News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Kellogg Action Lab: Making Change Means Taking Risks

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 08/11/2008 - 3:50pm

Flickr Photo: Happy DaveLast month, I led a workshop on social media for some Kellogg grantees in Washington DC. Reflecting on what I learned at that workshop definitely informed the workshop I led for another set of grantees in Dearborn, MI at the end of last week.

This time around, we stopped more frequently to talk about the tensions that social media adoption raises for organizations:

  • How hard it can be to open your organization up to negative comments;
  • Shifting from a nonprofit that creates content to a nonprofit that creates experiences with its content;
  • What it means when the communications function lives in every department, not just in the communications department.

NTEN Member Online Round-Up: Could NTEN Members Rock More?

Submitted by Annaliese on Fri, 08/08/2008 - 1:51pm

Flickr Photo: Caro WallisI've come across a lot of things this week from and about you rocking NTEN members. The thing is, it's not just a lot of activity -- especially for AUGUST -- it's the kinds of things you guys are doing and saying that's so impressive.

Here we go:

Successful Social Media Campaign: Tweet Up Blood Drive

Submitted by Annaliese on Fri, 08/08/2008 - 12:07pm

NTEN Member David Neff, from the American Cancer Society in Austin, Texas produced this video to document a recent Tweet Up Blood Drive he helped organize through his local 501 Tech Club and Social Media Club.


Join Us for the 2009 Nonprofit Technology Conference Planning Call

Submitted by Anna on Fri, 08/08/2008 - 11:32am

The 09NTC will be held April 26-28 in San Francisco.

Planning has taken off and we want your help to make the 09NTC the most spectacular ever. We hope that you can join us for a Community Planning Call/Online Chat on Thursday, August 14 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET. (Yes, it's free to give us your opinions.)

> Sign up for the 09NTC Community Planning Call

The Trust Placebo

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 08/07/2008 - 9:17pm

Flickr Photo: GreencolanderFlickr Photo: GreencolanderI'm going to ask you a question and I want you to answer without thinking.

Let's say you had $100 you had to give to someone else. It doesn't matter who you give it to, just that you give it away to a single person. Who would you give it to?

Is the first person you thought of a family member? A close friend? It probably is.

So, why wouldn't you give it to the first person in need you encounter on your way to get a latte in the morning?

The answer is trust.

You have a relationship that indicates to you that your $100 gift will have some meaning to that person, and that it will be used in a way that is satisfying to both the recipient AND you.

We know trust is a key ingredient missing in our sector these days. Paul Light of NYU's Wagner School of Public Service, conducts a regular survey about public trust. The summary of his latest study shows that trust is still declining: fewer and fewer individuals think that nonprofits are doing a good job, and more and more individuals think nonprofits are doing a bad job.

Who Are Your Social Media Game Changers?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 08/07/2008 - 4:31am

If you read this blog, you can't help but know we're developing a social media training curriculum. and we're using social media to do it! Beth Kanter has been curating our We Are Media project.

The main idea behind the project is that the answers are already out there -- all we need to do is find them and put them together in a more cohesive way. One of the biggest sources of answers are the fine folks at We Media, a project of iFOCOS.

They're putting two things we love together: social media and awards! Until September 15, you can nominate someone for the We Media Game Changers Awards.

What do You Want to Learn About Web 2.0

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 08/05/2008 - 3:52pm
NetSquared, a project of TechSoup, is in the process of developing curriculum to help nonprofits use social media effectively. But before they can create the curriculum, they need to know what you need to know! They put together a brief survey that will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. It would be wonderful if you would share your thoughts. Click Here to take the survey.

What's the Return on Your Social Media Investment?

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 08/05/2008 - 1:11pm

Flickr Photo: Felix IdanLast week, I got some evaluation results back from a social media training I did last month in DC. My favorite comments was:

Holly talks too fast.

That came up at least a half a dozen times. Point taken: in the future, no coffee before my session. But my second favorite comment was this:

Holly said we have to demonstrate the value of social media tools to our bosses. But how do you show that blogging leads to donations, or volunteers?

How-to: Put Technology to Use (July 2008)

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 08/04/2008 - 2:18pm
Your guide to the resources that will help you put technology to work for your cause.

Use Google Analytics

> If you read our blog, you know that you can track clickthroughs and landing page performance from your messaging campaigns through Google Analytics. With a little export-to-spreadsheet trickery, you can also do some pretty cool tracking of your blog posts.

> Of course, if you don't have Google Analytics, that's kinda moot. Okay, totally moot. (Actually, we just like to say "moot". Moot moot moot.) If you're not using GA because you don't know how to set it up, not to fear: Ian Lurie has produced a series of videos on Google Analytics, and the Google Team itself made an overview of the interface. Prefer to read? Nicole Gustas has written a very detailed step-by-step tutorial.

> Once you've got the basics, turn to the experts, like Google's Analytics evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, for a few tricks. (If you haven't seen the Ask the Expert session on GA we hosted with Avinash, you really should: it's free for NTEN members!) The Official Analytics blog has a bunch of great tips, as well. And did you know that you can track results from your site's internal search?

Update Your Website

> If you haven't updated your web site since 1995, it may be time to start thinking about a change. Consider the example of the Autism Society of America (which went from this to this). Of course, plowing forward without a good understanding of what you're doing often ends poorly. To help you decide whether it's time, check out some advice from "Notes on Design" or try using MIT's nerdily thorough checklist.

> Unless you've got a big IT department, though, you'll probably need to outsource some of the redesign work. The Independent Computer Consultants Association lets you search their directory, as does Elance. And don't forget the NTEN Member Directory: we've collected a lot of smart people (just like you).

> We've also got you covered when you're ready to choose a consultant. NTEN Member Seth Schneider wrote up a great list of things to consider when hiring a consultant. You might also want to read the ScamBusters article on avoiding outrageous prices for poor results. (As a bonus, there's a list of the "Best Kept Secrets about Chocolate" at the bottom. Mmmmmm.)

Things We Like (July 2008)

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 08/04/2008 - 2:14pm
A monthly roundup of our favorite nonprofit tech resources. Read more posts on our blog.
  1. Can a techie win political office? He can if he keeps running a campaign this smart. Donate enough and you'll get "... a DVD video from [his] mom telling you how wonderful you are, because you are."
  2. Thank you notes to blood donors attached to giant renderings of red blood cells. All that's missing is Raquel Welch floating past in a miniscule submarine.
  3. Idealware's new CRM case studies article.
  4. If you convert your unused laptop into one of those old glass-top Pac-Man machines -- you know, the kind you can set a beer on while you chase Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde -- be sure to invite us over to play.
  5. Can a solar farm in the Sahara power all of Europe? Or possibly, the world? Will Africa see any of the revenue?
  6. The "Lil Green Patch" application on Facebook. Everyone at NTEN's doing it, so it, um, must be cool. Friend us and click your way to a greener world.
  7. Find your perfect genetic match for only $199! This is destined to show up as a late-night cable infomercial pretty soon. "How'd I meet my wife? Oh, you know -- buccal swab."
  8. The 13 new experimental features in Gmail: pretty much ensuring it will remain in Beta for the next 37 years. Look for the "Labs" tab under "Settings".
  9. World Taximeter lets you estimate taxi fares before you arrive in a city. Wonder why they don't include, say, Bamako or Agadez?
  10. Ever been locked out of the Internet by a faulty DNS server? Yeah, it kinda sucks. OpenDNS could make that a thing of the past.
  11. Call the lets you schedule phone calls. You could send reminders to clients (or yourself) or program an escape clause into a blind date. Just don't use it for things "...that common sense tells you not to do."