Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Devotion to a cause - can you help?

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

This is a unique point in my life, with many highs, but some very real challenges. My personal financial situation is a very tight one, mostly due to my own past choices. There are countless things which need repair and attention in my life, which I don't have the resources to act on. But at the same time, my blessings are overwhelming! My job is everything I could ask for, I get to focus on IT Alignment, I am surrounded by a mission driven, passionate team and it is all for a great cause! My family life is full of laughter and good times with a loving wife and great kids (even if they are getting too old, making me feel old). Not to mention blessings in friends, spiritual life, improv team and so many more.

As I reflect on my life, I see countless highlights and some challenges. The challenges all seem to be the result of my choices in life. That is where I am turning to my community and friends. Will you help show your support for some causes\orgs I have made sacrifices to be a part of?

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.

CHALLENGE- If I hit 25 donors across these 3 causes, I pledge to write a song based on suggestions from my donors and create a fun thank you video. So anyone who makes a donation can send me a special message to include in the video, maybe a shout out to friend, your org's name, a love note to the special someone or just a random mention of a squirrel. You can email me your suggestion, leave it in the comment or send it on your preferred social media channel.


For years I have been an avid NPTech (nonprofit tech) community member and champion! I even wrote abook 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.
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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!

And a HUGE Thanks to Table XI for offering to match the first $250 for my NTEN campaign!  

I had the honor of working with Table XI on a website project and it literally changed the way I viewed websites and website developers. Their approach of starting with questions, designing for the audience and understanding of content creation makes their work stand out! Plus they are deliberate in the staff they hire to balance the team. And we can not forget the awesome workplace and innovative culture they continuously sculpt and cultivate.  I appreciate everything they have done through speaking at events, offering services and sharing their expertise through content for nonprofits.

Leap of Faith

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 is on the edge of the next big step. Several new opportunities and new staff backed by an invigorated board have paved the way for new programming, good growth and deeper impact! Leap of Faith needs some people to step out in Faith and give them the resources to make some needed investments 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 possbile!

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

Monday, November 4, 2013

Discover the Passion in your #NPTech Career (Opening Post)

As of late my blog has been derailed with posts about career and jobs in nonprofit technology. But it has seemed to be interesting to a few people. So I am going to continue on the topic for a bit. This one will focus on Networking, but not between electronic devices. rather between people.

I have been in conversation with a bunch of different nonprofit tech staff, some early in their career and others much more experienced. One of the more interesting topics has been how we network. We have so many new opportunities to network, but are we using them for our careers?

Follow These 6 Steps to Network Like a Pro is a great post with some terrific advice and good links.
  1. Be ready with your elevator pitch
  2. Complete your profiles on every platform you have an account
  3. Introduce yourself to people who you’d like to connect with
  4. Follow up with people who you meet
  5. Connect through social media channels
  6. It doesn’t stop at hello, continue to build the relationship
If I was to add one thing though, it would be about personal branding.  Just like marketing for your organization, you need to have a brand. And there are tons on good articles and sets of information about personal Branding, here are a couple as examples:

But what I see missing in many of these and I think is most important is finding your passion and investing in it.  Over the next few posts I will explore some of what I have tried.
  • Find your passion - here is where it is different in nonprofits, you have to pick a career passion and a cause passion.
  • Invest in your passion - find time outside of work to learn about and participate in your passion
  • Share your passion - there are so many easy ways to share, so just do it
  • Mix personal and professional - be yourself
So my blog will stray a bit for a few more weeks. But I hope it proves useful and interesting to someone out there.