So, yes…I’m Bayer Center staff, but I would attend this event even if I weren’t! Here’s why I think you should come:

#10: Good networking opportunity – lots of nonprofit (and some for-profit) peeps in one place.  A great way to say hello to those you know and to make new friends!

#9: Food and drink.  Wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres – yum!  In my mind, very necessary items for an after-work event.

#8: It’s a celebration AND fundraiser (our first ever, actually), so your ticket cost is going to a really good cause and helps us continue to help the nonprofit community.

#7: The entire Bayer Center staff will be there.  All of us in one place at the same time is a rare event in itself – we are usually all over the place, consulting, teaching, etc.

#6: Bricolage has been commissioned to create a performance especially for this event.  I don’t even know what they are doing, but I checked out their past performances/creations on their website and they do some fun and crazy stuff!  This is not-to-be-missed!

#5: No talking heads.  When we started planning this event, we swore we’d not put people through two hours of speech-making and we are sticking to that promise.

#4: We’re giving something special away to everyone who comes.  I know what it is, but I’m not telling.  You’ll like it.

#3: You’ll get to see the new August Wilson Center if you haven’t been there before.  It’s lovely!

#2: There will be cake.  Who doesn’t like cake?

#1: YOU are the reason for our success.  We want you to celebrate with us!


If you would like to RSVP, visit
http://www.rmu.edu/bcnmregistration.
We hope to see you there!!

Who’s that new person answering the phones at the Bayer Center…?

Shelby GraceyThat’s Shelby Gracey, our new Office Coordinator!

Shelby started working for the Bayer Center just this month and we are tickled to have her with us.  She came to us from Keystone Oaks School District, where she served as the Technical Facilitator, or as she puts it “the tech person.”  Shelby has an A.S. in medical administration assisting, but has spent very little time in the medical field and more time working with other types of nonprofits.

One of those nonprofits just happens to be the Sunset Hill United Presbyterian Church, where her husband is the minister.  Shelby serves as the congregation’s Director of Music, which includes coordinating and performing music for church services, directing a 28- member adult choir, teaching music for the Youth Club, and assisting with the bell choir.

These two jobs keep her pretty busy, but in her spare time she likes to spend time with her husband and children (two left in high school and one away at college) and play with her dogs (three beagles and a cockapoo).  In addition, she loves to read and considers dining out a form of entertainment since it gets her out of the kitchen.

Shelby is a Florida native, having moved to Pittsburgh’s South Hills around 20 years ago.  She said everyone likes to ask “how could you possibly leave Florida?” but she adores Pennsylvania – including the snowy weather.

Please join us in welcoming Shelby to the Bayer Center family!!

 

Happy ThanksgivingWhat does Thanksgiving mean to you?

For many, it means food, family, fun (hopefully) and some time to get away from work and relax.  Not everyone is so fortunate, however, and it is good for us to take a moment or two and reflect upon our blessings, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem.

Here are the things I am thankful for this year:

  1. I am gainfully employed. I work in the building that houses the local job center and I see so many people in the lobby and elevator visiting that office.  I’ve chatted with several of them in passing and some are so sincerely wanting work and are at their wit’s end – it makes me sad.  On days at work when I want to pull my hair out, I remind myself that I am lucky to have a job and to just “get over it.”
  2. My parents. For some reason, practically every electronic device, appliance, and automobile I own has decided to go on the fritz in the past year in a big way.  I despise myself when I have to borrow from my mom and dad, but they are more than happy to lend it and I feel fortunate that they’ve got my back.  I know it’s not always going to be that way.
  3. Smartphones. I recently broke down and bought a Google Droid.  I am continually amazed by how much convenience is afforded in one small device that fits in the palm of your hand.  Ten years ago, I complained to a friend that I wanted a single device to replace my music player, my camera, and my PDA.  Apparently I wasn’t the only person who felt that way and I’m glad the tech giants were listening.
  4. Holiday music. I listen to holiday tunes starting in July, but they become very prevalent around this time of year (which means more variety and listening options).  My favorites are the oldies – Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Andy Williams, etc.  When I was very young, I had a record player and adored my Perry Como and Andy Williams Christmas albums.  Hearing those songs is like a time machine to the days when life was simple, and my brother and I woke our parents up at 5 am because we couldn’t wait to get started opening our presents.  Holiday music = nostalgia = good feelings.
  5. Online shopping. I used to do the Black Friday insanity – camping out at my store of choice at 3 a.m. to get the “good stuff” before it was gone.  Those days are over for me.  I do all my shopping online, where the deals are just as good if not better than in the stores.  Once again, hooray for technology.
  6. The nonprofit sector. I know that there are many days when we feel like we are beating our heads against a wall.  When I think about how many lives our sector touches and the work that we collectively accomplish, however, I can’t help but feel grateful that nonprofits do exist.  I cannot imagine leading a life driven solely by making money and I am grateful that I can work in a place that has meaning and a mission.
  7. President Obama. People are starting to complain that he isn’t effecting change fast enough.  Give the man a break already.  He’s taken the leadership mantle under the worst possible conditions – do we really want him making snap decisions?  I like that he looks before he leaps and that he recognizes that problems that have been years in the making cannot be fixed overnight.
  8. Our soldiers. I frequently disagree with the decisions made by our government in sending troops overseas, but I appreciate the men and women who go forth willingly and do service for our country.  We owe them our respect and gratitude.
  9. Windows 7. It’s about time you got it right, Microsoft.  Thank you for finally making a decent OS that is stable, attractive and intuitive.
  10. Social networking. I love that I can talk to people with whom I went to high school so many years ago again.  I love that I can play a game with someone in Thailand or Norway.  We may not have figured out all the ways in which social networking can be leveraged, but I’m enjoying it as we do.

What are you thankful for this year?  🙂

I know I can sound like a broken record when it comes to our TechNow conference (“come to TechNow, come to TechNow!”) but it is heartfelt and not just promotional marketing.

I was a TechNow attendee before I started working at the Bayer Center.  It was my first technology conference and it opened my eyes to the fact that I wasn’t alone in my “nptech” endeavors.  I used to be the mostly one-person IT shop at my old nonprofit, and TechNow helped me to expand my support network, meet some new vendors, and to think about the possibilities.  It can be difficult to be innovative when you deal with the same grind day-in and day-out, without taking time out to sharpen the saw and to think and dream about “what could be” rather than what is.

I’m also excited about this year because our keynote speaker is Ami Dar from Idealist.org.  Ami is amazing, in my opinion, because he has been all over the world, is self-made (see below for details), and is truly innovative in his thinking.  I’ve read and watched interviews and speeches by Ami, and I know he’s going to bring us all something great to stretch our minds and challenge our paradigms.

I recently asked Ami to complete a list that I used in a promotional email.  His answers were pretty neat, so I’m going to repeat it here for anyone who hasn’t seen it:

10 Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know About TechNow 2009 Keynote Speaker, Ami Dar

  1. AmiDar_webHe was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Peru and in Mexico, and lives in New York.
  2. He dropped out of high school and didn’t go to college.
  3. He can’t drive.
  4. Thirty years ago he was a paratrooper in the Israeli army.
  5. There is a classic video game that shares his name: “Amidar,” released in the 80’s by Atari.
  6. He started Idealist in his apartment with $3,500.
  7. He loves playing backgammon.
  8. He eats everything except eggplant and spinach.
  9. He gets annoyed by conference organizers who call themselves “curators.”
  10. Many people who meet him online think he is a woman.

Fascinating guy, eh?  I personally can’t wait to hear what he has to say!  And now it’s time for one last shameless plug…

There’s still time to register and hear Ami speak at the TechNow 2009 nonprofit technology conference, which will happen at Robert Morris University’s Sewall Center on Thursday, October 29!

Visit http://technow2009.wordpress.com for more details and registration information.

Note:  The early bird registration deadline for the TechNow 2009 conference is this Thursday, October 8!  Register at http://www.rmu.edu/bayercenterregistration to take advantage of the discounted fee.


Presenting Sponsor: TowerCare Technologies

Presenting Sponsor: TowerCare Technologies

Summer draws to an end, the kids go back to school, and leaves start changing colors.  That means it’s nearly time for TechNow!

TechNow is the Bayer Center’s annual conference devoted to the new and important technology trends and resources for nonprofits.  Since TechNow affects virtually every area of a nonprofit’s mission, it is beneficial for non-techies as well as techies to attend.  We promise you’ll learn a lot, network with like-minded people, and…have fun!

For more info on the conference, including breakout session, keynote info, and scholarship/payment options, visit the conference website at http://technow2009.wordpress.com.

Here is this year’s list of the top ten reasons you should attend TechNow:

10.  Cream pies are back!!

9.  Your friends will be there.  If you don’t know anyone into nonprofit tech, you will have new friends by the time you leave…we guarantee it.

8.  The exhibitor who gave away the widescreen TV last year has hinted about bringing another fantastic give-away.  They won’t say what it is, so we’re all left to guess at it.  (The Bayer Center has a few fantastic give-aways of its own stashed and ready.)

7.  If you’re getting stimulus money (or federal funding of any kind), your website must be compliant with Section 508 web accessibility guidelines.  There will be a breakout session where you can find out what that means.

6.  USB drives are back.  Conference materials will be pre-loaded, so note-taking is optional.

5.  Our exhibitors are great local tech companies who “get” nonprofit organizations.

4.  If you don’t know about GIS, thin clients, user interface design, or green IT…you’ll learn all kinds of new stuff!

AmiDar_web

Our Keynote Speaker: Ami Dar, Founder & Executive Director of Idealist.org

3.  The conference has its own Twitter feed!  Follow it at http://twitter.com/TechNowConf. We will broadcast the feed on the main screen during the conference so you can give immediate feedback for sessions, locate friends and colleagues, tweet interesting session points, etc.

2.  We have scholarships available and a “Budget Impasse Payment Plan” – visit the conference website for details:  http://technow2009.wordpress.com.

1.  Ami Dar, Ami Dar, Ami Dar!  ‘Nuff said!

Register today by calling 412-397-6000 or online at:  http://www.rmu.edu/BCNMregistration. We hope to see you there!

I was supposed to do a blog post yesterday and I missed my target.  But…I have a very good excuse.

All this week, the Bayer Center is hosting The Grantsmanship Center’s Training Program.  I am attending and it is awesome!  I am learning so much about grants and the search/proposal process.  Development is certainly an art form!

The trainer from TGC is excellent as well.  She very obviously has years of experience in development and proposal writing and shares her knowledge as well as lots of real world examples and stories.  Today we start working in groups and will produce a full-fledged proposal by 1:30 tomorrow afternoon!

If anyone wants to learn more about this workshop, here’s the link to the information for it on TGC’s website: http://www.tgci.com/gtptraining.shtml.

Those of you who know me, know that I get really excited about TechNow, our annual nonprofit technology conference.  TechNow energizes me in a way that only one other event in the year really does (and that would be NTEN’s tech conference).

Hence and therefore, please don’t be shocked if I’m spouting TechNow from here until October.  When I get excited about something, I tell people.  This is no exception.  🙂

So….mark your calendar, tell your fellow techies, co-workers, and friends!  TechNow, the annual conference devoted exclusively to nonprofit technology, will be held on Thursday, October 29, 2009.

Ami DarThis year, we have another fabulous and relevant keynote speaker for you!  We will be joined by Mr. Ami Dar, the founder and executive director of Idealist.org.  Built in 1996 with $3,500, Idealist has become one of the most popular nonprofit resources on the web, with information provided by 90,000 organizations around the world, 70,000 visitors every day, and a staff of 60 in New York, Buenos Aires, and Portland.  Ami plans to speak about how nonprofits can successfully collaborate, accomplishing more with fewer resources.

This year, we are delighted to be hosted by Robert Morris University at its very own Sewall Center, located on RMU’s Moon Township campus.  The Moon Township campus is near the Pittsburgh International Airport and is easily reached via car or Port Authority bus.

If you would like to be notified when TechNow conference registration opens on the Bayer Center’s website, email me at leonard@rmu.edu.  Look for more TechNow updates in the upcoming months, including a re-vamped conference website!

Hooray for Technovians everywhere!