NIU students in CLCE 350: Community Organizations in a Digital World attempted to answer that question by organizing and presenting a technology conference for DeKalb-area nonprofit organizations earlier this month.
The conference was presented by NIU’s Center for Non-Governmental Organization Leadership and Development (NGOLD), which oversees the community leadership and civic engagement major.
Students were responsible for every aspect of the conference including publicity, logistics, researching topics, presenting information, developing the schedule and handling registration. A blog and Facebook page were also created to support the event.
“I am so proud of my students who rose to the challenge of not only organizing a conference for area nonprofits but presenting their own research on how nonprofits can utilize technology in all areas of their operations,” said professor Alicia Schatteman, who teaches CLCE 350. “I believe they gained useful and transferable skills that will help them succeed in school and the job market.”
Schatteman holds a joint appointment at NIU with the Division of Public Administration and NGOLD.
The conference took place in three different rooms at Holmes Student Center, and participants had the option of selecting which presentation most appealed to their interests. Presentations included topics such as how to create better websites, using technology for fundraising, search engine optimization, and how to maximize mobile devices.
“We saw approximately 50 people attend the conference, and the feedback we received was very positive,” said Ben Bingle, NGOLD program coordinator and CLCE instructor. “Students did a great job of offering practical advice on how nonprofits can incorporate technology in their organizations and what tech options might be most beneficial.”
NGOLD was established in 2010 as NIU’s resource for excellence in the study, research and practice of nongovernmental organizations. Its mission is to enhance and strengthen civil society through nonprofits and other avenues of public service. To do this, NGOLD provides comprehensive programming and services to students, faculty, researchers and nonprofit organizations.
NGOLD offers the interdisciplinary community leadership and civic engagement (CLCE) undergraduate major as well as an undergraduate certificate.