Tag Archives: CCDA

Soliciting Feedback for my Workshop Presentation at CCDA 2012

I don’t blog often. Perhaps I “need” to do it more consistently. Perhaps not. But for not, let me go ahead and acknowledge that in the open. However, there are times when I may blog a little more often than normal (and, if you look at the previous blog posts, you’ll notice a pattern).

One of these times that I blog more often is when I’m thinking about the national Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) conference. The CCDA is an annual event that takes place in a different city each time. The mission is “To inspire, train, and connect Christians who seek to bear witness to the Kingdom of God by reclaiming and restoring under-resourced communities.”

I get excited about the CCDA conference, because the mission is close to my heart. I studied Community Development at Covenant College, which is partnered with the Chalmers Center for Economic Development and am a firm believer that “Community Development” should not be a half hearted attempt at “doing something to help the poor.”

The “poor” are people too, who have their own stories, experiences, and ideas. They are less “needy” than we assume! They deserve a level of respect that they don’t often get from outsiders. We tend to assume we know all of the answers. Well-meaning affluent people may actually do more harm than good when trying to assist the poor, as Dr. Bryan Fikkert & Professor Steve Corbett make the case in their book When Helping Hurts.

Poverty is much more complicated than a lack of material things. As Bryant Myers writes in Walking With The Poor, “poverty is a complicated social issue involving all areas of life – physical personal, social, cultural, and spiritual.”

But enough about theory for now.

My desire is to one day provide technology services to nonprofit organizations worldwide that are working in a responsible manner to assist the poor. The mission of my business, which I am currently in the process of building from the ground up, is to provide affordable technology consulting services to nonprofit organizations transforming underdeveloped communities worldwide, and to provide technology education and jobs to members of communities in which these NGOs work.

Part of what I want to do is to present workshops at conferences and for employees at the nonprofit organizations / NGOs where I and my future employees will work. Thus, I submitted my very first workshop proposal to the organizers of the CCDA 2012 conference – and it was accepted! Now I am soliciting feedback on the outline.

The title of this 75-minute presentation is “Essential Technologies for Christian Community Development.” The workshop itself is going to broad topics on purpose, as the goal is to introduce people who may not be tech savvy to some ideas that they can take back to their organizations and build upon.

I’ll be giving an overview of websites, social media, email safety & etiquette, well-known software & services that specifically help nonprofit organizations, technology for fundraising & donor management, and finally, some ways that nonprofits can use technology for community outreach (disaster relief scenarios, a community computer center, mobilizing volunteers, etc…).

What sorts of technology & computing questions do you have, or do you think I should cover?

The Workshop Description and the Outline (which I submitted as part of my proposal) is pasted below. Within the scope of this outline, are there any questions or topics you feel would be important?

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Workshop Description:
The goal of this workshop is to provide an overview of some of the ways in which NGOs can take advantage of technology to advance their mission. David will explore the costs and caveats for websites, social media, and newsletters. He will cover what websites are good for and what they should not be used for. He will discuss social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. He will also discuss software and services of which nonprofits can take advantage.

With technology advancement comes the need for safety and security. David will give practical advice on what should and should not be done with online fundraising, emailing, and more.

Finally, David will discuss ways in which Christian nonprofits can use technology for community outreach with community centers & computer literacy training, after school programs, disaster relief, and mobilizing volunteers. The workshop will end with an opportunity for questions and discussion.

Workshop Outline:
I. Introductions (10-15 minutes)

II. Essential Technologies for Organizational Management (20-25 min)
a. Websites: Why, how, and how much?
b. Social Media: Do’s and Don’ts with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
c. Newsletters & Email: Software, services, etiquette and safety
d. Software & Services for Nonprofit Organizations
i. Google Apps (free for NPOs with less than 3,000 users)
ii. The power of FOSS (Free & Open Source Software)

III. Fundraising & Donor Relations (10-15 min)
a. Pros & Cons of accepting donations online
i. Major security considerations & requirements (PCI Security Standards Council)
b. Donor Management Systems

IV. Using Technology for Community Outreach (20-25 min)
a. Disaster Emergency Management
i. Story: Relief in wake of April Tornadoes in TN
ii. Story: Relief in wake of Hurricane Irene
b. Community Centers
i. Computer training & literacy
ii. After school programs
c. Mobilizing Volunteers
i. Example: ChristianVolunteering.org
ii. Centralizing volunteer information to reduce unneeded work

V. Caveats (5 min)
a. Relationships over Technology (technology is a means to an end, and not the end goal itself)
b. The fall affected everything including computers!

VI. Questions & Discussion (10-15 min)

(End of Outline)
If you have any comments, I would love to see them! Please post them here!


Immediate Reflections on the Christian Community Development Association Conference 2011

The CCDA is comprised of thousands of Christians throughout the States and around the world. Founded by Dr. John Perkins, “the CCDA is a network of Christians committed to seeing people and communities wholistically restored. We believe that God wants to restore us not only to right relationship with Himself but also with our own true selves, our families and our communities. Not just spiritually, but emotionally, physically, economically, and socially. Not by offering mercy alone, but by undergirding mercy with justice.” (http://ccda.org/about).

Many of us work in broken, poor neighborhoods across America. We fight for social justice, for racial reconciliation, and for the poor. But most importantly, we love Jesus and seek to follow his command to love him, and to love others.

From Wednesday evening through Saturday Evening, approximately 3,000 people gathered in Indianapolis for the annual CCDA conference. The theme for this year was Innovate. When efforts are old or just aren’t cutting it, and when realities within the poor communities we work change, we must innovate with fresh solutions.

This was the third CCDA national conference I have attended. However, it was different for me in that during my first conference, I was a college student, and during my second conference, I was officially representing a nonprofit organization. During this conference, however, I was representing myself and came to learn without any ties to a school or organization.

Having traveled with several good friends from my church community in the Chattanooga area, I came away from Indianapolis greatly encouraged and inspired. Conversations during the 16 hours on the road were delightful (coming & going combined). I saw several friends from Boston. I met some people doing incredible work around the world. I sat under the teaching of community development warriors including Dr. John Perkins and Wayne Gordon. I learned. I fellowshipped.

There are many thoughts & reflections I am taking away from CCDA 2011. (I just got home today)! Here are just two of these reflections. I may add more to this blog post, or publish subsequent blog posts as I continue to reflect, but I wanted to get these two in writing now.

  1. “If we’re too busy to spend time with God, we’re simply too busy.” I am an avid Twitter user, and read this (unrelated-to-CCDA) tweet by @ourdailybread, followed by the tweet’s link (http://odb.org/2011/10/13/too-busy-to-know-god/) Thursday morning and was reminded what drives those of us who are members of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA): our utter dependence on God for everything we do.The CCDA is Christian first. So often, in our busyness, we get preoccupied trying to “do good” or “serve the poor” that we forget to spend time with our Creator. Throughout each annual CCDA national conference, Dr. Perkins preaches a “bible study” each morning before the conference kicks off for the day. On Friday morning, preaching from I Timothy, Perkins said that Jesus called his disciples to live with him, and that it is only after being his disciple, steeped in the Fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) that we can then go out into the world.What a great reminder and wake-up call this was for me!
  2. Urban American communities and the Christian nonprofits which work in these communities continue to need innovative technological improvements, in some areas that I have not thought of before. Moreover, there are ways I haven’t thought about before in which I could partner with nonprofits across America to help residents learn technology skills.I had some great discussions with folks in my car on the drive to and from the CCDA conference, and I learned more about several great organizations. I can see that God is continuing to shape my vision for the future, and that it is one that is constantly evolving. The more I talk about it, the better I am able to articulate it. And the better I’m able to articulate this vision, the more people God seems to put into my life to prod me on, and to help me think of even more ideas.As many of my readers know, I studied Community Development but have always been a self-taught computer & IT geek. My vision is to someday merge these two passions together so that I (and my business, Barred Owl Web) can help nonprofits around the world with their technology needs. I hope to cultivate the ideas and relationships formed (and/or strengthened) over the past 4 days in following whatever he has in store for this business.

These are reflections that I take seriously, and I will work to put these into practice, even now.

To learn more about CCDA, you can visit http://www.ccda.org.
To learn more about my IT consulting business, Develop CENTS, you can visit https://www.developCENTS.com.

This was edited on Monday, Dec 17, 2012 to change the name of the business from Smooth Stone Services (old) to Barred Owl Web (new).