News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Meet the Author: Brian Reich

Submitted by Anna on Mon, 07/21/2008 - 1:32pm

Even if you haven't had the chance to begin reading the book, Media Rules!: Mastering Today's Technology to Connect with and Keep Your Audience, by Brian Reich and Dan Soloman, you can still benefit from our "Meet the Author" session with Brian, July 22nd at 11am PST/2 pm EST.

> Register Now - Free for NTEN Members!

Brian will touch on the following key themes of the book and answer your book questions:

  • Everything is fragmented and blurred.
  • Small can be big.
  • We are all connected.

NTEN Members Online Round-Up: Free Kittens and Other News in Nonprofit Technology

Submitted by Annaliese on Mon, 07/21/2008 - 12:40pm

Flickr Photo: El Negro MagnificoWe like to hear about our members in the news and acknowledge their activity online. Last week, I happened to see the following about NTEN members:

> NTEN member Nancy Schwartz, of Getting Attention, announced the 12 nonprofits with the most votes in her 2008 Nonprofit Tagline Award Competition, including NTEN members UNICEF and the American Lung Association. Congratulations! Look for her full report on nonprofit taglines in September.

> Several members were cited in the recent NonProfitTimes article about Facebook's Causes: read about how Network for Good, Rick Christ of NPAdvisors, PETA, and the American Red Cross have incorporated Causes into their fundraising and outreach strategies.

> Convio's Connection Cafe highlights NTEN member Farra Trompeter and her relatively new firm, Big Duck.

> Convio gets some love in the news, too, with the announcement that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is deploying Convio's SaaS tools to integrate their communications, fundraising, and relationship management.

> Two members weigh in on what "open source" really means when it comes to deploying FOSS software at your organization. Michelle Murrain, current coordinator of NOSI (Nonprofit Open Source Initiative), says open source solutions are usually free, as in "free kittens", while Randy McCabe, founder and CEO of MPower, an open source CRM provider, takes a crack at defining what "open" really means when it comes to open source CRM solutions for nonprofits.

> If you didn't get to attend the 2008 BlogHer conference, NTEN member Amy Sample Ward has you covered. She couldn't go either, but decided to connect via Second Life. Amy did some live blogging to keep you all tuned in.

NPTech Code of Conduct

Submitted by Anna on Mon, 07/21/2008 - 9:24am

Flickr Photo: kota2006The NPTech Professional Principles Affinity Group has been hard at work these last few months. Led by John Kenyon, Nonprofit Technology Strategist, the group has tackled a different topic each week to create a code of conduct that will show the world that we, as nonprofit professionals, follow the basic tenants of ethical service, whether as staff, support orgs, consultants, or vendors.

The need for these principles also arose out of a desire to have a standard most of the field could agree on to help connect us to one another.

The following is the result of the discussion:

Lose Control, But Not of Your Values

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 07/21/2008 - 9:19am

Flickr Photo: Jeremey BrooksIf you asked me for the sound bite version of my social media advice for nonprofits, it would be this: Lose control.

From where I sit, it seems clear that social media amplifies the ability of our stakeholders to do what they've always done: talk about us and our causes. We can't stop them.

But we can embrace it and figure out how to ride the coming tide.

Last Thursday, I participated in a session at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Leadership Program. Even though I was participating remotely -- they could see video of me through Ustream.tv and we had two way audio through ReadyTalk -- I really felt like I was in the room, and had the chance to do something I don't do nearly well enough -- listen.

The amazing Nicole Garst laid the groundwork for managing technology in your organization, especially all this newfangled social media stuff. By the time I entered, the participants had spent an entire lunch session discussing social media. They were ready to vent.

I heard a lot of interesting things from the room:

Twitter: Not Just Chatter But a Channel for Your Cause

Submitted by Annaliese on Mon, 07/21/2008 - 8:27am

Flickr Photo: AutomaniaIn the technology section of USA Today on Sunday, a lot of new folks learned about Twitter. The micro-blogging social network has grown from 200,000 users to over 2 million users in about a year, and individuals, companies, news outlets, fire departments, and nonprofit organizations have been using the free service to connect, inform, and engage.

If you joined us at the 2008 Nonprofit Technology Conference in New Orleans, chances are you experienced the usefulness of the tool, too. NTC attendees connected with each other, made social plans, got notes from sessions they couldn't attend, knew when free ice cream was being handed out in the conference lobby and when the coffee was running out during breakfast plenaries.

As the article frames it, Twitter is one of those tools that seems to be trivial and a waste of time -- until you try it for yourself.

There so many social media and network tools out there, it doesn't makes sense for an individual -- never mind an organization -- to invest time and resources into trying them all out. But Twitter might be worth a some time.

Here are a few highlights, low-lights, and applications of Twitter to consider for your own purposes:

Going Beyond Tin Cans to Get Your Message Out

Submitted by Anna on Wed, 07/16/2008 - 10:35am

Flickr Photo: relentlesstoilFlickr Photo: relentlesstoilYup, we're talking about the best way to communicate again. We figure the only way we'll master it is, well, by keeping the lines open.

Ryan Richards, Asturais Academy of Guatemala, and Karen Matheson, M+R Strategic Services, will be doing just that on July 31 at a Seattle Net Tuesday Event: Communicating at a Distance: Best practices communicating with members and supporters. They will offer real-world advice and research-based best practices for communicating with your membership effectively, maintaining and developing supporters, building relationships, and sharing your story.

Overcoming Resistance: We Are Media Module 3

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 07/15/2008 - 9:20am

Flickr Photo: martinenoThis week in We Are Media, we're addressing a topic I'm guessing many of you have had some experience with: resistance.

When I speak on social media around the country, no matter what I'm talking about, or who's in the room, I know that when Q&A time comes, we'll spend a lot of time talking about how to address resistance to social media. I usually give a lot of general advice about educating leadership and demonstrating value. This is more or less correct, I think. But if we're going to develop a curriculum about social media, we need to get more serious.

We have to define resistance.

Google Analytics Tip: Track Click-Throughs from Your Messaging Campaigns

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 07/14/2008 - 2:03pm

NTEN uses Avectra's netFORUM as our CRM, and while we're generally happy with its capabilities, it's annoyed me for awhile that I couldn't track click-throughs from our messaging very easily. Then it hit me: use query strings to track clicks in Google Analytics. For a brief moment, I knew how Jon Bon Jovi felt when he rhymed "halfway there" with "livin' on a prayer."

I know some of you are already doing this: it seems so obvious to me now (and maybe I should spend more time reading Analytics forums). But I'll bet some of you aren't too sure what a query string is -- and when I searched for this particular trick, the very few people who discussed it only made veiled references -- so I though I'd write up a detailed look at how to track your click-throughs with a high degree of accuracy:

Don't Let Analytics Scare You Like a Zombie

Submitted by Anna on Mon, 07/14/2008 - 1:52pm

Garden Zomble by Design ToscanoAnalytics can be scary. Holly says they make her feel like a zombie after she spends hours down the rabbit hole with them. But we try hard to keep web analytics from being zombie-scary.

We want to help you to understand and use web metrics to make real impact with your website. The Ask The Expert session with Avinash Kaushik on Google Analytics last month generated more questions than could possibly have been captured in the one hour time slot. Avinash followed through and compiled answers to the questions that went unanswered in the session. You can read the responses and more on his blog.

Teaching is Learning

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 07/14/2008 - 7:43am

Flickr Photo: kjoyner666Flickr Photo: kjoyner666I spent the latter half of last week in lovely Arlington Virginia at a communications and marketing training for the Kellogg Action Lab. Although I do love to talk, my favorite part of this sort of opportunity is the Q&A period, or after the presentation when folks stop by to talk further.

It's always exciting to discover that something I've said has inspired someone to think about things in a new way. But the best part is how much I get to learn from the participants. It's a real gift.

The Kellogg Action Lab was no exception. I focused on social media strategies for distributing your message, and I got as good as I gave. Here are just a few of the new ideas I walked away with: