News from the NTEN Connect Blog

David Bowie Had It Right

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 08/30/2007 - 7:37pm

It's all about the ch-ch-ch-changes.

When I started at NTEN, blogging was just a twinkle in someone's eye and practically no one had heard of Now, Technorati tracks more than 70 million blogs and, well, still practically no one has heard of Which just goes to show that so much has changed in the last five years in the field of nonprofit technology while some things have stayed much the same - a little bit like NTEN itself. I continue to be energized by watching our community grow by leaps and bounds as it tackles the important social, economic, and environmental issues with an ever-wider array of tools and resources.At the same time, we are still dealing with some of the very same issues we were talking about five years ago, when I joined NTEN:

> What do you need to know about technology to make it serve you, instead of the other way around?
> How does technology planning, budgeting, and implementation fit into the rest of the organization?
> With all the trends and hype, how can you tell what's real and going to last?

As the next Executive Director of NTEN, I very much look forward to tapping this amazing community to stay on top of the innovations and tackle the age-old questions. You are a remarkable group of individuals with diverse experiences, expertise, and points of view. I am privileged to work with you.

I want to thank Katrin for all the work she's done to re-energize and re-imagine NTEN. She's been an inspiration and has expanded our vision of what NTEN can and should be. Many thanks also to Lynn Labieniec, our Board Chair, for her leadership and support.

We want every one of you to have the tools, resources, and community you need to use technology to change the world. The NTEN team - Annaliese, Brett, Karl, Rob, and I - are committed to that vision and look forward to working with you to make it a reality.

As always, if you have any thoughts or questions, I look forward to hearing them. You can reach me at or 415 397 9000.

Leadership Changes at NTEN

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Thu, 08/30/2007 - 3:21pm

We sent today a letter to our members announcing some changes here at NTEN.

After a very wonderful time at the helm, I have decided to step down as Executive Director, effective November 1, 2007. The board has appointed Holly Ross, NTEN's Program Director, to become the next ED. You probably know Holly well already. For many years, she has been the soul and spirit of NTEN. I am thrilled she has agreed to take NTEN to the next level; you are in great hands with her.

The NTEN Board has invited me to join in November as a Board Member. I am excited and grateful to continue to be part of the field and involved in NTEN's health and well-being in that capacity.

Read more

Convio to Go Public

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 08/30/2007 - 10:51am
Convio announced on its website today that it's going public. Assuming its bid is successful, it will be interesting to see what the capitalization will mean for its products and clients. The full press release is available on the Convio site.

Where Would We Be Without the Interstate System?

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 08/29/2007 - 3:10pm
Earthlink has effectively killed their muni wifi efforts. According to
Don Berryman, EarthLink's top municipal wireless executive, is out of a job. So are 899 other EarthLink employees amid a massive company reorganization. The shake-up includes office closings in cities that EarthLink had been targeting for public broadband deployments. The upshot for municipal leaders: Our collective focus is moving from big, feel-good public access efforts to government applications that deliver ROI.

This explains why Chicago killed their initiative today.

I certainly understand that rolling out municipal wireless is big undertaking. What's interesting to me is how quickly it has gone from the next great thing to quagmire. This is not a frivolous tech bubble, this is about giving people access to a vital service. In essence, municipal wireless is an infrastructure project. Like roads. Or phone lines. Or fiber. Each time we have taken on those projects, there have been push-backs and set-backs, but we've made each infrastructure project work.

Why? Because infrastructure is the cornerstone of a healthy society.

Want to Go for a Walk This Weekend?

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 08/29/2007 - 8:30am
It's Wednesday, which means you're probably thinking about how you'll spend your weekend. If you're interested in a nature walk, Jonathon Colman of The Nature Conservancy has a treat for you. Check out their new map, which lets you find areas they've protected that you can visit. A nice little Google Maps integration!

New Social Networking Site Kicks Off with Contest for Nonprofits

Submitted by Annaliese on Tue, 08/28/2007 - 9:31am

Everyone's debating the effectiveness of social networking tools for fundraising campaigns. A new social networking site, Razoo, seems to want to cut to chase: they're going to give $10,000 to a nonprofit organization that signs up at least 100 new members by September 15th. And it's not just a numbers game, as the winning nonprofit organization will actually be selected from the community based on their social change projects. Here's more from their site:

"Any social change organization that creates a Razoo Group and recruits at least 100 members to join by September 15th will be entered into the Change Your World Contest. The Razoo community will then vote for its favorite organization to select the winner of the contest. The prize is a $10,000 donation to your organization, and a high-profile online campaign built around your issues and work."

You can find out more about the contest here.

Successful Technology Management

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 08/28/2007 - 9:22am
You can't change the world with tin cans and string.

Become a technology leader and learn how to put technology to work for your organization instead of the other way around. A new 7-part webinar series from NTEN will make your work life easier and allow you to get more done with the same resources by giving you the information and skills you need to understand technology.Taught in plain English for leaders at all levels of technology comfort, the series wil enable you to:

  • Understand and contribute to technology conversations
  • Make smart technology decisions for your organization
  • Increase your organization’s efficiency
  • Identify and evaluate creative ideas for using technology to meet your mission


They're Just Like Us: Data Integration Obsessions

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 08/27/2007 - 3:02pm

CIO MagazineCIO magazine released a new white paper and video yesterday (registration required) on the topic of data integration. Although the content is all about big, for-profit enterprises, a lot of the data and analysis applies to the nonprofit community, as well. It turns out that for-profits have too many databases full of out-dated information, and they're fixin' to do something about it. Some interesting tidbits:

  • 73% of survey respondents say that Improvement of Business Intelligence is driving their data integration plans. In other words, they want a 360-degree view of their clients.
  • 47% of respondents say that the biggest challenge is changing the culture of their organization. Getting that end-use buy-in for the new procedures and policies is tough.
  • Most agree that a successful data integration initiative will have buy-in and support from the leadership and work across departments.

Sounds awfully familiar!

A Different Kind of Fundraising Widget

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 08/27/2007 - 8:35am (the winners of the NetSquared project) have released two new projects today: a fundraising widget that lets you track presidential fundraising; and plans for an API that will let you tap into their vast array of FEC (Federal Elections Commission) data.

According to their press release, we have a lot more to look forward to:

The presidential widget is the first of several more widgets that the organization will release. By September 15, will release a widget for U.S. Congress, showing total campaign contributions for each candidate for Congress. By September30, will release its "Money and Votes" widget, revealing correlations between campaign contributions and votes for any bill in U.S. Congress.

The widget is lots of fun, but it's the API I'm really excited about. I can't wait to see what the community is able to do with that data.

From the Affinity Groups: Recommendations for Online Donation Tools

Submitted by Visitor on Fri, 08/24/2007 - 5:07pm

Many organizations are successfully employing online donation tools. This topic was recently taken up by members of the San Francisco 501 Tech Club. Groundspring received a mixed response with some citing very positive experiences and others quite the opposite. A representive from Groundspring chimed in to highlight upcoming features that may resolve some of the mentioned problems. Paypal also received favorable mentions, as well as a warning of potential complications for nonprofit organizations engaging in long-term use for fundraising. Multiple members recommended Idealware's report on the topic, as well as Affinity Resources' summary matrix and Techsoup's articles.

With over 100 active groups and nearly 5,000 users, NTEN's Affinity Groups platform is an incredible resource for those in the nonprofit tech community. Join for free in order to view more useful and interesting discussions.