News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Is Facebook a Bust or Is Obama's Model the Future?

Submitted by Annaliese on Wed, 02/13/2008 - 2:33pm

bigmouthmediaI've heard a lot of buzz today about the apparent bursting of the social media bubble for campaign purposes.

Just as I was forming my own thoughts around this, coming up with the example of Barack Obama's grassroots online fundraising success, I came across this article in Slate, which also points to the Obama campaign as an example of success.

The article refers to the recent Case Foundation fundraising contests (which we've blogged about here), skeptically asserting:

"The amounts involved show that Case understands these endeavors are more social experiment than nonprofit sweepstakes. Sure, prizes of $50,000 matter for the winning organizations, as do the overall dollars raised... But the denominations of the donations remain small, and it's not clear that one-off contests will lead to more. Any fund-raising professional knows that most nonprofit organizations secure the bulk of their money from a relatively small number of large contributions, either from wealthy individuals or institutional sources. Those gifts demand personal cultivation, and an online nudge doesn't usually do it."

But what about Barack Obama's stunning fundraising model of reaching out to many online donors online, asking them to contribute small amounts?

Love Your Techie Day: Give the Gift of NTEN

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 02/11/2008 - 3:17pm

We used -- more on them later --to create an easy way for you to send a little light-hearted love (and the gift of NTEN) to your favorite Techie for Good.

You can help:

  • Install our "Love Your Techie" widget (below) on your Facebook profile, blog, or whathaveyou to help us get the word out. It's simple! Just click the Sprout's "Share" button.
  • Invite all of your socially networked friends to install our widget, as well.

On Love Your Techie Day (February 14th -- if Hallmark can create a holiday, so can we) we'll wrap your message in a pretty package and send it along with a coupon good for 10% off a new NTEN membership; they can use it themselves or pass it on.

You can even send it to yourself. We won't judge.

Thanks for helping us spread the L-word!

NTEN Members Online Round-Up: How-tos, Cool Tools, News, and Social Media as Boon or Bust?

Submitted by Annaliese on Mon, 02/11/2008 - 9:55am

LOLnptechLet's start with the How-Tos.

NTEN member Amy Sample Ward points her blog readers to a helpful how-to published by Global Voices, "Blogging for a Cause". I think Amy's doing a good job of this herself!

Michelle Murrain, NTEN Board member, continues her helpful series of posts about open source tools by discussing Filezilla, an FTP application. She also includes a helpful post about data portability, pointing out that, with more organizations working in and with Web 2.0, they need to understand what data portability is and why open standards are important.

Judi Sohn offers an update on her organization, C3, which was recently featured on Lifetime TV. She also catches her readers up on staff additions, technology implementations, and the sad loss of one of their advocates.

Project Management for Nonprofits

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 02/08/2008 - 4:22pm

Having spent a number of years in the start-up world, I know that nothing kills a great idea faster than poor project management. Project management provides an organized framework for planning and implementing successful projects. Join NTEN and Norman Reiss for the aptly-named webinar, "Project Management for Nonprofits", and learn how your organization can apply basic project management principles.

> Learn more and register today!

Tweet us at the NTC!

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 02/08/2008 - 11:48am

If you're reading this, it's likely that you'll be joining us in New Orleans for the 2008 NTC next month. Even if you aren't, you may want to follow all the action via Twitter. Indeed, we have set up a twitter account just for the conference:

When you choose to follow it, it will auto-magically follow you in return. This means we'll be able to see the tweets from all individuals following 08NTC at:

Viewing that page will let you see the full stream of everyone's tweets during the event. Alternately, you can subscribe to the RSS feed of that stream at:

How does that sound as a plan? Anyone want to recommend an alternate idea?

You'd Better be Thinking UnWired

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 02/08/2008 - 11:25am

Last week, I had the great pleasure of visiting Austin, TX for the TIG conference. I gave a presentation on the power of municipal wireless networks and mobile devices -- two great flavors that are going to taste even better together!

James spent some time heckling me from the front row, but he finally took pity and let me finish. Turns out, it was a good presentation for him!

Here are my slides, should they be useful to you. Props to MobileCommons for letting us do the demo.


The Secret Life of Your Blog Post

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 9:09am

For some reason, I've been shadowing Beth Kanter on the conference circuit lately. I've had the great pleasure of listening to her speak several times in the last few months -- with more to come! At some point during every presentation, one of the attendees, whose mind has just been blown by her awesomeness, asks "Do you have that written down somewhere?"

Beth's answer is always the same. "Just 'Google' Beth. My blog will be in the top of the listings. See?! Another reason to blog. It increases your search engine rankings!"

While I've always agreed with her -- blogging has clearly increased our own search rankings -- I now confess that I never truly understood why... until today!

Many thanks to Paul Hyland for posting this Wired Magazine infographic about the secret life of your blog post on his Facebook news feed. It sums it all up nicely. Next time I see Beth, I'll be able to agree with her whole heartedly.

Internet Freedom is Sexy

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 02/06/2008 - 11:57am

Remember when Comcast got caught blocking web content? Well, prompted by complaints about recent actions by Comcast, the FCC -- the government agency responsible for regulating the Internet -- has asked the public to comment on whether or not the companies controlling the pipes should dictate what content gets through them.

This is a complicated issue that could have a pretty simple outcome for nonprofits across the country: your content could be blocked.

Lots of us work on issues that can be viewed as controversial. If you work in sex education or reproductive health, you've probably already had to cope with technologies that make it hard for you to deliver your message to stakeholders. Take just one example: NARAL Pro-Choice America text messages were temporarily censored by a mobile provider last fall.

But it's not just sex talk that's in jeopardy. Without protection, any organization's work could be blocked at any time, for any reason. It's important that nonprofits engage in this debate and actively shape the outcome here.

You can get involved today: leave your comment with the FCC. The agency is accepting comments through February 13.  Our sector needs to be represented.

Twitter, KickApps, and 0 to 2000: A Trio of Tools and Tips You Can Use Today

Submitted by Annaliese on Fri, 02/01/2008 - 4:26pm

Flickr photo by red5standingbyLet's kick off February with some advice for getting your organization (or yourself) advocating for your cause with free social media tools.

First, there's Twitter. This tool should be familiar to the NTEN community by now, but just in case you're tuning in for the first time, Twitter is a free social networking/micro-blogging tool that allows you to submit short updates to your network via the web, your mobile device, or a third-party application; you also receive short updates from the network you're "following."

How to apply it to your mission:

  • Update your volunteers, constituents, and friends with the latest news about your cause (a bill, a candidate, a campaign, an event, etc.).
  • Organize attendees or participants at an event or project in real-time.
  • Engage a community on a personal level -- Beth Kanter leveraged her network on Twitter to help her win the Giving Challenge.

You may want to read this article on Read/Write Web about Twitter's emergence as a viable communications platform. Note the helpful information and considerations for how to use it!

Nonprofit Taglines That Work

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 02/01/2008 - 4:16pm

Nancy Schwartz, over at Getting Attention, is doing some research on nonprofit taglines. "Effective taglines complement an org's name, convey the unique value it delivers to its community and differentiates it from the competition," she says. "But more often, nonprofit taglines are vague, ambiguous, over-reaching, too abstract or simply non-existent."

When you've got a moment, take her short survey at:

Nancy promises to provide a copy of her report to all respondents who request it.  We may all benefit from her findings.