News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Meet Two Nonprofit Tech Providers

Submitted by Ali on Fri, 03/23/2007 - 11:52am

If you work in a nonprofit, you know that there isn’t enough time in the day (or fiscal year) to do everything you need to do yourself. To get it all done, you better know the outside companies that can best help you do what you can’t do yourself.

We asked two people whose organizations provide technology services to nonprofits a couple questions about themselves so you can get to know them and what drives their work. You can find out more about their organizations and meet people from other tech companies Wednesday, April 4, at the Science Fair, part of the Nonprofit Technology Conference.

April Pedersen, Executive Director of Democracy in Action

What motivates you to work with nonprofits and specifically to help them with their online advocacy?

“It's all about being effective and making real-world change. Whether it's using online tools to organize hundreds of vigils on the anniversary of the Iraq war or helping groups raise funds to build awareness about the atrocities in Darfur, I'm able to see firsthand the difference we make in the effectiveness of organizations we serve nearly every day.

Join the NTC Affinity Group and Start Networking Now

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 03/22/2007 - 9:51am

Personally, I think the best part of any NTC is the people that you meet. So, we want to help you get a jump start on that! If you're coming to the NTC and want to connect with other registrants before you get there, join the NTEN NTC 07 list.


Vote For The Best Nonprofit Video

Submitted by Bonnie on Tue, 03/20/2007 - 3:11pm
We’ve selected the finalist videos in the NTC Video Contest, and now it’s time for you to pick the winner!

Go to DoGooderTV to watch the finalist videos. Once you’ve decided on your favorite, vote online or text in your vote.

We received so many creative, well done, and powerful videos – thank you to everyone who submitted one. It was great to see the amazing work nonprofits are doing with video to spread their messages and mobilize people to act for social change.

For more videos, check out some of our favorites that didn’t make the top six. And stop by Movie Night at the NTC to see them all on the big screen.

Online Communities Redux: Why They Matter to You

Submitted by Bonnie on Tue, 03/20/2007 - 12:32pm
Katrin Verclas, MobileActive.org

Social networks are mushrooming and nonprofits are flocking to them. MySpace is the 3rd most popular website in the United States and Facebook is the 7th, according to Alexa as 3/19/07. Care2, a social network of activists, boasts six million users. Senator Barack Obama unveiled My.BarackObama.com, a social network created for his presidential campaign, and there is even a Club Penguin, a brand-new social network "in braces," catering to the 8 to 12-year-old crowd. Even the CIA has launched a (albeit closed) social network similar to Wikipedia - Intellipedia - to allow analysts to collaborate across agencies and build a collective body of intelligence information. Social networks are clearly hot.

At first is was old-fashioned blogs that created communities of their own. Lateral connections among blogs via cross-linking and RSS syndication feeds create loose sets of like-minded social communities. And these communities have influence. Blogs are playing a similar role to satellite and cable TV shows in the late 70s and early 80s, when these shows gave the religious right - a then-marginal group - the power to form a public identity, attract others, and later develop its own cultural agenda and political institutions.

Nonprofits naturally go to where people hang out in the hope to recruit supporters, donors, and activists. There are more than 20,000 nonprofit and philanthropic groups on MySpace alone. With more than half of MySpace visitors 35 or older, they are on to something. O’Reilly's architecture of participation is in full swing with corporations and nonprofit alike using social networking to stay competitive, secure 'mind share', and harness collective intelligence.

Community Buzz

Submitted by Bonnie on Tue, 03/20/2007 - 12:19pm

News and buzz from people and organizations in the nonprofit tech sector. Read our posts on our blog.

VOTE FOR THE BEST NONPROFIT VIDEO
We've selected the finalist videos in the NTC Video Contest, and now it's time or you to pick the winner! Go to DoGooderTV to watch the finalist videos and vote for your favorite online or via text message.

DIGG YOUR FAVORITE NPTECH ARTICLES
Digg your favorite nonprofit tech articles and watch them move to the homepage of the nonprofit dig site, Kikono.

NEW RESOURCE FOR FUNDRAISING INFORMATION
The Integrator is a new blog on fundraising with posts written by and for those in the nonprofit community.

GET HONOR AND PRESTIGE
Nominate a technology project you admire to receive a Tech Museum Award. The submission deadline is March 26.

SALSA THE DAY AWAY
NTEN Member Democracy in Action has released its new user interface - Salsa.

 

Know of something happening in the nonprofit technology community that's not on this list? Tell us about it in comments.

Things We Like

Submitted by Bonnie on Tue, 03/20/2007 - 12:16pm

A monthly roundup of our favorite nonprofit tech resources.

1. NPR reports that politicians are looking at social networking sites as just one more stop on the campaign trail. And Jon Stewart has his own commentary on this.

2. Microsoft’s "i’m" program. Get the latest version of Messenger and every time you start an instant message conversation with “i’m”, you’ll make a donation to a charity like the Sierra Club, Unicef, NineMillion.org, and others.

3. The Science and Development Network's article on how Web 2.0 applications are more accessible and easier to use by people living in developing countries than their predecessors. 

4. Amnesty International’s campaign against censorship – fight back by posting censored information on your blog or website.

5. NTEN member Paul Lamb's podcast on Nonprofits of the Future, and his new social network that focuses on uses emerging trends for social good.

Is there something you like that we didn't include? Tell us about it in the comments. 

How To Build Online Communities

Submitted by Bonnie on Tue, 03/20/2007 - 12:11pm

Running an online community takes some work and a lot of knowledge about your community. These resources will show you what you should focus on.

> Kathy Sierra explains how to engage users in your online community no matter how new to the group they are.

> Widgets are cool, and they can stregthen your community. Beth Kanter shows you how in a screencast.

> Nancy White writes about how communities emerge around blogs and how to engage them.

> A First Monday article gives the five rules of thumb you need to follow to effectively facilitate an online community.

Know of a resource we missed? Tell us about it in the comments.

Will Change.org change...well, anything?

Submitted by Bonnie on Tue, 03/20/2007 - 11:41am

Sonny Cloward, NPower NY

[Ed. Note: Some of the information in this article may be a little dated.  For more on the changes happening at Change.org, read our blog.] 

A little over a month ago, social good networking site Change.org launched with exposure few startups, much less nonprofits (which Change.org is not), could dream of - they got Techcrunched. Lots of do-gooders like me jumped on the site and were presented with the audacious yet simple question: what do you want to change in the world? The premise is pretty straightforward - connect people with one another and organizations to push forward common causes (i.e. changes). I perused the site, thought it was a great idea, didn't dig very deeply, felt a moment of kumbaya with my fellow do-gooders and then quickly forgot about it. And based on Change.org's Alexa traffic rankings, I wasn't alone.

So is Change.org just another fly-by-night project of some well meaning people with a good concept - just badly planned and executed - awaiting a slow descent into the dead pool? The site has a nicely streamlined and accessible UI, so it's obvious someone put some thought and resources into it. Yet it has nothing in the way of features that hook me and keep me engaged and active in issues and people that matter to me (via dashboard, email, or RSS). Or is it, as Matthew from theCoup.org said in the comments on the Techcrunch posting, "yet another website for me to log into? Another place to blog and check messages?" While there's a value-based incentive, we are becoming fatigued by social networking sites and more scrutinizing about how they are relevant in our lives and how we engage in them. In a landscape where there are really only two social networking players (MySpace and Facebook), where thousands of nonprofits already have pages where they connect with supporters - not to mention at least a dozen other comparatively minor social good networking sites - why Change.org?

Care2

Submitted by Bonnie on Tue, 03/20/2007 - 11:34am
Allison Fine, A. Fine Blog

What would happen if you mashed up Friendster, Change.org, Digg.com, and the Green Directory? You would get Care2, a vast one-stop shop for informing and engaging people in social change efforts. Started way back in 1998, the site boasts over six million members today. Fundamentally the mission of Care2 is to involve people in learning more about and donating to social causes, with a particular emphasis on “green lifestyle” and animal causes.

The site is an amalgam of almost every possible way that people use the web. It has news, social networking, shopping, petitions, donations to causes, and even e-cars. Care2 experienced a surge in activity and membership last year as green consumerism took off.  And no wonder - the site is easy to navigate, membership is free, there is a vast array of personal networks, services, news, and jobs to be had as well as access to green products and causes.

2People.org – Climatize Your Network

Submitted by Bonnie on Tue, 03/20/2007 - 11:29am
Nathan Rosquist, The Interra Project
Reprinted from WorldChanging with permission

2people.org, a social networking site in the works by West Seattle transplant Phil Mitchell, is what he calls the “MySpace of climate action.” What sets it apart, however, from other social-networking sites (Be Green, Idealist.org, and Change.org) is its focus on action and commitment.

“We’re an online citizen network committed to closing the gap between what’s scientifically necessary and what’s politically possible. If you’re looking for ways to get involved and people and projects to connect with, you can find them here.”