News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Lessons Learned: Effective Practices in IT Management

Submitted by admin on Wed, 05/23/2007 - 6:57am
Peter Campbell, TechCafeteria.com

I’ve spent more than 20 years in the sometimes maddening, sometimes wonderful, world of nonprofit IT management. Along the way I’ve worked under a variety of CEOs with very diverse styles, and I’ve developed, deployd and maintained ambitious technology platforms. In order to survive, I put together three basic tenets to live by.

Tenets to live by:

1. Management is 360 degrees: managing your superiors and peers is a bigger challenge than managing your staff.

2. To say anything effectively in an organization, you have to say it at least three times in three different media.

3. Follow Fidonet’s basic social guideline, “Do not be excessively annoying and do not become excessively annoyed.”

When Campaign 2.0 Met Citizen 2.0: A Confusing Love Story

Submitted by admin on Wed, 05/23/2007 - 6:53am
Alan Rosenblatt, Internet Advocacy Center

True leadership can sometimes feel like a balancing act that requires the all the skill of a tightrope walker. One of the many lines to walk is weighing the need to act boldly and take advantage of new opportunities with the imperative to be a responsible steward of your organization’s resources. This can be especially hard when making decisions about resource-intensive technology projects.

Many nonprofit leaders are currently trying to find the right balance when it comes to social networking. If you jump into social networking without a clear sense of the benefits (and who has a clear sense at this point?) are you boldly leading your organization into the future? Or needlessly wasting staff time and money that could be put to better uses? If, after dipping a toe into online networking, you pull those resources back, are you wisely cutting your losses? Or throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

With the flare up over the Barack Obama MySpace community takeover by the campaign from a volunteer, many non-profits that are just getting or about to get their feet wet in the online social network pool might be having second thoughts.

The NTEN Library: Book Resources on IT Leadership

Submitted by admin on Wed, 05/23/2007 - 6:45am

Here’s a roundup of some useful books on managing and leading your organization’s technology.

Managing Nonprofits.org: Dynamic Management for the Digital Age

Ben Hecht and Rey Ramsey

The digital age has dramatically changed the way we all do business—from the tasks we do everyday, to the pace at which we must adapt and embrace change. Managing Nonprofits.org focuses on adapting leadership styles and management decisions to this new reality. Each chapter highlights a case study to offer context and real world examples. (NTEN members get discounts on Jossey Bass/Wiley Books)

Nonprofits and Technology: Emerging Research for Useable Knowledge

Michael Cortes and Kevin Rafter, editors

Michael Cortes and Kevin Rafter have collected research papers on topics ranging from technology infrastructure to the use of online advocacy in order to explore how technology helps, and hinders, nonprofit effectiveness. This work is a welcome addition to the relatively new field nonprofit technology, as hard data is hard to find.

Nonprofit Management vs. For-profit Management

Submitted by Ali on Wed, 05/23/2007 - 6:31am
Ali Levine, NTEN Special Projects Fellow

I have spent almost every Thursday night for the past two years in classes, learning, thinking and talking about nonprofit management. I’ve also worked for more than ten years working at various nonprofit organizations. I’ve seen, and studied different types of management, and frequently hit up against the ever-popular question of ‘should nonprofits be run like businesses?’ In fact, it was a raging discussion just recently on a nonprofit tech list. I’ve always felt that this question misses the point. But it does offer an interesting look at the intersection between day-to-day management and the larger trends at work in the nonprofit sector.

In my Thursday night pursuits of my Master’s in Nonprofit Administration, I studied those trends– the rapid growth and professionalization of nonprofits, the ‘culture of scarcity’ that permeates the sector and the growing pressures of accountability, to name a few. I also studied the various management functions of a nonprofit – finance, fundraising, and technology. What is abundantly clear, to the point of being a bit boring at times, was that regardless of the function, every project has a set of strategic steps that are strikingly similar.

This I Change Series, Installment 2

Submitted by admin on Wed, 05/23/2007 - 6:24am

In the This I Change series recorded at the NTC, we asked nonprofit techies to tell us what inspires them to do the work they do. Here’s a few of their responses:

Camille Hinojosa, America’s Second Harvest

“It is the faces of the hungry children and the elderly people that we feed on a daily basis that keeps me motivated and inspired.”

 



Dale McGrew, Golightly

“What inspires me about technology, is that you can really bring to bear energy from around the world. What inspires me is just seeing results.”

 



Danny Moldovan, Change.org

“Social technology is beginning to be able to harness people’s ideas, energy and passion. I get up in the morning to see if I can help make that happen.”

You can find out what inspires other nonprofit technies by watching video interviews and listening to podcasts in the This I Change series.

How To: Start Putting Technology To Use

Submitted by admin on Wed, 05/23/2007 - 6:09am

Your guide to resources that will help you put technology to work for your cause.

Engage Your Community

> Rob Cottingham at Social Signal tells you how to make friends and influence people online.

> Learn how to engage all those new friends with handy grid and summary of cheap (or free) web-based organizing and collaboration tools by Arthur Prokosch and Deborah Elizabeth Finn. Both can be found at Finn’s blog.

> Looking for fairly cheap and easy to-set-up tools to motivate your new friends to donate? Check out Paul Lamb’s Top 11 Online Ways to Raise Money.

Staff Your IT Department

> Find out what other organizations are paying their IT staff, when they are outsourcing IT functions, and how staff time is allocated to technology. NTEN’s report on Nonprofit IT Staffing:Spending, Salaries, and an Infrastructure for Success Results covers all this and more.

Things We Like

Submitted by admin on Wed, 05/23/2007 - 6:06am

A monthly roundup of our favorite nonprofit tech resources from our blog.

1. Gavin Clabaugh’s One Hundred Years of Internet. The past and future of the internet, Chinese food, lava lamps and Gabriel García Márquez. What more could you want?

2. Our new event feed– find or submit any NPTech event or add your own to the schedule and add it to your RSS feed.

3. Social Innovation Conversations’ interview with Bridgespan’s Tom Tierney about the nonprofit leadership gap.

4. Wakoopa let’s you track and share what you use on your desktop, and helps you find the best applications and games to suit your tastes. The Social Source Commons gone commercial.

Know of a great resource you'd like to share? Post it in the comments.

Community Buzz

Submitted by admin on Wed, 05/23/2007 - 5:56am

News and buzz from people and organizations in the nonprofit tech sector.

Getting the Lay of the Land – Research on Critical Matters

And speaking of funding…

Get Rewarded For Your Good Work

> The Florence and Frances Family Fund at Tides Foundation has announced the second Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest. If you have developed software that is available at no-cost to nonprofits and advocacy groups, has demonstrated its value to at least one nonprofit organization, and can serve multiple nonprofits apply here for the $10,000 prize. Applications are open until August 1st.

> Cisco’s 2007 Growing with Technology Award is open through June 22nd. The nonprofit category is for organizations that have fewer than 999 employees with a grand prize of $25,000. The first runner up gets $15,000. Cisco’s award “recognizes the creative ways that non-profit organizations are using the Internet and networking technologies to provide a broader geographical reach of services, expand or maintain services, or serve the organization’s employees or clients better.”

The New and Improved NTEN Member Directory

Submitted by Annaliese on Tue, 05/22/2007 - 3:06pm

The much anticipated NTEN Member Directory is back online!

As you know, NTEN is about helping this community of nonprofit and technology professionals CONNECT, and the searchable directory of NTEN Members is another way to do that.

Here are the specs:

  • Search by name, organization, city, or state - or add the advanced search options
  • Anyone can search the database (log-in required)
  • Only NTEN Members can access the full contact information

You can access the directory from our side navigation or from our Member Services page.

Curious? Try it out here.

Make the Case for Technology Investment in Fundraising

Submitted by Ali on Tue, 05/22/2007 - 12:05pm
Whether it is a better database, or online engagement with donors, there are many ways technology can help fundraising. This week's enewsetter from Fundraising Success is all about getting buy-in from organizational leaders. One of the features is on how to convince your leadership to invest in technology, and is based on the NTC session "The ROI Question: Demonstrating the Value of Technology to Your Organization” (see the session materials here).