News from the NTEN Connect Blog

The On-Demand Nonprofit

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 3:23pm
Sonny Cloward, NPower NY

With Google’s announcement extending its free Education Version of Google Apps to nonprofits, charitable organizations are situated better than ever to leverage On-Demand Productivity Tools (a.k.a. SaaS: Software as a Service). By no means is Google the only on-demand office productivity player: Zoho, ThinkFree, and Goowy are also viable contenders. Google, however, is making its services extremely attractive and accessible to nonprofits, not only through their donation of Google Apps to nonprofits a la the Salesforce.com model—underwriting the donation via a sustainable for-profit revenue stream—but by providing tight integration between their products and desktop/offline apps.

The biggest challenge for Google Apps and other on-demand productivity suites is making the case to nonprofits: What is the value proposition making the transition from their current systems and processes a worthwhile investment? Of course there are the cost saving incentives, both in terms of infrastructure and management. There are no doubt both advantages and liabilities over traditional desktop applications, but the beauty of web apps is that they augment rather than replace systems. To that end, let’s take a look at how an organization might use a suite of on-demand productivity tools, in this case, Google Apps, as part of their system.

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Community Buzz

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 2:23pm
News and buzz from people and organizations in the nonprofit tech sector. Read our posts on the NTEN blog.

Citizen-Centered Funding

> A new initiative by the Case Foundation, Make It Your Own, seeks to encourage grassroots leaders involved in local and neighborhood level projects. As reported in the New York Times, the pool of candidates who submit ideas for improving their communities will be narrowed by judges, but the 4 finalists will be voted on by the public.

Searching for Altruism

> GoodSearch has added a layer to Yahoo's search engine to help nonprofits and schools. Select the organization you choose to support on GoodSearch's home page, and they will contribute -- giving away 50% of their advertising revenue, or about a penny per search -- to charitable causes. Through the power of aggregation, donations can add up quickly.

> The Do Good Toolbar implements a similar idea, geared toward online shopping. They, too, promise to donate at least 50% of their revenue to charity, though their list of supported organizations is much smaller.

Google Everywhere

> Nonprofit technology has received two big boosts from Google in the last 30 days. First, Google officially launched its nonprofit outreach program for its Google Earth product, as we reported in our blog. Groups as diverse as Appalachian Voices and the Jane Goodall Institute are already using Google Earth to tell stories with their data.

> Then, at an event co-hosted by NTEN, Google extended its Google Apps Education Edition to nonprofits. With Google throwing its weight behind Software as a Service, nonprofits will find it easier to spend more time working toward their objectives and less time worrying about back-ups, bugs, and other bothers.

Mobile Campaigning

> Nicholas Sullivan's You Can Hear Me Now chronicles GrameenPhone's efforts to extend telephone service in Bangladesh through microloans, along with several other examples of the power of cellular networking. You can watch a brief video interview with Nicholas about the project on YouTube.

> For more information on how mobile campaigns can help your organization, be sure to read Robin Good's essay "Mobile Phones as Mass Media", as covered in our blog. You may also want to watch the NTEN webinar, Mobile Campaigns Made Easy, moderated by our very own Katrin Verclas. And don't forget to check out MobileActive.org, a resource for practitioners worldwide using mobile phones in social change work.

Pizzigati Prize Deadline

> The deadline for the $10,000 Antonio Pizzigati Prize For Software in the Public Interest is coming up on August 1st. If you are working on software for social change, you should definitely looking into it. For more information see our blog post.

Things We Like

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 2:22pm
A monthly roundup of our favorite nonprofit tech resources. Read more posts on our blog.

  1. Trying to figure out how Microsoft's Gianpaolo Carraro came up with the probabilities in his 2007 SaaS predictions. Does he have a special piece of unreleased prognostication software?
  2. Do Something's Karma Tycoon. Do hosted games qualify as SaaS? Play KT with some friends and you won't care: it's like a great boardgame, without the need to keep track of the pieces or the score. Be sure to check out the URL behind their Teachers' Curricula, as well.
  3. The Pearl of the Alps. Get it? Looks like a great interface with nature.
  4. The iPhone. There's no shame in it: the iPhone practically qualifies as a hardware mashup. NTEN gave away an iPhone at NTC 2007, and winner Ron Piccinini of Larkin Street Youth Services says, "It's the gadget that I dreamed of two years ago: integration of MP3 player, smart phone, and internet browser. Thanks to Apple and especially NTEN for the hook up!"
  5. Almost as fun as the iPhone itself are the homages disguised as parodies, from Comedy Central (expected) to the New York Times (good for them) to Fake Steve Jobs (huh?).

How To: Put Technology to Use

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 2:20pm
Your guide to resources that will help you put technology to work for your cause.

More on Selecting SaaS Solutions

> InfoWorld published a field guide to back office, messaging and CRM solutions available from SaaS vendors. IW also featured a brief piece asking companies currently using SaaS applications to weight in on their appeal.

> A more focused article on TechSoup compares tools you can use to manage simple web sites, while the Nonprofit Matrix offers detailed listings on a host of possibilities and 5ThirtyOne compares Project Management software.

Advocate Online

> For an overview of the new tools available to online activists, read Alan Rosenblatt's new article on Idealware, "Affordable New Tools and Strategies for Online Activism". Alan covers a lot of ground in few words.

Learn from Beth Kanter

> Beth has provided some great resources to the nonprofit tech community, recently. Her screencast on using the integration of Google Adwords with Salesforce, as reported in our blog, inspired Salesforce to put up a page on their site devoted to helping Google Grantees apply for a salesforce.com Foundation grant.

> Earlier, Beth put together a primer on Google Analytics screencast for NTEN, a terrific companion piece to our webinar featuring Google's very own Analytics Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik. Or, if you have a soft spot for old media, take a look at Avinash's book, Web Analytics: An Hour a Day. It's already earned a place on my desk.

Software as a Service, Plus: A Model that Fits the Nonprofit Community

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 2:05pm
Convio, Inc.

The delivery of software applications as a service (SaaS) is fast becoming the preferred model for nonprofits to manage fundraising, advocacy, communications, marketing, and constituent relationship management. The vision of SaaS is to help nonprofits do things they could not do before, create efficiencies and reduce costs, and drive better results. But why should a nonprofit choose to travel the SaaS route?

When using a SaaS provider, nonprofits experience change in four areas:

  1. A shift in the ownership of the software from the client to the SaaS provider;
  2. Transfer of the IT responsibility and accountability for both hardware and professional services from the nonprofit to the provider;
  3. Reduced costs through specialization, rapid deployment, economies of scale and access to analytics; and
  4. A true partnership with the software provider.

 

Summertime, and the IT's Easy

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 1:47pm
Jess Daniel, Google

IT infrastructure is hard work for any organization. Having worked at a nonprofit prior to coming to Google, I know that the combination of long-standing legacy systems and limited resources certainly doesn't make things any easier. Now that I'm member of the Google Apps team, I spend my time working on simple but powerful communication and collaboration tools for organizations. And so it's with special satisfaction that I share this bit of news: Google has extended the Education Edition of Google Apps to registered 501(c)(3)s.

You may already be familiar with Google's standard suite of free hosted services, including private-label email, calendaring, and online-document sharing. But the Education Edition offers a number of value-added admin features at no additional cost, including email migration tools, phone support for critical issues, and extensibility APIs. (Ads are also optional, in case you're curious.) There's no need to take my word for it, though: if you attended NP.IT recently -- the Google-NTEN midsummer mixer -- you may have bumped into a few nonprofits with their own Google Apps success stories.

At the end of the day, enabling good works through Google Apps -- in any capacity -- both inspires and humbles us. We're excited to offer this worthy sector a low-investment, feature-rich IT choice. Find out more or apply for an account.

From the Affinity Groups: Recommendations for Hardware & Software Resellers

Submitted by Visitor on Fri, 07/13/2007 - 6:21pm

The Affinity Groups aren't just any ol' collection of mailing lists. Focusing on a variety of issues, they serve as a great resource on many levels. Quite frequently, there are recommendations on numerous nonprofit technology issues. One such discussion recently took place in the 501 Tech Club for the DC area about responsive hardware and software resellers that offer competitive pricing and online ordering.

Your best fundraiser? Your donors!

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 07/13/2007 - 3:56pm

Who could be better at raising money for your organization than your current supporters? Group fundraising helps you tap the knowledge, enthusiasm, and most importantly, the peer network of people already giving to your cause. So whether you call it person-to-person fundraising, badge fundraising, or micro-philahnthropy, join us on Tuesday, July 17th to get behind the buzz words and learn how group fundraising can help your organization reach new donors while deepening your relationships with existing supporters.

To help you assess the value of putting supporters in charge of their own online campaigns, nonprofit consultant Peter Deitz will present his original benchmark figures for group fundraising. Published last month on TechSoup, the benchmark figures were derived from the internal statistics of five leading services (ChipIn, Firstgiving, GiveMeaning, SixDegrees, and JustGive.org). This webinar will explain how nonprofits can use the benchmark figures to integrate group fundraising into larger annual or capital campaigns, while featuring success stories of non-profits currently using group fundraising.

 

  • When: Tuesday, July 17, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
  • Presented by: Peter Dietz, Founder of foik

> Register Now!

And don't forget that NTEN members pay only $25 for our webinars. Join today!

Google Announces Apps Ed Edition Now Free for Nonprofits

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 07/13/2007 - 7:36am

As you may know, NTEN hosted a midsummer mixer with Google at their campus in the South Bay. By all accounts it was lively and fun! I couldn't be there for the free food, cocktails, or the sounds of DJ Hey Man, but I am lucky enough to share with you the big announcement from the event (drum roll please!):

Google is now extending Google Apps Education Edition to all registered nonprofits.

For those of you who are already using the free standard edition, this means that you will now have access to:

  • Email migration assistance
  • 24/7 support
  • Integration APIs.

You can read more about the features here.

Why is this important? First, Google provides powerful and usable tools already, often for free.

Guttenberg Would be a Mobile Blogger: Mobile Phones as Mass Media

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 07/12/2007 - 1:44pm

We here at NTEN spend a lot of time thinking about how nonprofits can use mobile phones in their work. Why? Because we believe that mobile phones are game changers, with the ability to shift -- fundamentally shift -- the way we communicate. Mobile phones are powerful tools in your media arsenal. No one has said it as eloquently as Alan Moore.

Robin Good just republished his essay, Mobile as the 7th Mass Media (part one is available here, part two is available here). In a word, this paper is delicious. It's a concise, smart, and at times funny take on the history of media. Each iteration receives a short history, with concrete lessons learned. Then, Robin tackles mobile phones as the next wave of media, applying everything he has just covered.

If your organization is thinking about starting, or is currently running, a mobile campaign of any sort, you need to read this paper. If your boss remains unconvinced, text her the URL.

Some highlights