News from the NTEN Connect Blog

From the Affinity Groups: Recommendations for Web Design and Asset Management Tools

Submitted by Visitor on Fri, 08/03/2007 - 11:01am

Recently, folks in the Affinity Groups, our online community platform, discussed recommendations for simple web design and asset management tools -- certainly stuff that could be useful to any nonprofit technology organization. Participants in the DC area 501 Tech Club had a candid discussion about applications that can help create quick and easy websites. Solutions that were mentioned:

  • Installing the wide range of full featured content management systems (CMS) in order to automate a lot of work associated with creating and maintaing a website
  • Microsoft's Office Live, which is easy to use yet only fully supported on Internet Explorer
  • The open source Wild Apricot, Square Space, and Site Kreator toolsets, which are supported on a wide range of platforms and browsers
  • Possible free website creation tools provided by one's domain hosts
  • A recent article by Idealware that may be worth checking out for more recommendations

NPTech Well Represented in 50 Most Influential People: Gavin Clabaugh and Daniel Ben-Horin

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Fri, 08/03/2007 - 8:04am

Gavin Clabaugh, board member emeritus of NTEN and CTO at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, was named one of the 50 most influential people in the nonprofit sector by the Nonprofit Times. This honor is bestowed to those individuals “for the impact they have now and for the innovative plans they are putting in place to evolve the charitable sector.”

In addition to Gavin, Daniel Ben-Horin, President of Compumentor, was honored again this year for his innovative work with Compumentor and Techsoup.

Both are very dear colleagues and friends, and we congratulate them for the recognition of their great work in the NPTech field!

Pulling for Network Neutrality

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 08/02/2007 - 3:50pm

Hard though it may be to take a pink site seriously, if you care about the future of internet access, you owe it to yourself to read David Weinberger’s broadside against the telecommunications industry, “Delamination Now!” David worries that “the incumbent carriers” are trying to turn the Internet into cable television, with a pricing model that will allow them to charge different amounts for different types of data or favor one content provider over another.

Network neutrality, the flipside of the current carriers’ model, would treat a bit as a bit, and nothing more. Payment to wholesale providers would be made for bandwidth used, while a new breed of ISPs could compete by offering different services: anonymity from one, outrageous connection speeds from another. David’s piece is passionate, heartfelt, and sure to provoke debate.

Are You a Web 2.0 Curmudgeon?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 08/02/2007 - 8:17am
Just got into the office and found this lovely bit on Marshall K's blog. Marshall is a Web 2.0 believer. John Dvorak of PC Magazine, is clearly not. The debate on Marshall's blog is a great read, no matter which side of the fence you are on. Especially the part about the dramatic chipmunk.

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 & Get Reciprocal

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

Google and recently reminded us of their new relationship, plugging the extension of their respective grant programs to nonprofits. Current recipients of donated 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 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:

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.