News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Are Nonprofits Terrible Tech Clients?

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 03/11/2008 - 12:57pm

I've been at South by Southwest Interactive for the last few days. It's like Hollywood for tech celebrities! I had the chance to sit in on some very interesting and forward-thinking panels, and hear amazing folks like Chris Brogan, Jeremiah Owyang, Tara Hunt, Chris Heuer, and our very own Beth Kanter say some really smart things.

Unfortunately, I missed the session where a panelist said (paraphrasing here) "Nonprofits are a pain to work with." With a little push-back in a private conversation later, the panelist went on to say that the problem was that nonprofits demand more than most clients, while expecting to pay less. In short, we want stuff for free.

Damn right we do!

I'd like to point out that nonprofits have clients, too: the people we help -- our stakeholders, donors, and funders. And they almost always demand that we work, in some sense, for free.

Most funders won't pay admin costs. Donors expect increasingly large percentages of every dollar to go straight to program. We're not supposed to spend money on rent, phones, or, god forbid, computers. We're not supposed to hire the staff that keep our nonprofits humming -- the bookkeepers and admin folks. And we're not supposed to pay very much to anyone.

That's the culture we live in. I don't like it. I wish our culture believed that nonprofits should be well-staffed and have adequate infrastructures. But that's not where we're at right now.

So yeah, we ask for free stuff -- because we're expected to work for free, too.

Nonprofits at SXSW

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 03/10/2008 - 11:57am

What am I doing at another conference when the NTC is just a week away? Probably having more fun than I should. But I'm also talking to a lot of great nptech folks about their experiences here. Turns out, SXSW is more than just a place to see and be seen -- it's a great place to talk about the same issues we're grappling with in the nonprofit sector, namely community, transparency, relevance, and trust.

I've been using the cool new-ish tool Utterz to find out what nonprofits are learning here at SXSW. You can check out my Utterz page to keep up with the list as I add to it, or check out:

Will Old Media Embrace New Media?

Submitted by Holly on Sun, 03/09/2008 - 8:47am

Flickr Photo: ClangoPublic radio is an interesting space to watch. It can be an old school media model, determining what's important and broadcasting it to the silent masses. But many public radio stations are also leaders when it comes to integrating new social media tools into their work and giving their communities a voice in the process. That's why it was strange to read that NPR CEO Ken Stern has been let go. From the NPR coverage:

Stern argued that NPR shows and news and cultural segments increasingly had to be available on whatever platforms people wanted to hear them.
NPR is considered a leader in news and music podcasts. And under Stern it has also struck deals to deliver its content new ways, such as through cell phones.
But that push has aggravated anxiety among local stations about their relationship to the network. NPR member stations rely heavily on popular shows, particularly Morning Edition, to generate donations. But if people can listen to them through NPR's Web site or even their own cell phones, why would they stay loyal to stations still reliant on pledge drives?

Was Stern really let go solely because of an old vs. new media clash? Probably not. Are NPR stations around the country asking these kinds of questions about social media? Definitely.

NTEN Members Online Round-Up: 501 Takeaways, Award Challenge, Rural Meetups, Next Steps in Web2.0 Learning, Flickr, and Arrests?

Submitted by Annaliese on Fri, 03/07/2008 - 3:54pm
LOLnptechAmy Sample Ward gives a summary of takeaways from the 501 Tech Club Portland Brown Bag Lunch event this week, at which Jeanette Russell, from DemocracyInAction, discussed online advocacy. I also caught some live tweets from Amy while she was at the event.

Kintera announced the "Connect Developer's Challenge" with cash prizes (of up to $15k) for "entering a software application or applications that integrate directly with Kintera's platform or customize an existing Kintera application."

Britt Bravo blogs about a request for virtual meet-ups for rural NetTuesdays. What are some technology tools/options out there for this? SecondLife, elluminate, wiziq, and Skypecasts were all suggested. Other ideas?

Marnie Webb is back this week urging all those nonprofits who took her advice about searching last week to take the next step -- and "follow". She's working on her series of tips for nonprofits getting started with social networking and web2.0, but her advice really applies to anyone starting out with online research. I'm looking forward to next week's installment!

Michelle Murrain was at the Politics Online Conference this week, speaking about -- what else? -- open source tools. She shared a panel with other NTEN members, including Ryan Ozimek, Jo Lee, and Alan Rosenblatt.

TechSoup announced new Flickr accounts for nonprofits through the "Flickr for Good" program. The NTEN organizational member and general nonprofit technology contributor is partnering with the photo sharing site to donate 10,000 1-year Flickr pro accounts. OK, NTEN community: how will you use yours?

Ruby Sinreich is Twittering as I post this about her day in DC with the Olive Branch Interfaith Peace Partnership, practicing "nonviolent civil disobedience" (hint: find the #OBIPP tags). Will she have been arrested by the time you read this?

NTEN Community People's Choice Awards

Submitted by Annaliese on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 3:35pm
At this year's Community Awards ceremony at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, we want to acknowledge the organizations and people who have stood out with particularly effective, exciting, and memorable implementations of technology for their causes over the past year.

Please take a moment to tell us about your favorites in this short survey, and we'll announce the People's Choice in each category on Friday, March 21st.

> Vote today!

Where's Waldo, and Is He Coming to the NTC?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 2:57pm

The NTC is just over a week away, and we bet you're starting to get as excited as we are (though we hope you're sleeping more and remembering to eat)! If you're looking to connect with other conference attendees, we've got a couple of suggestions for you.

JOIN THE 08NTC AFFINITY GROUP

1. Go to http://groups.nten.org/group.htm?mode=home&igid=44287 (you'll need to create an account if you don't have one already)

2. Join the group

3. Post a message to introduce yourself!

MAP YOURSELF!

This year, the fine folks at MapBuzz have set up a map for NTC attendees. Mosey on over and add yourself today:

1. Head over to MapBuzz and add your information to the Attendees Map.

2. Enter your address and/or city and state into the search bar at the top of the page.

3. Click the ADD TO MAP button that appears, and enter your Name (and photo, bio or any other information you want) into the box.

4. Click SAVE and you're done.

Looking for a Content Management System?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 03/06/2008 - 11:25am

Flickr Photo: newramblerLooking for a Content Management System? Wouldn't it be nice to know what your peers and colleagues think your top choices are? You will soon! Share your experience with Content Management Systems in our short survey, and we'll compile the results into a handy report.

> Rate Your CMS today!

This short survey will deliver both quantitative AND qualitative results to you. Of course, the more people who participate, the better the results will be, so please take just a few moments now to share your experiences. When you're done, share the link with your colleagues and peers!

> Rate your CMS today!

Survey responses are anonymous. If you have any questions please email holly@nten.org

Who Techs? Women Tech!

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 03/05/2008 - 6:26pm

Flickr Photo: entr_pyHey ladies! What are you doing on March 31st? What? Nothing? Well, now you have a date. Join me at the Women Who Tech Telesummit!

Defying the stereotype that the tech world belongs to pocket-protector toting guys hooked on sci-fi and video games, hundreds of women are gearing up for the “Women Who Tech” national telesummit. These are no ordinary women either. The participants are the cadre of women from coast to coast who leverage their tech savvy to inspire change and transform the world.

Among the sessions:

  • Web 2.0: What’s Hot? What’s Not?
  • Cracking the Boys Club: Women and Social Capital
  • Everything You Wanted To Know About Tech But Were Afraid To Ask (a man)
  • Breaking Through the Digital Ceiling

Panelists include a “who’s who” of women on the forefront of social change and technological progress. Among them: Arianna Huffington of HuffingtonPost.com; Joan Blades of Moveon.org and MomsRising.org; and Lynne Johnson of Fast Company, just to name a few.

2008 NTC Widget

Submitted by Brett on Wed, 03/05/2008 - 5:21pm

Scholarships for the 2008 NTC - Sign up and Spread the Word!

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 03/05/2008 - 3:20pm

Since we chose New Orleans as the 2008 NTC location, we've been hard at work looking for ways to incorporate and showcase the local nonprofit scene while we're there. After all, it's these grassroots organizations who have been at the heart of the amazing comeback New Orleans is making.

We're very fortunate to have Vince Stehle and the Surdna Foundation in our corner. Thanks to them, we're able to offer 50 scholarships to Gulf Area nonprofits to attend the NTC for just $199.

If you're a Gulf Area organization, sign up today! If you know a Gulf Area organization, help spread the word. Here's how to get that special rate:

  • Go to http://nten.org/ntc-register and select a registration option.
  • On the registration form, select "Gulf Coast Orgs" in the "How did You Hear?" field.
  • The registration form will refresh and display the $199 rate option.