News from the NTEN Connect Blog

NTEN Members Online Round-Up: Toolboxes, the Future of TV, Tech Stars, Advice, Dealing with Criticism, and Twitter

Submitted by Annaliese on Mon, 03/03/2008 - 12:48pm
LOLnptechAmy Sample Ward let us take a peek at her technology toolbox last week by describing 6 of the daily e-tools she incorporates into her online work and life.

Michelle Murrain has a new free and open source tool overview: Miro, a video tool you can use to play, organize, download, and disseminate online videos. She predicts that this is the future of television.

NTEN member Beth Dunn is profiled as a "tech star" over at @Bar. We're so proud!

Marnie Webb to all organizations thinking about social networking: start with the search. She gives some tips and links to begin your (re)search.

NTEN member Ed Schipul will be speaking on a panel (which includes NTEN superstar Beth Kanter) about web-based social media technologies for nonprofit organizational fundraising at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW). All you NTENners who will be at SXSW -- let us know what you learn!

A couple of familiar NTEN members and contributors joined our nptechies across the pond for the Circuit Riders 4.0 Conference last week. Laura's Notebook has a nice round up, including a video of Beth Kanter, who joined via Skype to discuss Web 2.0 for nonprofits. She also referred to NTEN superstar John Kenyon, who was invited by NTEN organizational member LASA to lead a workshop on nonprofit advising (or leadership, as we refer to it around here) the day after the Circuit Rider Conference. Good show!

Beth also has a great post addressing the issues of transparency and criticism in the world of social media. She offers a hypothetical scenario that anyone engaging constituencies in this user-generated environment should consider (hint: read the comments).

In response to Beth's post, NTEN member Kivi Leroux Miller offers some great advice for nonprofits dealing with negative user-generated content.

Joyce Harmon, of NPower Greater DC, posted slides she presented recently for nonprofit leaders about online strategies and tools for this generation of online fundraising and constituent engagement. Thanks, Joyce!

Speaking of giving stuff away, Katya Andresen wrote this enlightening post applying the business model of the "gift economy" to nonprofit organizations. The important takeaway for me here is that, with the low-cost of technology tools like email, e-newsletters, and of course social media tools, it not only makes sense but is fiscally possible for even the smallest nonprofit organization to use this model. Read Katya's post for more background and ideas.

Finally, I found a new form of online update from an NTEN member: this tweet about the upcoming Nonprofit Technology Conference from "Erica G." Why is this exciting? I used Google Alerts to search for "nten member" -- and was sent a link to this twitter update in my email. Implications? Tweeting has reach outside subscribed followers.

What's Your NTC Schedule Look Like?

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 02/29/2008 - 11:18am

Flickr Photo: Joe LanmanWow.  There is a LOT going on at the NTC this year.  There are over 100 sessions and affinity groups, a very fun party at Tipitina's, a text messaging experiment, and lots of fun packed into the social schedule as well.  How WILL you keep up with it all? 

How about in your calendar?  We've packed the NTC schedule into one handy calendar feed.  Now you can subscribe and have the NTC schedule at your electronic finger-tips.  Choose from:

Looking forward to seeing you all there! Hat tip to member Camron Assadi for reminding us to get this done!

How Much Are You Getting Paid?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 02/28/2008 - 10:00am

Flickr Photo: c2k2eHow much does a nonprofit webmaster make every year? Are nonprofits actually paying to train their IT staff? And is anyone out there actually planning?

In order to shed some light on these questions, NTEN and the Nonprofit Times teamed up to create the Nonprofit IT Staffing Survey. We're pleased to release the second, and final, report from that survey, "Nonprofit IT Staffing: Budgets, Salaries, Training and Planning." This report will tell you what nonprofit IT professionals are earning, how much nonprofits are spending on IT, and how they are supporting IT through training, planning, and evaluation.

> Download the report for free!

Network Neutrality on Trial

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 3:42pm

On Monday, at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the FCC held a public hearing on "broadband network management practices". The hearing essentially asked if Comcast and other access providers should have the ability to favor one type of content over another on their networks.

The consensus seems to be "No": today, the New York Attorney General's office subpoenaed Comcast on its network practices.

There are other opinions, some of which are easily dismissed, like this one:

Countdown to the NTC

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 02/26/2008 - 11:13am

We're only 3 weeks away from the 2008 Nonprofit Technology Conference -- and the price of registration increases by $100 on March 1st -- so if you've been waiting for a good moment to make your plans to join us in New Orleans, March 19-21, this just might be it.

> Register for the 2008 NTC

We're also counting on you to help us spread the word. We know the single biggest reason people attend the NTC is because of the recommendation of a colleague or friend. If you could take a moment to talk up the NTC to anybody you know who would benefit, you'll be doing your part to make this year's conference the best one yet.

Just send them to for the most up-to-date information. Thanks in advance for telling people about the biggest, most fun nonprofit technology event of the year. It's the ultimate compliment, and we appreciate it!

And, of course, we hope you're going to join us, as well.

Things We Like (February 2008)

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 02/25/2008 - 3:34pm
A monthly roundup of our favorite nonprofit tech resources. Read more posts in our blog.
  1. The "Wi-Fi Detector Shirt". They claim it displays wireless signal strength with glowing, animated bars, right there on the shirt. If this actually works, it's the Coolest Thing Ever we've seen this week.
  2. Sprout. Maybe you saw our Love Your Techie widget? Sprout has the potential to change the game.
  3. Heather Goes Bonkers when her organization wins $1000 from America's Giving Challenge. You've got to love the enthusiasm: if they had hit for $50k, this may have been inappropriate for the office.
  4. Is Obama a Mac and Clinton a PC? Does that make McCain a Xerox Alto
  5. Visualizing Information: An Introduction to Information Design. It's well designed!
  6. Miriam Engelberg lost her battle with cancer, but her comics live on.
  7. Seesmic. YouTube meets Twitter, eh? The company's founder describes himself as a "serial entrepreneur".
  8. DeviantArt. Never mind the name -- there are only a few furries. Social networking built around art is an interesting idea, if not original: has allowed member interaction for years.
  9. Wired Magazine's infographic "The Life Cycle of a Blog Post", as featured in our blog.
  10. 5min's video tutorials, including "How to Rock", and the indispensable "How to Ignore Facebook App Invites".

How To: Put Technology to Use (February 2008)

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 02/25/2008 - 3:30pm
Your guide to resources that will help you put technology to work for your cause.

Get the Most Out of Your Online Campaign

> While more Americans are learning about this year's electioneering from their daily newspaper than the Internet, social media tools have gained traction. Wired recently took a look at one campaign's use of new technologies in "The Tech of Obamamania". You can get the NPTech slant on the election from Care2's Election Blog.

> Of course, most nonprofits aren't trying to win an election, but many of the fundraising and organizational principals remain the same. And while there's been a lot of buzz about the death of social networking -- be sure the check out Slate's "The Facebook Philanthropos" -- Beth Kanter assures us that the reports are overblown. We just need to think more strategically about how we're using all the new toys.

> In that spirit, you may want to take a look at the online campaigning overview on CNN -- yes, CNN! (Sometimes, sound bites are helpful.) -- before checking out two posts on the Wild Apricot blog: "7 Tips to Make Your Charity Badge a Success" and "Online Fundraising 101". Network for Good's study on "The Wired Fundraiser" is also an excellent resource. 

Organize Volunteers Online

> Having trouble keeping your supporters' version of your message in line? Beth's got you covered: "My Organization's Fundraiser Was Abducted by Aliens!"

> And while you could just start your own social networking site, with your own rules, wouldn't be easier just to get the recording of Peter Deitz's excellent webinar, "Sharing the Message: How to Work Effectively with Your Organization's Wired Fundraisers". (Might this be a good use of NTEN's new webinar MultiPasses? Yes, it might.)

> Wait, what's that you say? You have to organize real, live people? Oh, boy. Fortunately, NTEN Members enjoy a discount on Mission Research's GiftWorks, which has a Volunteer Management component. The World Cares Center offers trainings for working with volunteers in disaster situations. And Coyote Communications has a good section on volunteer management, including an overview of available software options.

> If you just want to volunteer yourself, you've got a lot of options, like Network for Good, VolunteerMatch, and the unfortunately named

Rock YouTube

> So, you want to rock YouTube harder than the dueling 1984 parody ads created by rogue supporters of the Clinton and Obama campaigns? First, get your organization signed up for YouTube's nonprofit program. Then, follow Holly Ross's advice and check out Project for Awesome.

> This guy's got an oh-so-meta series on gaining YouTube subscribers. You can also dress up your video using one of the many tools available or by following some tongue-in-cheek advice from across the pond. Just take care: as NPR reports, somebody may put the "anti" in "social media" by critiquing your video. The Free, Open Source Office Suite

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 02/25/2008 - 10:47am

Join Michelle Murrain and NTEN for the webinar, " The Free and Open Source Office Suite". is a free and open source office suite with the same (and in some ways more) functionality as most of MS Office. It reads and writes MS Office file formats, and has a native file format that is an open standard, which protects data integrity and access forever. Learn about how you can use today in your organization.

When: Tuesday, February 26th, 11 am PT / 2 PM ET

Cost: $25 for NTEN Members, $50 for Non-members

Presented By: Michelle Murrain, NOSI

> Learn more and register today!

NTEN Members Online Round-Up: ROI of Social Media, True Tales from Nptechies, Vocabulary Lessons, and Power

Submitted by Annaliese on Fri, 02/22/2008 - 2:35pm

LOLnptechNTEN member Beth Dunn picked up on the discussion on Beth Kanter's blog about outcome-based thinking for nonprofits using social media. She encourages those who set out on the "journey" through social media for good causes to plan ahead and keep notes.

Amy Sample Ward discusses Twitter for nonprofits, emphasizing the importance of individual interest over organizational broadcasting. Amy always applies the golden rule when she tweets.

Judi Sohn is back with another down-to-earth -- or from-the-trenches -- post about what it really means to implement a new technology for an organization, even if it's a free technology (such as Salesforce or Google Apps for nonprofits). Someone has to spend staff time (or consulting fees) learning the tool before it can be applied to the organization's mission.

Beth Kanter summarizes the many definitions and implications of "authenticity" and "transparency" for the nonprofit sector.

There's sad news from our anonymous NTEN friend 1centNPtech: his/her organization has decided to outsource their technology planning and oversight. Please drop by our comrade's blog to offer your condolences. And maybe some job leads.

Michelle Murrain rants about the problems with custom CMS solutions for nonprofits. She calls on all nonprofits to reject the custom CMS option in their RFPs.

Our very own Holly Ross was highlighted in's Idea Lab blog for talking about the "power" of information, nonprofits, and technology.

If your organization is considering whether (and how) to apply social networking for your cause, read Beth Kanter's contribution to Network For Good's blog, "8 Secrets of Effective Online Networking."

Finally, Deborah Finn wrote a guide on search engine optimization (SEO). She was kind enough to re-publish it on her blog.

What is NTEN to You?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 02/21/2008 - 4:39pm

As many of you know, I just became Executive Director in November of last year. Although I've been in the nonprofit tech community for nearly a decade -- and at NTEN for over 5 years -- I have to admit that I was pretty startled the first time someone asked me, after I took over as ED, "So, what is NTEN?"

I didn't have a good answer.

Of course, I've used a variety of stock responses over the years, none of which have ever really satisfied me. We help nonprofits with technology, but we're not ABOUT technology. We're a community of nonprofit technology professionals, but we're not all server room geeks. It gets a little confusing, and I'm spending a lot of time thinking about it these days. I don't think I'm any closer to the mythical elevator pitch, but the one thing I can say for sure is that NTEN *is* our members.

So I figured I should ask you: what is NTEN to you? What do you get? What do you learn? What do we empower you to do?