.
  3. Chapter 2 collects book donations to be resold, redistributed or recycled,.

Consider a donation to The Cara Program

  • Clothing Donations: we also accept professional clothing donations. We need women's and men's suits or interview quality clothes, ties, belts and shoes. (Often we struggle with enough women's clothing). If you get the clothes to me, I will get them downtown.
  • Book Donations: send your book donations over to me as well, I can get them downtown.
  • Hire us! Or if you work for a company in Downtown Chicago and you have entry level jobs, hire our students!
  • Hire Cleanslate! If you work for a company Downtown Chicago, consider using Cleanslate services where possible!


For years I have been an avid NPTech (nonprofit tech) community member and champion! I even wrote a book on Meeting your Mission with Technology with NTEN and countless resources on IT Alignment! This is more than a hobby, getting nonprofits the technology they need is a cause I stand behind and fight for constantly.
chapter for a

As I have grown in my experience and involvement in NPTech, I am now in a place to give back some of the knowledge shared with me. I have been presented with a number of opportunities over the last year to connect with some newer staff and have enjoyed it. I always learn something new too!

So this year, I am an NTEN Champion looking to raise funds to help other nonprofits get access to the nonprofit tech community to assist them in meeting their mission!

Please go view my video and read my story on my page to support the NPTech community!

I hope you will consider some sort of donation to one of these causes to show your support!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Does it have to be Innovation or Sustainability?

Are sustainability and innovation enemies?

Is sustainability the opposite of innovation?

It always seemed logical to me, sustainability is working to keep things going while innovation is all about change. They appear to work against each other.

Recently though I attended an innovation workshop one day and a sustainability workshop the next day. And something clicked, which I had always known, but it brought it back. Innovation is required for sustainability. When things are going well or when you are trying to go beyond success, sustainability is the foundation you build. Sustainability is not about status quo, it is about actively taking measures to ensure stability and growth. Innovation is key to growth.

It struck me as interesting when I heard Thomas Kuczmarski say something like -Innovation isn't always looking for a solution. Often it is just understanding & looking at problems differently. Not about idea generation, identifying the right problem to solve is the key to innovation.

And when I think about sustainability it is being able to see your potential problems and reduce the risk of them happening. So the key to both is knowing the problem.

Thomas Kuczmarski continued to talk about innovation as not the same thing as continuous improvement. Innovation is all about creating unique benefits, differentiation from competition, being valued by the customer, creating economic value = key to innovation. Of course I had to translate those to nonprofit terms like mission impact, serving the constituent and such, but you get the drift.

Nonprofits have a responsibility to their donors and supporters to be responsible with the organizations funds. Too many nonprofits see a need & act on it or come up with an idea (innovation), without first understanding the sustainability, which can waste resources. Every organization should have a conversation about sustainability to gain understanding about where you are having impact balanced against the cost. Not to say efforts which cost a lot need to be cut, the trick is to have a balance of efforts and cost for sustainability.

You should know exactly where your organization's contribution to intended impact & excellence in execution = assessing mission impact. If your org is doing something with low impact & you aren't the leader, maybe look at off-loading that to a partner. (Thanks to Steve Strang, MPA from Spectrum Nonprofit Services for the sustainability thoughts in the training)

In the end innovation is a big key to sustainability. Innovation is just an idea until it is defined, actionable & has measurable outcomes (and oh yeah, sustainable).

(The thoughts in this post are based on presentations from Thomas Kuczmarski and Steve Strang. Big thanks to your thoughts and inspiration, it will have an impact on org and me.)