News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Raise Money on Facebook: Four Fundraising Applications You Need to Know About

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 09/27/2007 - 9:37am

Peter Deitz, Social Actions

[Ed note: Peter wrote this article in 2007. He has just updated it for 2009. You should read the new version, too: click here.]

When it comes to online fundraising, an obvious tip is to meet your current and potential donors where they are. Today, millions of prospective donors between the ages of 18 and 35 find themselves on Facebook.

Community Buzz

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 09/27/2007 - 9:30am
News and buzz from people and organizations in the nonprofit tech sector. Read our posts on the NTEN blog.

Whither Web 2.0?

> A recent report by the Overbrook Foundation calls into question the adoption rate of web 2.0 technologies among its nonprofit grantees. Key among the findings is the frustration respondents experienced about which tools to use and where to turn for help.

> On the flip side, a report by GEO finds that grantmakers are finding innovative ways to use web 2.0 to connect to grantees and others. One wonders where the communication gap might be, but if the money is there, you have to think that grantees will move toward collaborative technologies in increasing numbers.

Girl Geeks Don't Just Wanna Have Fun, But It Helps

> She's Geeky, an (un)conference, aims to provide a friendly environment for women who not only work in technology, but want to encourage others to get involved. The event will take place in Mountain View, CA, October 22-23. Beacuse it's an (un)conference, attendees are encouraged to propose topics.

Money, So They Say

> Pink Floyd were wrong: sometimes, they do give it away. The Knight News Challege is offering up to $5 million in grants for "big ideas", while the MacArthur Foundation/Hastac Digital Media and Learning Competition is offering $2 million in awards. Both of these have deadlines of October 15th.

> Keep up with all the latest nonprofit technology grant news with the aptly named Technology Grant News. NTEN members are eligible for a subscription discount, so why not join today?

How To: Put Technology to Use

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 09/27/2007 - 9:28am
Your guide to resources that will help you put technology to work for your cause.

Make Money with Facebook (provided by Peter Deitz)

> Are Nonprofits actually raising money through Facebook? Read "The Long, Long Tail of Facebook Causes" and "Facebook changes the numbers!", then check out the metrics on Causes, Change.org, ChipIn, and Fundraising.

> The emergence of Facebook as a fundraising force has certainly caught people's attention:

> And if you're not totally Facebooked out (Facebookered?), you can learn more at:


Map Your Presence

> The American Institute of Architects has put GoogleEarth to great use with Blueprint for America. Their template for adding information to the project is also a model of clear documentation. Another project of note: Google is helping the Surui tribe map their territory along the Amazon to monitor illegal logging.

> GoogleEarth makes it relatively straightforward to map your organization's data via the KML file format. Read Google's own documentation or quickly learn to overlay KML on Google's MyMaps.

> You can learn more about Geographical Information Systems (GIS) at our upcoming webinar.

Things We Like

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 09/27/2007 - 9:27am
A monthly roundup of our favorite nonprofit tech resources. Read more posts on our blog.
  1. Faceforce. Even the name is a mash-up -- and probably better than "Salesface".
  2. The new presentation feature in Google Docs. May the power of collaboration save us from boring slideshows.
  3. "Successful Technology Use in Small Grassroots Nonprofits."
  4. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation's exemplary use of RSS feeds to keep people up to date on their available grants.
  5. nTag: Creepy privacy threat or potentially cool?
  6. Wesabe's Data Bill of Rights and News.com's impassioned support for it.

Should Your Text Message Be Censored?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 09/27/2007 - 9:25am

Great article in the New York Times today about a text messaging campaign gone awry. It's a really great piece of reporting. On the surface, it covers the decision last week by Verizon to censor a text message that NARAL Pro-Choice America wanted to send to its supporters. This week, Verizon reversed the decision, saying "It was an incorrect interpretation of a dusty internal policy."

What's most interesting though, is the structure that leaves these kinds of decisions in the hands of the providers. The Times says:

...legal experts said private companies like Verizon probably have the legal right to decide which messages to carry. The laws that forbid common carriers from interfering with voice transmissions on ordinary phone lines do not apply to text messages.

Free Camcorders for Social Change

Submitted by Brett on Wed, 09/26/2007 - 2:41pm

The just-announced Flip Video Spotlight Program will give away 1 million Flip Video camcorders to nonprofit organizations "as a tool to highlight the need for their services, better communicate with their donors, and broadcast their accomplishments to the world."

The initiative, announced at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, will begin in December, 2007. Qualified nonprofits and NGOs will be able to sign up online; kits will be given away on a 1-to-1 matching basis.


Perhaps YouTube or MySpace would be interested in kicking in some funds to make this program even more affordable to nonprofits?

By Hook or By Crook

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 09/26/2007 - 11:46am

The Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management at the University of San Francisco released a new report this week, "Successful Technology Use in Small Grassroots Nonprofits." (PDF Download)

One quote from a nonprofit ED really struck me. When asked how the organization paid for technology, the response was:

By hook or by crook. We haven't budgeted for it. Robbing Peter to pay Paul. But it is so important. A lot of people come to our website and it could be so strong...[Laughs] We will lay someone off. There's a lot to unpack in that statement.

On the one hand, I see this quote, and a lot of the report, as a call to the foundation community to help nonprofits invest in their infrastructure. We can't do our work without the appropriate tools, but no one -- individual donors included -- wants to pay for it.

On the other hand, I can't believe that anyone wouldn't budget for technology. If you know me at all, you know that I love to hate Dr. Phil. So to borrow one of his phrases, "You have to name it to claim it!" How does an organization expect to raise funds for technology when it's not even a part of the budget?

Who Does Your Data Belong To? Why YOU, Of Course!

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 09/24/2007 - 5:32pm

An enthusiastic "Heck Yeah!" for the recent CNET Blog Post: "Should "open source" include open data?" In the post, author Matt Asay says:

I'm not speaking for the Open Source Initiative here, but to me this makes it critical to add open data provisions to the Open Source Definition. Why? Because open source that locks down one's data is not all that open, in the grand scheme of things.

Amen! But let's take it a step further. There are several big pieces to the vendor lock-in puzzle, and none of them are the exclusive domain of open source solutions.

Who Is Your WHOIS?

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 09/24/2007 - 11:44am

The Nonprofit Times has a good story today about the potential perils of Cyber-squatting, and how better domain management can help protect you. This probably applies more to the larger nonprofits out there, the kind who generate enough web site traffic to warrant the investment this kind of fraud takes. But, it could happen to anyone.

More importantly for most orgs, it raises the general issue of managing your domain wisely. Even if your organization is not likely to fall victim to cyber-squatters, not knowing where your domain is registered or who is listed as the contact is an issue for any organization.

PIR, the Public Interest Registry, launched a campaign this year to ProtectYour.org. They cite key 5 steps to protecting your domain:

  1. Verify registration of your .ORG domains
  2. Verify and update .ORG administrative contact information regularly
  3. Check that email contact information is valid
  4. Consolidate .ORG domains names with one registrar
  5. Register your .ORG domain name for the maximum time

Measuring Success: Do Your Metrics Tell Your Story?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 09/20/2007 - 5:02pm

Evaluation is clearly a sticky wicket. Now that we're smack dab in the middle of the information age, it's easier than ever for nonprofits to track all kinds of data that help them measure and evaluate their performance. We know down to the minute how many people are downloading reports, signing up to volunteer, sending emails to decision makers, visiting our clinics, etc. Pervasive Internet access and ever-shrinking hardware mean that we can collect and store more data than ever before. And we can publish that data more easily than ever before, increasing our transparency as we increase our measurements.

No one will argue that this is a bad thing. But are we really measuring what matters? Do all these numbers really tell us if we are meeting our missions? Take this number. Tell me what you think this number says about NTEN:

  • 7158: September site visits to date at http://nten.org.