Savannah Badalich , Instructor for Human-Centered Design for Nonprofits and Director of Education at Civic Hall

Savannah Badalich, Instructor for Human-Centered Design for Nonprofits in 2019

Despite the increasingly central role technology is playing across all sectors of society, many community organizations and government agencies are still not able to optimize their internal technology capacities. In fact, out of 80 nonprofits surveyed by Civic Hall in late 2017, 100% expressed a need for professional training around digital skills with the most interest being in classes on data science and analytics, cybersecurity, digital fundraising, and data-driven advocacy and marketing. In response, Civic Hall formed the Digital Learning Center (DLC), which offers professional development opportunities to two sectors that represent and serve all New Yorkers, and that also lag far behind in digital literacy: nonprofits and government. 

Our Impact

In 2018, we piloted four of our workshops with the following results:

  • 56 participants attended
  • Representing 38 nonprofits, government agencies, and social good organizations
  • Organizations that participated included Upwardly Global, The Door, University Settlement, Educational Alliance, the NYC Department of Small Business Services, Laguardia Community College, The New York Public Library, Workforce Opportunity Services, and Center for NYC Neighborhoods.
  • Over 80% of participants reported a significant increase in their understanding of the topics and gained confidence in implementing these skills in their day-to-day work

Participants at each pilot workshop completed pre- and post-workshop surveys on their knowledge-change and confidence in utilizing these skills within their organizations.  A number of participants also expressed an interest in participating in longer internal retreats with their entire teams, which we took into consideration for our 2019 programming plan.

Past Workshops Include:

Ethical Data Practices 101  

This two-day course, aimed at non-profits and civic organizations, will help participants to design and manage responsible and ethical processes for collection, use and storage of data, with a focus on data belonging to vulnerable and historically marginalized individuals and groups. We’ll cover aspects of data ethics, privacy and security throughout the “data lifecycle,” including a participatory self-assessment that will help organizations determine their strengths and challenges and create a plan for improvement. The course will provide real-life scenarios for participants to work through as well as guidance on how to engage their wider organizations in more responsible and ethical data management. Participants will leave with a better understanding of concepts and frameworks related to ethical data management as well as practical tools, resources, and skills for bringing more responsible data approaches to their organizations.

Data-Driven Marketing for Nonprofits
The half-day course explored the ways nonprofits can use data analytics of their social media, website, and mailing lists to inform the design of their digital marketing and advocacy efforts.

Human-Centered Design for Nonprofits
This full-day training used design-thinking methodologies, such as user personas, journey mapping, and rapid ideation in order to help the nonprofits and government agencies create a roadmap for improving their work. It focused on human-centered design principles, centering the experiences and voices of the constituents the nonprofits serve to build out new actions with, and not for, their communities.

Understanding and Improving Cybersecurity for Nonprofits and Mission-Driven Businesses
This full-day course focused on building a solid foundation for those looking to significantly improve their literacy around digital security. It focused on both strategy and tactics, helping students learn foundational security skills that will apply for years to come, while also delving into the specific tactics and tools that are most relevant today.

Ethical Data Collection for Nonprofits
This half-day course covered best practices for ethical data collection including consentful gathering and communication with constituents, types of data and their sensitivity levels, and how to store the data securely.

Social Media for Advocacy
Your organization has a Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, Instagram…but now what? How do these tools fit into your organization’s long term strategies for winning? This training will offer 2 days of actionable insights and case studies to help you solve the Social Media Strategy puzzle


Workshops Arriving Soon:

Civic Tech 101: Civic Tech History & Ecosystem
What exactly is civic tech? This course will cover the history and evolution of the “technology for good” field, including insights into prominent funders, organizations, vendors, and theorists. The course will also cover the competing definitions within this field of work, including civic tech, govtech, public interest tech, and more.  

Civic Tech 102: Design Principles of Civic Tech
What can we learn from civic tech projects of the past? This course will cover the lessons from unsuccessful civic tech projects and review the essential design principles, processes, and strategies behind successful, truly civic tech organizations.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) 101 for Nonprofits and Government
This course will introduce nonprofits and government to the basics of Artificial Intelligence as a field and set of tools. Topics include machine learning, probabilistic reasoning, algorithms, and natural language processing, so nonprofits and government can understand its implications on the future and the communities they serve.

Digital Fundraising 101 for Nonprofits
Raising money for your nonprofit can be a hard task, but digital fundraising tools can help your organization raise real money and be an integrated part of your organizing strategy. In this course, nonprofits will learn how to get their message out to supporters and fundraise to build a truly grassroots campaign that integrates the communities they serve.

Data Visualization for Advocacy
Data is useless without if it doesn’t help inform decisions. To make the most of your data requires bringing it to life through visualization and storytelling. This course covers the basics of data visualization and useful tools for advocacy within or for a nonprofit or government agency.

Ethical Data Collection 102: Data Storage & Security Best Practice 
The second in our Ethical Data Collection series, this course will move on from the theory of ethical and human data collection and provide practical tools to store and secure sensitive data collected by programmatic, advocacy, and communications staff within nonprofits and government. 


For any inquiries about our Digital Skills Workshops, contact Jessica Quinn at