News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Do You Speak Open Source? Check Out this Contest!

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 2:28pm

Good deeds do get rewarded! If you know someone who’s been toiling in the open source vineyards, developing software that’s helping nonprofits succeed, check out the Tides Foundation Pizzigati Prize, a $10,000 annual award for outstanding contributions to software in the public interest. The competition, judged by a panel of national leaders in public interest computing, is now entering its third year. The application deadline for this year’s prize: September 1, 2008. You can find out more at

The last winner was announced at the NTC in New Orleans.  

NTEN Content Management System Satisfaction Report Now Available

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 10:59am

Choosing a CMS can be frustrating and overwhelming. With so many choices and so little time to research all the options, many of us rely heavily on the recommendations of our peers to cut through the noise and provide some insight.

This is why NTEN is proud to present the results of our first CMS Satisfaction Survey.

> Download the Full Report

Sharing is Caring, but it's Also Hard: Why Your Audience Won't Comment on Your Blog

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 3:54pm

Flickr Photo: hekman2007i just finished a whirlwind two days at the NetSquared conference in San Jose.  As always, the TechSoup folks did a great job, and I'm truly amazed and inspired by the creativity and passion of the community.  

While everyone was excited, I felt that there was one big disconnect, though it's not unique to NetSquared.  I see this a lot.  Lots of folks got up and showed off social media tools and strategies, telling the audience how these tools can help their stakeholders have a conversation.  The assumption is that your stakeholders WANT to have a conversation.  That they are just waiting for you to ask them to share, and they will unleash a torrent of comments, photos, and widgets about your cause.

Maybe they don't.

Knight Foundation and Drupal Community Unite: New Grant Opportunity!

Submitted by Annaliese on Wed, 05/28/2008 - 1:28pm

We've been big fans of the Knight Foundation for all that it's doing to not only promote but fiscally support innovators who are using media to change the world for the better - and now there's another reason to admire them:

They're supporting the Drupal Open Source Initiative with funding for projects that support communities through digital publishing. Here's more from them:

Knight Foundation is working with the Drupal community on the Knight Drupal Initiative with the following goals in mind:

  • To enable more people to enter the digital conversation by lowering the technical barriers to entry.
  • To provide powerful tools for digital publication, free and open to all.
  • To encourage people to improve their communities by supporting the free exchange of information and ideas.


The grant opportunity is open to the public, proposals will be voted on by the Drupal community, and anyone is welcome to register in the Drupal Community and submit a proposal.

To find out more, visit the Knight Drupal Initiative (KDI) overview.

OK you tech-savvy and socially-conscientious NTEN community, get out there and submit your Drupal-Community proposals! 

Bring it in for a Landing

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 9:04pm

Flickr Photo: daviptRecently, we hosted an online event with M+R Strategic Services to release our report, the 2008 E-Benchmarks Study.  The live webinar (free for NTEN members) was really interesting, featuring case studies from organizations about their email campaigns.  Some of the most interesting stuff presented, though, had less to do with the emails sent, and more to do with the web pages those emails asked people to visit.

The landing page - the page folks end up when they click on that link in your email.  It's one thing to get people to click on your links.  It's quite another to get them to donate or take action when they get there.  Donordigital released a great report about landing pages.  It's definitely worth a read if you have an online fundraising program.  

  • How big should the "Donate Now" button be?
  • What color should that button be?
  • Are all those fields necessary on the donate form?

Don't expect, however, to find any quick fixes for your landing pages here.  What I really like about this report is the emphasis on a single idea: your mileage may vary.  They tell you what worked for a single organization (Amnesty International), but stress that you need to test for yourself.  And test a lot.  Page seven of the report  features some great advice for folks that want to get started with testing.

The appendix that follows has great visuals that show you what and how they tested for this study as well, so there's a lot to learn there.  If you're interested in learning more about testing, here are a few resources:

Another Chance to Win: Bridge Conference Mystery Puzzler Contest

Submitted by Annaliese on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 12:03pm

2008 Bridge ConferenceA couple of weeks ago I blogged about an online Mystery Contest for free registration to the 2008 Bridge Conference - well we just heard about another contest opportunity:

With only 5 days left for Early-Bird discounts, the second installment of the Bridge Conference Mystery Contest asks you to solve the Early-Bird Puzzler for a chance to win a FREE Pre-Conference Workshop Registration. All the information you need to solve the puzzler can be found on the Bridge Conference website and when you find the correct answer email it to us. The first correct answer will receive a FREE Pre-Conference Workshop Registration valued at $100.

The Early-Bird Puzzler: "I am a member of AFP/DC, DMAW, AAGP-NCA or NTEN and I registered for the Full Conference and a Pre-Conference Workshop. My friend is not a member and registered for the Full Conference only, but we both waited until after the Early-Bird special. What is the total amount that we forfeited in savings by not registering early?"


The Bridge Conference, presented by AFP and DMAW, is a great learning and networking opportunity for anyone working in fundraising or marketing. If you're a member of NTEN, you get to register at the member rate for the conference - email me to get your registration password!



Build, Maintain, and Motivate an IT Staff

Submitted by Anna on Tue, 05/27/2008 - 11:52am

Affinity Group Conversations and Tools for Change

Submitted by Anna on Fri, 05/23/2008 - 8:52am

Flickr Photo: celestehodgesChange is buzzing through our ears -- and not just from the Obama campaign,but in the NTEN Affinity Groups, as well.

Marc Osten, Summit Collaborative, invites us to join a discussion that puts Web 2.0 on the hot seat, asking, "Will Web 2.0 be the tool set we need to change the world?" View the conversation here.

Mark's idea for this discussion stems from a recent thread on the UK Riders list. The UKRider thread was started by David Wilcox, who shared a bit about Clay Shirky's book, Here Comes Everyone. Shirky states the following regarding Web 2.0.:

Open Source CRMs: How Do They Stack Up?

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 05/22/2008 - 7:02am

Michelle Murrain, NOSI

Constituent Relationship Management systems are one of the bread and butter tools of nonprofit organizations: tracking donations, constituents, activities and the like are critical to accomplishing mission.

It makes sense then, that CRM and fundraising software are the most plentiful and mature software product vertical in the nonprofit sector. And there is an increasing amount of change and innovation in this realm: from open APIs on such stalwarts as Convio and Kintera, to newer open source alternatives like CiviCRM and MPower Open

The question is, how do the newer open source alternatives stack up to the long standing proprietary packages that people have gotten used to?

Open Source Software You Didn't Even Know You Were Using

Submitted by Brett on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 9:44am

When I worked in West Africa a few years ago, GeekCorps Mali had just started on the project that became MoulinWiki, an offline version of Wikipedia that could be burned onto a CD and taken to schools and villages without Internet access. (I didn't work on it; I was just visiting because GeekCorps had a pool and it was incredibly hot out.) The project was possible because the software that runs WikiPedia is Open Source, and so freely editable and redistributable.

A number of factors contributed to the inspiration for MoulinWiki, not least of which was an awareness of the availability of Free and Open Source (FOSS) software. More nonprofit organizations might make use of FOSS as a springboard for projects, if they only knew more about the movement.

In fact, you may already be using more Open Source software than you realize.