News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Mo' Better Mobile Campaigns?

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 1:31pm

Somehow -- and I really couldn't tell you how -- I ended up on the mailing list for Electronic Retailer magazine. I was about to toss it into the recycling bin when I noticed a story on mobile marketing. Now, the magazine is produced by the Electronic Retailing Association, so most every story in the magazine is a sunny picture of how lucrative and awesome various electronic marketing options are. But there are some interesting stats to behold.

According to one article, a recent Forrester Research piece says that:

  • 90% of US mobile phones are text enabled, but only 35% are using the functionality
  • Only 11% of US mobile users surf the Internet on their phones

According to Forrester's marketing blog, exactly WHO the 35% of text messaging users are is no surprise: 80% of 18-24 year olds use some form of messaging on the phone.

Community Tweets in the SoCal Fires

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 8:33am

Flickr Photo From: thedpqThe fires in Southern California are a tremendous tragedy. I've heard estimates that up to 500,000 people have been asked to evacuate their homes.

As this is one of the most tech-saturated areas of the country, though, it's interesting to see how many individuals and organizations are turning to the web to organize, share, and emote.

I asked the NTEN community to tell me what they were watching yesterday. Here are a few of the things you told me:

Net Neutrality in the News Again

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 7:41am

The issue of Net Neutrality has come to the fore again. A couple of weeks ago, we told you about advocacy text messages temporarily blocked by a carrier. Last week, independent tests confirmed that Comcast is blocking access to some data.

From the article:

Comcast's technology kicks in, though not consistently, when one BitTorrent user attempts to share a complete file with another user.
Each PC gets a message invisible to the user that looks like it comes from the other computer, telling it to stop communicating. But neither message originated from the other computer — it comes from Comcast. If it were a telephone conversation, it would be like the operator breaking into the conversation, telling each talker in the voice of the other: "Sorry, I have to hang up. Good bye."

Voter Engagement Toolkit

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 10/19/2007 - 12:44pm

The Progressive Technology Project has just released the Voter TechKit, a web site "...for community organizers, technology support people and funders who are interested in learning more about how to increase and sustain civic participation."

PTP designed the TechKit to offer as much or as little information as you want, dependent on your interest and job role. They give a nod to the difficulty of reading page upon page of text on the web, suggesting that users start by reading the Introductory pages and the Overview pages of each section. The horizontal navigation structure then allows you to focus on your particular area of interest: Project Planning, Field Organizing, or Data Management.

Data Sharing: The New Black!

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 10/18/2007 - 12:57pm

APIs and data exchange are lighting up the sector this week, so much so I can hardly see straight! While most of the news has been focused on accessing your own data, here comes some really exciting news: United eWay and have started sharing volunteer opportunity listings.

From the press release I just received:

"The idea originated after Hurricane Katrina in which United Way of America wanted to have a simple way for individuals to access volunteer opportunities, regardless of the technology vendor they used for their search. After several years of leading the discussion, the concept of developing a process for volunteers to access opportunities in their community, regardless of the service the local Volunteer Center uses, is now in place."

See everyone? Being open is good. Good for you, and even better for mission! Now, where is the volunteer listing widget I can put on my blog?

How Do Nonprofits Manage Monthly Giving Programs?

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 10/18/2007 - 12:13pm

M+R Strategic Services is running a survey polling nonprofits about online monthly giving programs. If your organization solicits sustainer/recurring donations online, they'd like to hear from you. The survey is only a few pages long, and should take about 5 minutes to complete. You can help them out by taking the survey at:

All individual answers will be kept confidential. Results will be shared in M+R’s upcoming study, which will include the survey results, along with data they've gathered about online monthly giving metrics. They expect to publish the study in early November.

10 Questions: The Changing Face of Democracy?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 10/18/2007 - 9:47am

Word on the street is that the coolest thing to hit democracy since the women's vote is 10 Questions. (Sidebar: The best part of "Mary Poppins" is that suffrage-loving mother. She steals every scene she's in. Forget Julie Andrews. If you haven't seen it lately, it's definitely worth renting!)

If you remember the CNN YouTube debates, then you get the idea behind 10 Questions. Anyone and everyone can record a question. The trick here is, now the viewing public can vote for OR against your questions. The top 10 questions will be given to the candidates, who will respond with videos of their own. It's a great site with a great premise, and a very nice interface. As long as you're here, why not check out the top rated question, presented by the amazing -- and longtime NTEN member -- Ruby Sinreich:

So, what are you going to ask your community about?

Avoiding the Spam Filter

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 10/18/2007 - 8:39am

NPTimes has a nice short piece today about email delivery and spam scoring systems. I was under the impression that this software, which "reads" your email and tells you what spam filter flags you have in your message, could be immensely helpful in avoiding the spam trap. According to Bill Pease of Convio, it ain't so:

"Unless your organization's email content regularly involves commercial-sounding language, content-only spam scoring systems are of relatively limited utility."

Agree? What have your experiences been?

Help Shape the 2008 NTC Agenda!

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 10/17/2007 - 8:01am

From now through Wednesday, October 24, you can help shape the Nonprofit Technology Conference agenda by voting for sessions, volunteering to lead or speak at sessions, and by suggesting sessions we may have missed.

To help you navigate the 90+ possible sessions, we've broken them down into tracks. You can vote for any or all tracks, wherever your interests lie. Just make sure your voice is heard before October 24.

You can learn more about the agenda planning process and speaking opportunities at

Vote in the following tracks:

> Leadership

> Program Delivery

> Communications

> IT Staff & Consultants

> Fundraising

If you have any other questions about the NTC or NTEN membership, drop me an email ( or give me a call at 415 397 9000.

See you in New Orleans!

Data Integration: We Asked for It, and Now We're Getting It!

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 10/15/2007 - 11:26am

Last fall, NTEN hosted a discussion amongst some of the major vendors in about Open APIs, one of the major pieces of the data integration puzzle. One year later -- almost to the day! -- two major vendors have announced major initiatives around Open APIs. Coincidence? We think not!

Last week, Kintera announced the expansion of their Connect program, adding APIs to their library of tools.

The latest announcement is from Convio, which today launches Convio Open. The site addresses data integration in three ways: APIs, Connectors, and Extensions. It's a much deeper set of tools than what we've seen before, and the site provides integration resources for organizations with a variety of integration needs, including a FaceBook integration.

Who's next?