Nonprofits

The art of running a company is usually mastered on the fly by entrepreneurs who’ve cut their teeth in the workforce. But on Chicago’s north side, three groups of teenagers are managing their own high-tech businesses. The Rogers Park Webcreators — 16 students who speak 10 different languages between them — have taken on real-world clients, learned to use design tools and built professional websites. And they’ve earned money doing it. It’s all part of a program created by Chicago nonprofit Lumity. The 32-year-old organization’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Career Readiness Program spearheads a variety of initiatives for at-risk youth in the Chicago area. For the Rogers Park Webcreators, Lumity created a seven-hour-a-week program that paid students $10/hour to build websites for local clients. “It was key to get some funders for the program so we could pay the students. We wanted it to be a real job, not just an after-school club,” says Lumity’s Director of Career Readiness Jack Stonebraker. “This was the first job for most of these kids. Only two had ever worked anywhere before. Now, when they get their next jobs, they’ll be in a better position to go in the first day and start work.”

Bluetooth beacon technology has started to grow in large businesses and stores. Beacon tech is a small sensor device, one that senses when you (or your phone) is within a certain range. Then it sends a signal to communicate with you in real-time about products, offers, etc. Beacons are used for targeted marketing and sales, such as:
  • User analytics
  • Indoor navigation
  • Contactless payments
  • Proximity marketing
This is great! But now you're asking, "how can nonprofit organizations, which do not usually have a physical shop or products to sell, benefit from beacon technology?" I see two main uses for beacons, depending on the type of nonprofit organization: events and fundraising through geo-targeting. There are (at least) six uses for beacons during nonprofit events, seminars, workshops and conferences.

tistheseasonAs we get ready to give thanks, use your skills and give back! Lumity currently has a variety of great volunteer opportunities; sign up today to get started!     Help build capacity at Chicagoland nonprofits: Peace Corner | Technology Assessment & Review On-site (with virtual potential once project has begun), 5022 W Madison Looking for a volunteer to help implement turn-key based systems and advise them on potential hardware and software that will make them more innovative and efficient; Peace Corner has relatively new technology systems. Click here to sign up! Waukegan to College | Data Cleansing, Management & Transformation Assistance On-site (with virtual potential once project has begun), Waukegan, IL Waukegan to College is looking for a volunteer to advise them on moving their data from excel, word and paper to a web based data management system.  This data management system will help them be more effective and help their small staff spend more time working directly with students to help them get to college! Click here to sign up!

A CRM is a client/ customer relationship management tool. It is a database system for tracking constituents, donors, members, volunteers and more.

How do you select the right one for your nonprofit organization?

1. Decide why you need a CRM – Are you planning to use it as a platform for all stakeholder data management or for a single segment, like donors? Have all stakeholders (not just leadership) been involved in the process? Write down your goals for selecting a CRM. Establish the current state and the desired state of your needs. Remember to keep in mind your overall strategic plan. Don’t get stuck with what you need right now. Think about what the CRM will need to do and look like in the future. Establish the team needed for the project. Make sure everyone has the opportunity to participate in this process. Also, is your staff capable of setting up and customizing a CRM or will you need external help?