News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Nonprofits Get a Second Life

Submitted by Brett on Wed, 08/01/2007 - 4:44pm

Anshe Chung, the world's first virtual millionaire, has donated virtual space in Second Life – space which can cost hundreds or thousands of real dollars per month – to set up the Nonprofit Commons. According to the New York Times, more than 30 nonprofits have already opened offices in this "virtual business incubator".

According to their wiki, the Nonprofit Commons "was designed as a pilot project to lower the barriers of access to Second Life, and to create a community of practice for nonprofits to explore and learn about the virtual world." The "sim" – which looks like a cross between an idealized European college campus and a French sidewalk cafe – will be formally launched on Tuesday, August 14, at 5:30 PT with a mixed-reality event. The live event will be part of NetSquared's Net Tuesday, while simultaneous events will take place in Second Life. You can learn more from their press release.

The Incredible Expanding Discount List for NTEN Members

Submitted by Annaliese on Wed, 08/01/2007 - 4:37pm

Summer time usually means sluggishness, but not for our list of discount partners for our members. If you haven't checked out our discounts lately, you might be pleasantly surprised by some new offerings.

We are happy to announce these new discounts for NTEN members:

  • 35% off Nonprofits and Technology: Emerging Research for Usable Knowledge from Lyceum Books
  • 10% off GiftWorks from Mission Research
  • 20% off an annual subscription for Boardtrax

You can find out more about these and the rest of our member discounts on our discounts page.

And if you aren't already a member of NTEN, what are you waiting for? Could it be the Summer Membership Offer? Check it out for savings on NTEN membership, then go stock up on more savings from our discount partners!

Can You Hear Them Now?

Submitted by Brett on Wed, 08/01/2007 - 2:52pm
The Verizon Foundation, the charitable arm of the telecom giant, has just announced a grant program for nonprofits and educational institutions working in South Carolina interested in supporting the use of technology in literacy and health care. A total of $50,000 – in blocks of $1,500 to $10,000 – will be awarded to eligible organizations submitting the best proposals.

According to the press release, proposals for literacy programs should focus on “the areas of family, adult, early childhood or K-12 literacy, including programs that develop English as a second language or basic computer literacy skills”, while health-related programs should address the “use of telecommunications technology to improve the quality of medical care for consumers or health care professionals, or both.”

Organizations do not necessarily need to be based in South Carolina, but all work done under this grant must benefit under-served communities in that state. Applications must be submitted by September 15, 2007. For more information, visit the Verizon Foundation’s web site.

Google & salesforce.com Get Reciprocal

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/31/2007 - 2:15pm

Google and salesforce.com recently reminded us of their new relationship, plugging the extension of their respective grant programs to nonprofits. Current recipients of donated salesforce.com licenses are eligible to apply for the Google Grants program, and through it, gain free AdWords. And Google Grantees are eligible to apply for the salesforce.com Foundation's product donation program. Ah, reciprocal relationships make me smile.

Being signed up isn't enough, though: you still have to learn how to use these programs effectively. To that end, check out our webinar on "Salesforce for Nonprofits", and then watch the fabulous Beth Kanter's screencast on integrating salesforce with AdWords (as previously covered in our blog).

21 Days of Twitter Day 4: Is Barak Obama on Twitter? Should we Care?

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 07/30/2007 - 3:40pm

It's day 4 of my 21 days with Twitter. Today, I started using it via the Facebook app, since I hang out there so much, rather than Twitteriffic. It's not as cool looking, but works great. It's also helping to cement my relationship with Facebook, so that's good, too.

I didn't report on days 2 or 3 with Twitter simply because there really wasn't anything to report. I got more random "checking my email" kinds of updates, but nothing worth writing home about (though I suppose we should update that phrase to "nothing worth blogging about"). Today, however, John Edwards Twittered. I mean, he Tweeted. Or did he Twoot? Whatever you call it, what he did was pretty cool. His message:

johnedwards Tell Gonzales, the man who brought us Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo & illegal spying: It's time to go! Sign the petition: http://tinyurl.com/2u945k

Electronic Advocacy Practices

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 07/30/2007 - 3:17pm

John McNutt, a researcher at the University of South Carolina, has published an article on e-advocacy, "Promising Practices in Electronic Advocacy". In it, he identifies four basic processes organizations use to support their efforts:

  • Gathering and Analyzing Information
  • Educating and Developing Awareness
  • Organizing and Coordinating Supporters
  • Applying Pressure

After noting that research shows electronic advocacy does indeed have an effect, McNutt makes 6 suggestions to nonprofits involved in the arena, including the always key – but too easy to lose sight of – idea that ultimately, e-advocacy is about human relationships, not technology, which is just a set of tools that can help you shape the future.

You can read the full article at Third Sector New England.

IRS Form 990: Have Your Say

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 07/30/2007 - 8:40am

Thanks to an alert from The Nonprofit Times, I got word about a new wiki put together by the National Center for Charitable Statistics and Guidestar for the sector to provide input into what the new Form 990 should look like. The IRS unveiled a revised Form 990 draft in June and is accepting public comment until September 14. Questions and comments about the draft form can be emailed to Form990Revision@irs.gov or mailed to the IRS:

Form 990 Redesign, SE:T:EO
1111 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, D.C.; 20224.

The new form is expected to be ready next year, in time for the 2009 filing season.

To Protect and Celebrate (the Internet)

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 07/27/2007 - 2:22pm

OneWebDay bills itself as Earth Day for the Internet because it promotes protection of the Internet’s collaborative, participatory nature, as well as celebration. On September 22, nonprofits can help make the web “just a little better than it was before” simply by taking part: it’s up to you to decide how.

For last year’s inaugural event, physical gatherings took place in several countries, while some of the more innovative projects took place online, including one by a blogger in the Phillipines who collected personal stories on how the internet has changed lives. This year’s event is still in the planning stages – you can keep track of the news on their web site or suggest ideas through their Project Proposal Wiki– but there will be a heavy emphasis on short videos.

Is Your Email Managing You?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 07/26/2007 - 8:14am
I think the answer is yes. As next week's webinar presenter Heather Holdridge told me, you have to fish where the fish gather. And the fish, my friends, are at the social networking sites.

MySpace is the world's 6th most popular website, with over 100 million accounts. Facebook is the second most visited site on the web, with over 30 million users. If you want to fish where the fish are at, social networking sites seem like a smart place to start! In this webinar, you'll get a strategic overview of what these sites are and the opportunities they present nonprofits. We'll follow with specific case studies that show how nonprofits are using social networking sites to build their email lists, whether they're e-newsletter, action alert, or donor lists. After these real examples (with statistics), you'll leave with a clear understanding of how social networks can complement your outreach strategies.

When: Monday, July 30, 11am Pacific

Presented by: Justin Perkins and Heather Holdridge of Care2

> Register now!

21 Days of Twitter Day 1: John Edwards Hearts Me!

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 07/24/2007 - 4:57pm

The magnificent Beth Kanter told me (well, she told a room full of us at one of her presentations) that it takes 21 days to create a habit (you know, outside of the wrong kinds of habits). Since my New Year's Resolution in 2007 was to be less snarky, I've embarked upon a grand experiment: I'm going to try all those crazy Web 2.0 tools I currently mock. I'll use each for 21 (work) days and see if I learn anything useful. Along the way, I'll document anything cool, useful, or fun that happens.

I'm starting with Twitter. Twitter is the lazy man's blog. It's an application that lets you quickly and easily publish what you're up to -- the blog you're reading, the report you're writing, the cat you're feeding. You invite your friends to "follow" your actions, and you can choose to follow theirs. The result? A constantly updated stream of what everyone in your network is up to. And folks, that's a lot of chatter.