Breakout Sessions

About Session Levels

All breakout sessions are marked with levels that are chosen by the speaker based on the difficulty of the content. Levels meanings are as follows:

  • Novice: Anyone can understand the material, regardless of technology management experience or background
  • Practitioner: Some technology experience or background with the subject matter is recommended to understand the material

Breakout Sessions 1 (10:15 – 11:15 AM)

Chatbots: The Future of Nonprofit Client Service?

Session Level: Novice
Facilitator: Catherine DeLoughry

Speakers: Toby Greenwalt, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Regina McDonald Russian, The Studio at Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh; Tiancheng Zhao, Ph.D candidate, Carnegie Mellon University

You’ve probably met an online chatbot ready to respond to your typed questions, but chatbot technology is evolving quickly to make conversations more like talking with a friend. What does this innovation mean for nonprofits who serve or intake clients via web and mobile interfaces? Will your next investment in better client service be a chatbot? In this session, we will bring together a panel of artificial intelligence (AI) experts and experienced nonprofit service providers to talk about how conversational AI and voice-activated applications could impact client services in the next few years.

Protecting Your Nonprofit: Understanding Cybersecurity Impacts When Outsourcing IT

Session Level: Novice
Speaker: Carrie Mihalko, Steel Valley Authority; Gary Manns, CISSP

In today’s digital world, nonprofits are faced with using information technology for many aspects of their day-to-day operations. Nonprofit executives must balance how to stay current/secure with the use of IT. Outsourcing IT services to a third-party is often a preferred way nonprofits deal with this need. The challenge: how are nonprofits able to validate that the third-party is managing IT securely? Oftentimes, nonprofits act on faith due to a limited ability to provide oversight of this agreement. This session will discuss how to understand the risks, what the benefits are, and what are a nonprofit’s options when choosing the right provider.

Gutenberg: The Future of WordPress is Now

Session Level: Practitioner
Speaker: Birgit Pauli-Haack, NPTechProjects

This session will feature an introduction to the new visual editor for WordPress and what to expect with WordPress 5.0 release, coming out this year. Learn what this means for your site, your content, your plugins, and your theme. This will be an informational session for WordPress website owners about coming changes that will affect the admin and content creation experience.


Breakout Sessions 2 (11:30 AM – 12:30 PM)

When Disaster Strikes: Why Nonprofits Should Have a Plan B for Business Continuity

Session Level: Novice
Speaker: Susan A. Reilly, PMP, PMI-RMP, CRMP

Nonprofit organizations, like for-profit organizations should have plans in place to protect their information, facilities, equipment, and personnel. Recovery can be a long process, but without effective planning, preparation, and some practice, an undesirable event can be a threat to an organization’s existence. This session will focus on helping participants overcome the hurdle that stops most organizations from putting plans in place: where to start? The process can seem overwhelming because there are so many factors to consider. Learn how to get started with a few simple steps.

Bitcoin Accepted Here: Incorporating the New Blockchain Technology in Fundraising

Session Level: Novice
Speaker: Alex Landefeld, North Hills Community Outreach

Nonprofits accept cash, credit, checks and in-kind as donations, but where does Bitcoin fit into the donation mix? In this session, learn about what Bitcoin is, how it works, what makes it different, and how nonprofits might incorporate it into their fundraising strategies.

Open for Business: 10 Things to Check Before Making Your WordPress Website LIVE!

Session Level: Practitioner
Speakers: Amar Trivedi, AmDee

You have done your best, working with a vendor (or doing it DIY) to create a stunning brand new website. The site looks great and you are ready to GO LIVE! Well, are you sure you have checked EVERYTHING before going live? This session will walk you through 10 most important checks before opening your brand new website to the world. You will learn some WordPress specific checks and other general checks. Once you go through this checklist, you are ready to impress the world!


Breakout Sessions 3 (1:45 – 2:45 PM)

Technology and the Law: How to Stay Compliant and Avoid Legal Traps

Session Level: Novice
Speaker: Abigail Salisbury, Esq.

Technology is constantly changing, and the law is often not up to date with the practices people want to use in the nonprofit sector. Online fundraising platforms may cause you to unknowingly run afoul of state laws, your email votes may be unlawful, or your data may be unsecured. Learn some of the legal traps waiting for the unwary, and how to avoid them.

Social Media: What Nonprofits Need to Know Right Now

Session Level: Practitioner
Speaker: Chris Mielo, ACHIEVA, Dave Tinker, CFRE, FAFP, ACHIEVA

Communicating via social media can be a great way to engage your audience. However, just like any other technology, social media is regularly updated with new tools and tricks. In this interactive session, learn about the social media trends in the nonprofit field and important changes to tools you use most often from nonprofit practitioners who use it for work and volunteering.

The Unexpected Database Manager: How to Survive Your First Year

Session Level: Novice
Speakers: Lacey Fetcko, Crossroads Foundation

So, you started a new job and find that you are now responsible for managing the database in addition to your primary responsibilities. Or perhaps a coworker ​left their job​, ​your organization’s database needs personnel support​, ​and you volunteered to help bridge the gap ​only to find it becoming your permanent responsibility. ​If this sounds familiar, This session is for you! No matter what your level of experience or expertise, you can learn to effectively manage your nonprofit’s database system and use it to meet the needs of your organization. ​