2014 conference


In the blink of an eye, today’s innovative technologies are replaced with a new generation of must-have tools, apps and software. How can a nonprofit possibly stay up-to-date with technology advances AND put them to work in advancing its mission? Join us at the 16th Annual Urban Initiatives Conference, Nonprofits and Technology: From Strategy to Implementation for an exciting, one-day excursion with Amy Sample Ward, CEO of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), members of the NTEN staff, and other technology experts. During the morning, nonprofit technology leaders will discuss different strategies for putting technology to work for your organization. Over a dozen afternoon sessions and concurrent “Tech Fair” will provide attendees with tools and methods to implement strategies learned in the morning.



Italian Community Center
631 East Chicago Street, Milwaukee, WI (map)

Conference Details

Downloadable and printable brochure

May 28, 2014

7:30-8:30: Registration

7:30-3:15: Tech Fair

8:20-8:30: Welcome

Michael Lovell, Chancellor, UW-Milwaukee
Terry Batson, Director, UW-Milwaukee CUIR

8:30-9:00: Opening Plenary

Technology to Change the World, and the Way You Make Change
Amy Sample Ward

9:10-10:25: Strategic Session I

  • Aim to Engage: How to Create an Online Presence for Your Organization (Natascha Bohmann)
    In this session, you will learn to harness the power of the online world to expand your organization’s
    reach, drive traffic to your platforms and engage your audience. Participants will gain knowledge of
    website best practices and tips, blogging, email marketing and easy-to-use tools. The session will focus
    on how to use these platforms synergistically while maintaining consistency with your organization’s
    brand. It will also highlight key partnerships and tools to help drive a successful online presence with
    limited resources.
  • Technology Planning for Today’s World (Amy Sample Ward, NTEN)
    Resources are limited and technology is ever-changing. This session will help attendees prioritize the
    most important technology needs for their organization and how they can get the biggest bang for their
    limited tech budgets.
  • Exactly What is Cloud Computing and How Might it Help my Nonprofit? (Jerry Schulz)
    We are increasingly hearing the term cloud computing, or “the cloud.” But what exactly does cloud
    computing mean, and how might the use of cloud services be beneficial for nonprofits? Cloud computing
    is changing the very basics of how we use computers to do our work. For example, providers of data
    systems are now offering their systems as a service through the Internet, freeing nonprofits from needing
    to host these data systems at their sites. It’s important that nonprofit managers appreciate what cloud
    computing is all about, since this trend has great potential to improve and simplify how we use
    information technology. The session on “Exactly what is cloud computing, and how might it help my
    nonprofit?” will address these topics:
    • How does cloud computing shift computer work to the Internet?
    • What types of cloud computing services are available for nonprofits?
    • How does the move to the cloud help you cut the technology cord?
    • What actions might you take now to take advantage of cloud computing?
    • What resources are available for help with cloud computing?

10:30-11:45: Strategic Session II

  • Why Data Can’t Speak for Themselves–Data Visualization Theory and Techniques (Matt Schumwinger, Virginia Carlson)
    This session will provide attendees with a 101 of data visualization: What is it? How can it help my
  • Furthering Your Mission with Social Media (Matt Hottell, Indiana University)
    Understanding and effectively leveraging social media is a key part of a successful marketing strategy for any organization.
    In this session we will discuss how to create an overarching strategy for social media use in your organization as well as identify specific tactics
    that can help you build your online community.
  • Technology Security for Nonprofits (James Schultz, UWM School of Information Studies)
    Attendees will learn the pitfalls of moving into the technology arena and how to protect their data. What
    does the organization need to do to protect itself once the tech ‘floodgates’ have opened?

11:45-1:00: Lunch

12:30-1:00: Lunch Plenary

From Strategy to Tactics, Technology that Works for You
Amy Sample Ward

1:10-1:50: Tactical Session I

1:50-2:30: Tactical Session II

2:30-3:10: Tactical Session III

Tactical Sessions will include:

  • Low-Cost Marketing Tools that Nonprofits Can’t Afford to Miss (Joleen Ong, NTEN)
    Behind every successful organization are some really great tools that help get the work done. Nonprofits
    today have access to a wide variety of low-cost (even free) tools, but how does this apply to your daily
    work? In this session, learn more about some of the most popular low-cost tools that nonprofits are using
    to support their marketing and communications activities, and how this can help you meet broader
    organizational goals.
  • Free and Low Cost Tech to Support your Operations (Jessica Holliday, NTEN)
    With tight organizational budgets and often unrealistic expectations surrounding administrative overhead, non-profits operational systems operate
    under a lot of pressure. Yes, it can be boring but getting solid operational systems in place means that you can concentrate on fulfilling your
    mission, not photocopying. We will explore low-cost tools and tips for making your org hum: from managing documentation to streamlining
    HR, improving accounting to creating actionable, impact reporting and beyond! Please bring a description of the implementation your
    current fave tool OR your worst administrative nightmare and be prepared to share.
  • What Would It Take to Implement a Cloud Service? (Jerry Schulz)
    This session will use a workshop format to follow up on the morning’s topic of “Exactly What is Cloud
    Computing?” and consider the steps a nonprofit would need to take to implement a cloud service. The
    workshop will field questions and draw on the experience of the participants to address issues such as:
    • Understanding the vendor marketplace and selecting a vendor.
    • Doing a cost-benefit analysis.
    • Configuring the system, converting data, and testing.
    • Managing data and generating reports and downloads.
  • Understanding Social Media Analytics (Matt Hottell, Indiana University)
    One of the keys to growing your social media reach is knowing who is seeing, interacting with, and sharing
    your posts. Participants will learn how to extract usable information out of the social media analytics
    data that is available to them and be able to measure the effectiveness of their social media tactics.
  • Getting Your Point(s) Across (Matt Schumwinger, Virginia Carlson
    A step-by-step tutorial on using free tools to geocode your data points and publish them as an interactive
    web map in no time. Simple. Quick. Pretty.
  • Web Best Practices and Tools (Natascha Bohmann)
    Let’s face it, the ever-changing world of technology and the web can be a bit daunting. This session
    will expose you to best practices and tools to help you as you implement and/or maintain your online presence.
  • Making WordPress Work for You, An Intro to HTML/CSS in WordPress Themes (Erin Wilbur)
  • Taking Your Service and Outreach Initiatives to the Next Level with Cloud Communications Technology
    (Matt Lautz, President & CIO, CorvisaCloud)
    No matter what your organization does, your phone systems are probably critical to its success. Whether you’re rolling out
    a large fundraising campaign or fielding inbound calls from community members, the right communication tools can
    help you engage with constituents more efficiently and effectively than ever before.
    In this session you’ll learn:

    • Ideas on how cloud communications can help you increase staff productivity
    • How the cloud can help you cut costs without sacrificing functionality
    • What to consider when looking at communication systems and providers
    • How your organization can delight constituents like never before
  • The Whys and Hows of Social Media Policy (Stephanie Kovanda, Indiana University)
    As your organization increasingly adopts social media, staff roles, responsibilities, and expectations can get a little blurry.
    Do you need an explicit social media policy to mitigate risk both for your employees and your organization? In this session
    we will look at when it makes sense to create a social media policy and then step through the process of policy development.

3:15: Closing Plenary

Putting Technology to Work for You Tomorrow
Amy Sample Ward


Amy Sample Ward

Amy SampleWardCEO, NTEN
Keynote Speaker

Amy’s dedication to educating and supporting nonprofit and community organizations in using technology to make lasting change brought her to NTEN as the Membership Director in 2011, then as the CEO in June 2013. Whether it is by connecting individuals, organizations, campaigns, or possibilities, Amy hopes to facilitate the nonprofit technology sector transitioning into a movement-based force for positive change. She is also a blogger, facilitator and trainer having worked with groups and spoken at events in the US, UK and around the world. In 2013, she co-authored Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to implement online multichannel strategies to spark advocacy, raise money, and engage your community with Allyson Kapin. She previously co-authored Social by Social, a handbook in using social technologies for social impact, and has contributed to various other publications about social change and technology.

Natascha Bohmann

Senior Communications Strategist, Baird

Virginia Carlson

Research Director, Public Policy Forum

Jessica Holliday

Operations Director, NTEN

Matt Hottell

Senior Lecturer, Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing

Joleen Ong

Marketing and Public Relations Director, NTEN

Matt Schumwinger

Big Lake Data

Jerry Schulz

Vice President, GovHR USA