News from the NTEN Connect Blog

2008 NTC VIdeo Contest: Get Your Video On!

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 01/14/2008 - 4:29pm

Video ContestNTEN and See3 are once again hosting a video contest as part of the NTC. The 2nd Annual DoGooderTV Nonprofit Video Awards is underway, and nonprofits can submit their videos now!

The theme of this year's contest is From the Ground Up: Using Technology to Engage Constituents and Make the World a Better Place. The goal of the contest is to highlight the work of nonprofit organizations and to spread the word about the creative ways they employ media to bring about social change.

Last year's winner, "Stop the Clash of Civilizations" from Avaaz,  received a standing ovation when played at the conference.

Entries will be accepted until February 15, 2008, at which time finalists will be determined. The finalists will be shown on beginning March 1, 2008; individuals will be able to vote on their favorite entry through March 20, 2008. For complete contest rules and to submit or view videos, see:

Of Mutiny and Direct Mail

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 01/14/2008 - 10:56am

Flickr Photo: mwboeckmannThe Chronicle of Philanthropy ran a provocatively titled piece last Friday: Is Direct Mail Dead? Kudos to them for two things:

1. They correctly identify that simply switching to email fundraising isn't much of a strategy shift. Email IS direct mail in all but name and processed trees.

2. They quote Seth Godin in the story.  Seth's one of my favorite daily reads. He hits it out of the park when he says that the times have changed and nonprofits need to rethink how they raise funds:

“It means opening yourself up to volunteers, encouraging them to network, to connect with each other, and yes, even to mutiny. It means giving every one of your professionals a blog and the freedom to use it. It means mixing it up with volunteers, so they have something truly at stake,” Mr. Godin writes. “This is understandably scary for many nonprofits, but I’m not so sure you have a choice.”

Nonprofit FutureTech

Submitted by Brett on Sun, 01/13/2008 - 4:19pm

John Kenyon, Nonprofit Technology Specialist

In her recent report for the Overbrook Foundation, Allison Fine quotes a grantee who expresses what many think about emerging Web 2.0 tools: "I think I'm missing something really big, but I don’t know what it is or how to find out what it is." If you or your colleagues feel the same way, take heart.

Every day, organizations find new ways to bring their stories to life through digital media and the internet. There is brave new world emerging where users generate content. New ways of engaging and interacting with information are being created, new communities are being formed based on personal interests and affiliations, and digital media is being used to tell stories.

The ROI of Social Media

Submitted by Brett on Sun, 01/13/2008 - 3:55pm

Beth Kanter, Social Media Guru

Over the past year, as more and more nonprofits have figured out how to integrate social networking and social media tools into their communications strategies, the question has remained: Do these tools and strategies really help nonprofits reach outcomes? While many of the tools are free, we still need to ask, "What's the value (ROI) of investing our time?"

Let me begin with some basic definitions from Social Media gurus:

NTEN Members Online Round-Up: It's About Getting Together!

Submitted by Annaliese on Sun, 01/13/2008 - 10:00am

In looking over the news and activity of NTEN members online this week, the theme seems to be: Let's get together to make more happen.

First up, we've got an update from long-time and very active NTEN member Norman Reiss about his participation at the Aspiration-Idealware -- both long-time NTEN supporting organizations -- Managing Nonprofit Technology Projects seminar in New York. From what I've heard online and in the Twitt-o-sphere, the first conference from these folks on this topic went well, with a nice turn out of nonprofit techies from all over, including from across the pond.

Speaking of friends from Europe, NTEN members LASA and the ICT Hub are getting ready for a gathering of their own, the 2008 National Circuit Riders Conference, in Birmingham, England next month.

There's news of another gathering in NYC coming soon: the "Software Smackdown", the first meetup of 2008 for New York's NTEN 501 Tech Club, organized by the club's new cruise director, Charles Lenchner.

Giving Challenges: Atlas Service Corps, Part 3

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 01/11/2008 - 3:32pm

[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)

With three weeks to go in America's Giving Challenge, the competition is heating up and we have a real race on our hands. We are in a tight race for first place with two other organizations. The prognosis: we are in a strong position to finish in the top four and win $50,000, but we have our work cut out for us to win the competition out-right. Nothing is certain in this kind of contest.

How Atlas Corps Took the Lead in America's Giving Challenge

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 01/11/2008 - 2:14pm
Scott Beale, Atlas Service Corps

We're about half way through the six-week long America's Giving Challenge sponsored by the Case Foundation, Parade Magazine, GlobalGiving, and Network for Good. At this point, I am excited to share with you that Atlas Corps is in the second spot of the Global Causes category.

I want to share with you what has worked for us in this contest, as we have motivated over 275 people to give about $8,000, putting us in the second spot (for now).

Evaluating Free and Open Source Software

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 01/11/2008 - 2:11pm
Michelle Murrain, NOSI

You've gotten used to evaluating software for use in your organization. You have a specific need to fill, you look around for the list of software that can fill that need, make sure that the feature set matches, that you have the budget, and that the company or vendor is reputable, and can provide the support you need. But how do you evaluate free and open source software?

The un-Wired Nonprofit and the Ruler: Investing in Leadership

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 01/11/2008 - 9:11am

Flickr Photo: pedrosimoes7I'm working on my presentation for the Legal Services Corporation's Technology Initiative Grants Conference -- say that three times fast! -- where I'm scheduled to talk about the un-Wired nonprofit. There are so many amazing things happening with wireless around the country, and so many more amazing things happening with mobile, that I'm having a hard time focusing.

It's a real joy to think about and explore such fun stuff for a good cause. It's definitely my favorite part of my work: dreaming big and making connections. And now is a great time to dream big. With all the buzz about social media, we've entered another heady period in the history of technology. It's cool to be a geek again!

In the middle of all that big dreaming, I was brought back to earth with a thud by an email we got here at the office this morning from marketing professional at a small organization asking about scholarships for the NTC.

Write a Book with Us: The Tech for Good Guide

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 01/10/2008 - 11:50am

Flickr Photo: inkswampThe NTEN Tech for Good Guide is on its way, and we want it to be written by you. We're inviting NTEN members to submit chapter proposals for our latest venture -- a book about technology leadership.

But hurry: The deadline for chapter proposals is January 24th!

Technology is changing the way the world does business. Nonprofits need not only to keep up with but lead in their creative uses of technology to accomplish their missions and make the world a better place.

Nonprofit leaders need to know how IT can help extend the reach and scope of their organizations. Few senior leaders have a background in technology, however, and often feel intimidated by the subject.

The NTEN Tech for Good Guide, a book to be published by Wiley & Sons in early 2009, will address this need. It will demystify the use of technology in nonprofit organizations, providing its audience with clear, accessible advice, strategies, and case studies in simple, non-technical language.

To learn more about what we're looking for and how to submit a proposal, visit: