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:

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!