News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Two Free Fundraising Webinars

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 10/29/2007 - 10:26am
Tis the season, NTENers: the fundraising season. Join NTEN for two free Product Spotlight Webinars exploring popular fundraising software.

First up, on Tuesday, October 30th, is "Donor Management using Sage Fundraising 50". This demonstration is on the importance of donor management in supporting a development plan, and how Sage Fundraising 50 software fits in. Learn the features and functionality of this popular package, formerly known as Paradigm.

When: Tuesday, October 30th, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

Cost: Free!

> Learn More and Register Today

Come back on Thursday, November 1st, for "Maximize Your Fundraising Efforts with the Exceed! Product Suite", a webinar on how to make the most of your fundraising efforts with Exceed! Premier, by Telosa Software. We’ll discuss ways to make the best use of your donor database to facilitate the major gift process. See first-hand how our comprehensive, affordable, and easy-to-use solution can help your development staff organize your donor data, maximize your fundraising efforts and cultivate your relationships with your donors, prospects and other constituents.

When: Thursday, November 1st, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

Cost: Free!

> Learn More and Register Today!

November is NTEN Member Appreciation Month!

Submitted by Annaliese on Mon, 10/29/2007 - 7:11am

Don't get us wrong, we appreciate our members every day of the year -- but we don't always get to show it. That's why we're setting aside an entire month to shower NTEN members with our appreciation. And what better month than November? What we're most thankful for is our members!

Just what does "appreciation" mean, you ask? It means:

Net Neutrality Back in Congress?

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 10/26/2007 - 2:02pm

Looks like the recent exploits of Comcast and Verizon have garnered the attention of Capitol Hill. Calls for Congressional hearings have been made. According to the AP:

Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said the incidents involving several companies, including Comcast Corp., Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc., have raised serious concerns over the companies' "power to discriminate against content."
They want the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to investigate whether such incidents were based on legitimate business policies or unfair and anticompetitive practices and if more federal regulation is needed.

Who Are You, Really?

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 10/26/2007 - 10:00am

I came across an interesting report from the IBM Global Innovation Outlook project today.

If you've been exploring new media a lot, it's full of things you probably already know, but somehow, they articulate it better. If you're just getting into all this new media/web2.0 hoopla, it's a very well written primer about the possibilities and limitations and just what kind of organization you need to be to make it all work well.

There are several little gems in the report that I would like to explore more, but the thing that stuck with me most after an initial read was the importance of authenticity. It stayed with me, because it's one of my core values, and NTEN's as well:

  • We strive to be authentic and honest in all of our communications so our community knows that we say what we mean forthrightly, and mean what we say.


  • We are accountable to you and to your needs and strive to engage, listen, and be responsive to you, our members, in all that we do.

These are the two parts to getting the authenticity thing right:

2007 IT Staffing Survey: Take it Now!

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 10/25/2007 - 7:56am
Flickr Photo: jisc_infonetFlickr Photo: jisc_infonetIn your leadership role, have you ever had to:
  • Convince your board or leadership to invest in staff or training?
  • Try to figure out how much to pay technology staff?
  • Determine if your technology spending compares to other organizations like yours?

NTEN and The Nonprofit Times are making it easy for you to fill the gap between expensive benchmarking services costing thousands of dollars, and going it alone. We’re surveying thousands of staff at nonprofits big and small to find out what it takes to make technology work for them and what qualified staff they need. In turn, we want to give you the hard numbers you need to invest in technology.

> Take the Online Survey

How To Find Data-Exchanage-Friendly Software

Submitted by Brett on Wed, 10/24/2007 - 10:18am

Peter Campbell, Techcafeteria, and Laura Quinn, Idealware

Repeat this mantra: I will not pay a vendor to lock me out of my own data. Sadly, this is what a lot of data management systems do, either by maintaining poor reporting and exporting interfaces or by including license clauses that void the contract if you interact with your data in unapproved ways.

The software you choose has an enormous impact on whether you can effectively get data in or pull it out to integrate with other packages. If you only look at the front end features, you're only conducting half an evaluation. It's also critical to determine how you can -- or if you can -- access the data.

To avoid lock-in and ensure the greatest amount of flexibility when looking to buy any new application -- particularly the ones that store your data off-site and give you web-based access to it -- ask the following questions:

How Do YOU Evaluate Data Exchange?

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 3:23pm

I'm pleased to say that we have a new problem in the sector: evaluating software has gotten a little bit harder lately! With more vendors offering more ways to exchange and access your data, you have more things to consider when you're looking at software.

And how DO you evaluate data exchange anyway?

NTEN and Idealware hope to help you answer that question. With support from Beaconfire, and expertise from folks Database Design Associates and Forum One, we're set to develop standards that anyone can use to evaluate the data exchange capabilities of any piece of software.

Learn more about what we're up to and share your two cents over at the Idealware blog.

An Open Letter to the NTEN Community

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 2:35pm

Gene Austin, Chief Executive Officer, Convio and Tom Krackeler, VP, Product Management, Convio

It is incumbent on all software vendors serving the nonprofit sector to open opportunities for nonprofits to have greater choice and flexibility in pursuing their missions.

To meet the expectations of nonprofits today -- and five years from now -- software vendors need to facilitate interoperability between systems and enable integration between offline and online data and the new Web. And they should do so with one clear purpose in mind: to open the possibilities for nonprofits to find and engage constituents to support their missions.

The NTEN community has been leading the charge for openness. With Salesforce and Facebook, Convio has embraced openness as a way of doing business.


Software vendors should:


  1. provide nonprofit organizations of all sizes and in any stage of Internet adoption the flexibility to integrate with other web or database applications to exchange constituent and campaign data.
  2. make their Open APIs available to clients, partners, and a broad developer community.
  3. expose Open APIs as part of their core product functionality.
  4. proactively use APIs provided by other companies in additional to providing their own.
  5. make their API documentation publicly available and provide a forum for sharing and discussing best practices and exchanging code examples.
  6. publish a roadmap for their API development and encourage participation in the development of that roadmap.
  7. make their APIs accessible to nonprofits at a level that does not require extensive technical expertise to leverage those APIs.

Nonprofits Can Be LinkedIn

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 2:27pm
Monique Cuvelier, Talance, Inc.

Only 10 years ago, social networks were built quite differently. We might pump a few hands at conferences, place a few phone calls or meet people for lunch. A labor-intensive way of expanding the little black book, to be sure, but that's the way everybody did it. Networks lived in brainspace and on slips of paper.

But a decade is a long time. Person-to-person meetings are still a great way to make connections, but networks have increasingly less to do with seeing people and more to do with outlets such as LinkedIn.

How To: Put Technology To Use

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 2:24pm
Your guide to resources that will help you put technology to work for your cause.

Understand Open APIs

> So, Kintera and Convio have released APIs (see Community Buzz, below). Great! What's that mean? "Advanced Purling Instruction"? "Automated Princess Interrogator"? Something else entirely?

> If you missed it, NTEN hosted an introductory session on Application Programming Interfaces at the 2007 NTC; the session slides are still available. We also published a report on Open APIs following our highly successful debate last year.

> You should also check out Care2's "Primer on APIs and Databases" and John Maeda's extended metaphor on the subject.

> Once you've got the basics, read "Can We Talk? Innovative Responses to the Data Integration Challenge", an exhaustively researched report on more than just APIs, by Dahna Goldstein and Jennifer Bagnell Stuart.

> By the time you've finished, you may want to sign the Integration Proclamation.

Choose Open Source Software

> Michelle Murrain and the Nonprofit Open Source Initiative (NOSI) have just published an update to their excellent "Choosing and Using Free and Open Source Software: A primer for nonprofits". If your organization is considering a move to Open Source software (or if you want to push it in that direction), you should give this well-written guide a read.

> While it targets forprofits, Si Chen's presentation on "Why Enterprises Are Adopting Open Source Applications" is full of information, including case studies; Frank Scavo summarizes some of it on his blog.

> If you're feeling especially ambitious, check out open source guru Eric Raymond's paper on the economics behind FOSS, "The Magic Cauldron".