News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Giving Challenges: Atlas Service Corps, Part 2

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 2:14pm

[Ed. Note: As you probably know, the Case Foundation, together with Facebook Causes and Parade magazine, is going to award $750,000 to charity. To help illuminate the process and generate discussion and ideas, the NTEN Connect Blog will be posting occasional updates from actual participants in the Challenges. This is the second from Scott Beale; you can also read his first post.]

Scott Beale, Atlas Service Corps (Atlas Corps)

A lot has happened since my last blog entry on NTEN so let me bring you up to speed. My name is Scott and I am the founder of Atlas Corps, a new international organization that brings nonprofit leaders from the global south to volunteer in the U.S. for one year (some call it a "Reverse Peace Corps"). We have decided to enter America's Giving Challenge in an effort to motivate a large number of people to give us $10 (or more) donations in order to win $50,000. We have entered in the GlobalGiving category, because we are a very international organization, despite our U.S. 501(c)3 status.

I am excited to share that we've gotten off to a great start: we are in first place with 171 people. This is what we've been able to do so far:

Four Lessons in Social Media

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 01/03/2008 - 10:39am

Flickr photo: *maya*Flickr photo: *maya*NTEN member Beth Kanter tagged several folk to share four lessons in social media from 2007. I've been sitting on this post for a few days now because, I think like many of you, we have struggled to understand how we can leverage social media tools to better engage and add value to our community. Outside of the small book I could write about Scrabulous, I'm not sure I have too many lessons learned about how to succeed with social media.

I am certain, however, that we've learned a few things about how to experiment with social media. I figure that if we experiment better, we might actually learn something concrete to share by 2009. So:

The Future of Nonprofit Technology: If You Dream It, The Tools Will Come

Submitted by Annaliese on Tue, 01/01/2008 - 10:18am
During my time off this holiday season, I caught up on some online (and offline) reading. As a result, I was able to read several unrelated posts that helped me put the future of nonprofit technology in perspective.

Over at the Wild Apricot Blog, I read Soha El-Borno's post in a series about online fundraising tools for nonprofits, which emphasized what we hear all the time: think about your objective first, then apply the tool that's best for your goal, rather than investing time and resources on a tool just because it's new and "cool".

Soha's blog led me to this post about the development of the PayPal widget -- with the help of a blogger with a dream -- which can be easily customized, embedded, and shared.I also remembered this article about how the charitable sector is adapting and applying social media tools faster than the the business sector.

And -- bear with me on this one -- I happened to catch up on a very old but very interesting discussion about folksonomies vs taxonomies, which led me to think about the effects of online discussions and online collaboration in general.

This all got me thinking about the obvious, really: the future of nonprofit technology is YOU.

Happy Holidays from NTEN!

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 12/21/2007 - 4:49pm

On behalf of Holly, Annaliese, Karl, and Anna, I'd like to wish everybody a safe and festive holiday season.

The NTEN offices will be largely shut down until January 2nd. Don't be surprised if we post the occasional blog piece or respond to e-mail -- we can't help it! -- but if you don't hear from us until the new year, don't feel put out. We still like you!

Of course, our automated systems will continue chugging along, so if you find yourself in front of your computer with little to do, remember: the sooner you register for the NTC, the sooner you'll stop getting messages from us reminding you to register for the NTC. We're going have a great time in New Orleans, and the Early Bird deadline of January 15th is getting awfully close...

Finally, if you have a geek or a nerd on your shopping list who's proving impossible to shop for, be sure to check out the Coolest. Piece. of Junk. Ever. Submit your own gift ideas in comments, below.

Catch you in the new year.

Giving Challenges: Atlas Service Corps

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 12/21/2007 - 3:56pm

[Ed. Note: As you probably know, the Case Foundation, together with Facebook Causes and Parade magazine, is going to award $750,000 to charity. To help illuminate the process and generate discussion and ideas, the NTEN Connect Blog will be posting occasional updates from actual participants in the Challenges.]

Scott Beale, Atlas Service Corps (Atlas Corps)

I heard about Americas Giving Challenge through our partner GlobalGiving. I was immediately excited about the possibility of putting my political and social networking experience to good use for Atlas Corps.  We are making this competition a top priority for Atlas Corps. Atlas Corps is a new organization, so we see this as great way to increase awareness and also raise $50,000+.

100,000 Downloads for RareEarthtones

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 12/21/2007 - 3:21pm

The Center for Biological Diversity announced this week that 100,000 free ringtones had been downloaded from its endangered species ringtone site. They've also given the site a make-over, and it's much prettier and easier to use now.

Curves magazine says, "This assortment of natural sounds is in sharp contrast to the jarring jangle of most electronica and an educational reminder about the extinction crisis." All I know is that the Mexican gray wolf on my wife's phone freaks our cat out every time she gets a call, an unexpected side benefit. You can also get the polar bear, blue-throated macaw, northern goshawk, California red-legged frog, and American pika, among others.

Download a ringtone yourself, and help get them started on number 200,000.

Campaigns and Twitter

Submitted by Annaliese on Fri, 12/21/2007 - 2:13pm

Just a couple of days ago, NTEN member and Social Media for Nonprofits expert Beth Kanter kicked off a great discussion about how NOT to use Twitter for your organization.

The key takeaways are:

  • don't use Twitter as a blowhorn for your canned PR;
  • don't think of Twittees as a captive audience;

and, everyone's favorite:

  • don't Twitter without love.

I was really moved today to see one cause doing everything right with Twitter: the Frozen Peas Friday campaign from the Frozen Pea Fund.

Here's how it's working:

The Latest from NTEN Discuss

Submitted by Anna on Thu, 12/20/2007 - 4:53pm

As the year winds down, the NTEN Affinity Groups remain charged with discussions ranging from whether or not attendees should bring their kids to the 2008 NTC to how the future of IT staff is changing -- provoked by the new book, The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, From Edison to Google by Nicholas G. Carr. (For a review and excerpt of the book go here.)

Robert Weiner poses the question:

"Do you agree? Will IT departments have "little left to do once the bulk of ... computing shifts out of private data centers and into "the cloud."?

And Peter Cambell responds:

Giving Challenges: Fellowship of Reconciliation

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 12/20/2007 - 3:31pm

[Ed. Note: As you probably know, the Case Foundation, together with Facebook Causes and Parade magazine, is going to award $750,000 to charity. To help illuminate the process and generate discussion and ideas, the NTEN Connect Blog will be posting occasional updates from actual participants in the Challenges.]

Ruby Sinreich, Fellowship of Reconciliation 

Ten days ago, a colleague forwarded an e-mail saying that the Case Foundation would be giving $250,000 to the nonprofits that generated the most supporters through the Causes application on Facebook. A week earlier, another colleague had discovered that some folks had started a "No War Iran" Cause and designated our organization, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, as the recipient. They had already recruited over 5,500 supporters and generated $210 in unsolicited donations, so we were feeling pretty open to the potential of Facebook.

Giving Challenges: Children's National Medical Center

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 12/20/2007 - 3:13pm

[Ed. Note: As you probably know, the Case Foundation, together with Facebook Causes and Parade magazine, is going to award $750,000 to charity. To help illuminate the process and generate discussion and ideas, the NTEN Connect Blog will be posting occasional updates from actual participants in the Challenges.]

Mark Miller, Children's National Medical Center

I was the vice president for communications at the Case Foundation from 2005 to 2007. During that time, I led the development of www.casefoundation.org and helped the team explore ways to get everyday people involved in giving. A big part of that was studying new tools for online fundraising.

Because my daughter has received such great care at Children's National Medical Center, I took a job doing fundraising communications there in June 2007. When I heard the Case Foundation was sponsoring the Facebook and Parade.com giving challenges, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. It fits our strategy perfectly to use the latest technology to raise national awareness and dollars in new and innovative ways.