News from the NTEN Connect Blog

The WiFi Dance Continues

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:39am

When Earthlink famously pulled out of its deal with San Francisco to install a city-wide wireless network, many individuals declared it the nail in the municipal wireless coffin. It's true that municipal wireless projects are getting knocked around all over the country: the Philadelphia and Minneapolis projects have also come under heavy fire. These criticisms have led lots of folks to question the whole idea of ubiquitous access.

What's more telling than all the hoopla is the fact the communities are persistent, insistent even, about developing wireless solutions. Check out the latest from San Francisco.

It may take a while, but communities will figure this out for themselves. Are you part of the discussion in your community?

Where Does Your Candidate Stand on Tech?

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:01am

Flickr Photo: merfamWhen you ask folks what issues matter most to them in this election, technology almost never tops the list. But there are a number of technology issues being debated in the policy arena that could profoundly change our daily lives as individuals, and as nonprofits.

Net Neutrality, copyright, and Internet surveillance are just a few of the topics politicos are addressing these days. Lucky for us, CNET compiled detailed responses from a number of the presidential candidates about where they stand. Not all candidates chose to respond, but here are the answers from those who did:

Sadly, Stewart and Colbert did not respond.

Open or Delete?

Submitted by Anna on Mon, 01/07/2008 - 10:30am
A discussion thread about email subject lines has been growing on The Progressive Exchange List, beginning with a question from Karla Capers of the Union of Concerned Scientists:

I just received this email from "Doug Bishop" asking me to make a donation to the Edwards campaign. I have used this tactic before to raise money for organizations--sending an appeal to the list from a fellow "everyday person"--but I've never changed the "from" name on the outgoing email. I worry that if the email comes from a new name that list subscribers don't recognize they'll either just delete it, or worse, report it as spam. What do others think about this tactic?

NTEN Members Round-Up: Nonprofits Getting Ready for 2008 with Online Tools

Submitted by Annaliese on Mon, 01/07/2008 - 7:45am
The first week of 2008 has already offered up some good advice and discussion from the nonprofit technology community. NTEN members contributed by focusing on lessons learned from 2007 that can be applied in 2008.

An effort spearheaded by social media guru and lifetime NTEN member Beth Kanter offered some honest and helpful takeaways on the state of social media from Britt Bravo, Katya Andresen, and our very own Holly Ross, including:

Technology Leadership Series

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 4:43pm

Don't miss your chance to become a technology leader in 2008. Learn how to put tools to work for your organization instead of the other way around.

We're approaching the sign-up deadline for the 7-part webinar series from NTEN designed to make your work life easier. These webinars will allow you to get more done with the same resources by giving you the information and skills you need to understand many aspects of technology.

> Learn More and Register

CTC VISTA Project Ready to Match Nonprofit Orgs

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 01/04/2008 - 3:26pm

The CTC VISTA Project is now accepting applications from nonprofit organizations that would like to receive a CTC VISTA volunteer for Summer 2008. 

If you don't know about CTC VISTA, you should: "The CTC VISTA Project is a non-monetary foundation that helps match highly qualified AmeriCorps*VISTA candidates with organizations that use, or would like to use better, information and communications technologies." Here at NTEN, we liked our VISTA volunteer (Karl) so much, we hired him full time.

The deadline to apply is February 22nd.  You can find the application guidelines and eligibility requirements at: http://ctcvista.org/apply/org

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.