News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Community Buzz

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 11/27/2007 - 2:59pm
News and buzz from people and organizations in the nonprofit tech sector. Read our posts on the NTEN blog.

Award Season

> Convio announced their first annual Innovator Awards, featuring 15 nonprofits. The ASPCA was honored for its MySpace site. America's Second Harvest won best Online Fundraising Campaign.

> PR News has published the list of finalists for its awards. Winners will be announced December 4th.

> Next up: the 2008 NTC Video Contest. We'll begin accepting submissions on December 1st, 2007, the same day registration for the biggest nonprofit technology conference of the year opens.

End World Hunger

> When last we blogged about it, FreeRice had donated more than 1,000,000,000 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program. Just three weeks later, that total up to about 4,000,000,000. We're not sure what 4 billion grains of rice looks like, but we suspect it would fill our office. Do your part -- while building your vocabulary -- today.

How To: Put Technology to Use

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 11/27/2007 - 2:14pm
Your guide to resources that will help you put technology to work for your cause.

Save Money on Hardware

> Care2 has published an excellent guide to virtualization software. Why have multiple computers when you can run multiple operating systems on a single piece of hardware?

> You might also consider repurposing older hardware. Box Populi lets you podcast from effectively ancient computers. And Debian Linux has published a series of guides on how to set up everything from a webcam server to a firewall on less than top-of-the-line systems.

> Of course, you may just need to get rid of decrepit systems. You can donate your outdated hardware, or, if you're feeling frisky, try to make it into the "Top 40 Most Creative Uses for Old Gadgets". 

Create an Online Survey

> Third Sector New England's guide offers a number of best practices for online surveys. Perhaps the best advice: "Be prepared to cut survey questions mercilessly."

> The Institute for Citizen-Centred Service has published an overview of online survey tools. Another report focused on web-only tools (PDF) has been put together by NPower New York.

> Here at NTEN, we use Have you taken the IT Staffing Survey yet? It closes on November 30th. 

Hold a Virtual Meeting

> The foreign ministers of Great Britain, the Maldives, and Malta recently held a joint virtual press conference on climate change in Second Life. In fact, SL seems to be very popular as a meeting space these days. Here's a guide on how to do it yourself.

If Second Life kind of weirds you out, read how NTEN member Don Wedd is setting up a virtual meeting space for the National Community Tax Coalition.

Things We Like

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 11/27/2007 - 2:10pm
A monthly roundup of our favorite nonprofit tech resources. Read more posts on our blog.
  1. The Goodman/Hershey Eye-Q Test. Test your design knowledge. Subjective, but fun!
  2. Yugma. According to NTEN Member Marc Baizman, "It's free web conferencing that just works. I use it with clients and team members all the time. No heavy client installers, and it's FREE."
  3. Seth Godin. Smart AND pithy, a valuable combination.
  4. Judi Sohn's description of how she works with the web.
  5. Miro: Open Source "internet TV". My computer downloaded Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth while I slept. Nice!
  6. Readytalk's free online tutorials. NTENer Amy Sample Ward says they're "a great resource for nonprofits to jump on board with great new media tools like podcasts!"
  7. Care2's "A Procrastinator's Guide to Year-End Fundraising".

How to Find and Hire a Website Consultant

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 11/27/2007 - 11:50am

Seth Schneider, Communications Director, Transportation and Land Use Coalition

NTEN member Seth Schneider of the Transportation and Land Use Coalition led a session about how to find and hire a company or consultant for your website project at the recent Bay Area Drupal Camp in Berkeley, CA. The participants generated a slew of helpful tips from their collective experience as both clients and consultants. Although the tips focus on hiring someone for website projects that use the the open-source Drupal content management system, many of them pertain to hiring a consultant for any website project.

Website Optimization Case Study: The Autism Society of America

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 11/27/2007 - 11:37am
Bethany Little, Director of Interactive Services, Convio, Inc.

The Autism Society of America is the oldest, largest membership organization dedicated to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). With 190,000 members and supporters, ASA has 182 chapters around the USA and 29 international affiliated parent organizations.

Before 2007, ASA was consistently ranked first or second on Google searches for the keyword "autism". Its fundraising initiatives were paper driven, and it had launched a toll-free help line (1-800-3Autism). Chapters were launching their own Web sites at a rapid pace, and ASA was the only national group dedicated to ASD.

In 2007, major changes took place: The Centers for Disease Control announced that there was a 1 in 150 prevalence of ASD. Major media coverage in January, February and April 2007 quadrupled Web traffic, yet there was little conversion and ASA's rankings on Google's search engine had dropped to 3rd or 4th.

ASA's Director of Communications Marguerite Kirst-Colston took notice and determined the organization’s battle plan would be "Search – Convert – and Conquer."

NTEN Member Appreciation Month Recap

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 11/27/2007 - 11:18am

As most of you know by now, November has been NTEN Member Appreciation Month. We've had special giveaways, programming, and discounts for members all month -- and this newsletter has been generated from submissions by NTEN members.

Of course, we are grateful for our members every single day of the year: we couldn't provide the programming, resources, or this newsletter without you. But we wanted to do more than a simple 'thank you'. We wanted to show you how much we appreciate your ongoing support and participation in the NTEN community.

I'd like to take this opportunity to announce five new discounts for NTEN Members:

Widget Fundraising

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 11/27/2007 - 10:29am

Nonprofits interested in person-to-person fundraising face a couple of challenges.

The first is to encourage supporters to launch their own fundraising campaigns in support of the organization's work.

The second is to offer these supporters the right combination of fundraising widgets, social networking plugins (like Facebook applications), and hosted fundraising pages in order to produce successful campaigns.

Join Peter Deitz and NTEN for "Selecting and Implementing the Right Combination of Person-to-Person Fundraising Tools" on Tuesday, November 28th. This webinar will guide development, communications, and technology staff through the process of selecting and implementing the best combination of services for their organizations' needs.

The presentation includes side-by-side comparisons of the leading vendors. Special attention will be given to costs associated processing donations, branding the tools and integrating with existing eCRM platforms.

When: Wednesday, November 28th, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

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

> Register Today

Convio Security Issues Revisited

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 11/27/2007 - 8:53am

The Convio security breach is in the news again, this time in the New York Times, just in time for the holiday giving season. NTEN members Beth Kanter and Allan Benamer are both quoted, and both raise really important issues that you need to consider.

“This wasn’t the best time for this to happen,” said Beth Kanter, a consultant and blogger. “It’s a matter of donor stewardship, and while it’s not an emergency, you need to treat it as if it was one.”

Beth's right. The holiday giving season is upon us.  Even if your organization was not affected by this breach, you need to let your stakeholders know what you're doing to protect their data, and proactively help them protect it themselves. Remind your stakeholders about good password policies. Let them know you're looking out for them.

NTEN Member Appreciation Count-Down

Submitted by Annaliese on Tue, 11/27/2007 - 6:44am

There are only a few days left in November, so the same goes for Member Appreciation Month. But it's not over yet -- and today we have another giveaway to an NTEN member:

Fred Whiting, of the Points of Light Foundation. We're sending Fred a coupon for a free NTEN webinar of his choice.

Here's another reminder of the Member Appreciation Month specials you can still take advantage of this week:

> Free set-up and first month's service for Custom DonateNow from Network for Good (contact us to learn more)

> Free consulting from MissionResearch when you take advantage of the 15% NTEN member discount on GiftWorks

> Free web conferencing and special introductory rates from ReadyTalk

> Don't forget the member-generated NTEN e-newsletter coming out this week


Last Week of Member Appreciation Month

Submitted by Annaliese on Mon, 11/26/2007 - 6:21am

It's the final week of NTEN Member Appreciation Month, and we want to kick it off in a big way. First, I'm happy to announce today's appreciated member:

Robert Goodman, of the American Friends Service Committeee. We're sending Robert some NTEN Gear because we're thankful he's a member of NTEN!

But the giveaways don't stop there. I am happy to announce a special offer for ALL NTEN Members, compliments of Network for Good:

NTEN members can get 100% off set-up fees and the first month free for Network for Good's Custom DonateNow between now and December 30th!

Custom DonateNow is an online donation processing service that enables nonprofits to accept credit card gifts on the Web. If you're an NTEN member, or would like to become a member, and want to take advantage of this special NTEN member appreciation offer, contact us!