Rebecca Catelinet (far left), executive director, Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance (PRAA), talks with Laura Argenbright, Mountain Playhouse (center) and Heather Brice, Johnstown Concert Series, at the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies (CFA) 4th of July Community Picnic.
As the part-time executive director of PRAA I rely heavily on technology to keep in touch with our membership that stretches across many counties. I also depend on it to manage the PPA grants program, share arts advocacy information, and oversee the activities of the Arts Coalition of the Alleghenies.
With a lean budget and a limited number of hours each week, there’s only so much I can do. I often struggle with technology challenges that seem insurmountable.
Earlier this year, an opportunity presented itself that turned out to be the answer to my prayers. PRAA was one of 22 area nonprofit organizations that participated in a free Tactical Technology Training Workshop presented by Idealware. The workshop was available at no cost to nonprofits through a grant from the Community Initiatives Fund, a fund of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. It included five online courses over 10 weeks and individualized assistance when needed.
The course covered core fundamentals such as broadcast email best practices, data back-up methodologies and the role of social networking in fundraising. Participants also learned about the types of software specific to their missions, how to track constituents, and strategies to develop and maintain engaging websites. By the end of the sessions each organization had created an action plan and technology ‘road map’ to guide its future efforts. We were also invited to submit a proposal for a mini-grant to implement our organization’s plan.
A few weeks ago, I was delighted to learn that the proposal I submitted for PRAA was the top prize winner! PRAA received $2,000 to carry out our technology gameplan. Some of the other prize winners include Beginnings, The Learning Lamp, Veteran Community Initiatives in Cambria County, Covenant Village Retreat Center in Bedford County and the Children’s Aid Home in Somerset County.
I needed to understand how to use technology to our advantage. Until this workshop opportunity, I didn’t know where to begin. This was a great experience, and it really gave me the knowledge and tools to move our technology efforts in the right direction.
Laura Quinn of Idealware, the provider of the workshop, was excited to work with our group. She said that it was an honor to be able to help us use technology to better meet our missions.
The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies is a nonprofit public foundation. Through charitable giving of its donors, it builds professionally managed assets to support Cambria, Bedford and Somerset counties. The Foundation is overseen by an active volunteer board and committees, and complies with national standards established by the Council on Foundation, the philanthropic sector’s primary affiliate organization.