News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Free Camcorders for Social Change

Submitted by Brett on Wed, 09/26/2007 - 1:41pm

The just-announced Flip Video Spotlight Program will give away 1 million Flip Video camcorders to nonprofit organizations "as a tool to highlight the need for their services, better communicate with their donors, and broadcast their accomplishments to the world."

The initiative, announced at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, will begin in December, 2007. Qualified nonprofits and NGOs will be able to sign up online; kits will be given away on a 1-to-1 matching basis.

Perhaps YouTube or MySpace would be interested in kicking in some funds to make this program even more affordable to nonprofits?

By Hook or By Crook

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 09/26/2007 - 10:46am

The Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management at the University of San Francisco released a new report this week, "Successful Technology Use in Small Grassroots Nonprofits." (PDF Download)

One quote from a nonprofit ED really struck me. When asked how the organization paid for technology, the response was:

By hook or by crook. We haven't budgeted for it. Robbing Peter to pay Paul. But it is so important. A lot of people come to our website and it could be so strong...[Laughs] We will lay someone off. There's a lot to unpack in that statement.

On the one hand, I see this quote, and a lot of the report, as a call to the foundation community to help nonprofits invest in their infrastructure. We can't do our work without the appropriate tools, but no one -- individual donors included -- wants to pay for it.

On the other hand, I can't believe that anyone wouldn't budget for technology. If you know me at all, you know that I love to hate Dr. Phil. So to borrow one of his phrases, "You have to name it to claim it!" How does an organization expect to raise funds for technology when it's not even a part of the budget?

Who Does Your Data Belong To? Why YOU, Of Course!

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 09/24/2007 - 4:32pm

An enthusiastic "Heck Yeah!" for the recent CNET Blog Post: "Should "open source" include open data?" In the post, author Matt Asay says:

I'm not speaking for the Open Source Initiative here, but to me this makes it critical to add open data provisions to the Open Source Definition. Why? Because open source that locks down one's data is not all that open, in the grand scheme of things.

Amen! But let's take it a step further. There are several big pieces to the vendor lock-in puzzle, and none of them are the exclusive domain of open source solutions.

Who Is Your WHOIS?

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 09/24/2007 - 10:44am

The Nonprofit Times has a good story today about the potential perils of Cyber-squatting, and how better domain management can help protect you. This probably applies more to the larger nonprofits out there, the kind who generate enough web site traffic to warrant the investment this kind of fraud takes. But, it could happen to anyone.

More importantly for most orgs, it raises the general issue of managing your domain wisely. Even if your organization is not likely to fall victim to cyber-squatters, not knowing where your domain is registered or who is listed as the contact is an issue for any organization.

PIR, the Public Interest Registry, launched a campaign this year to They cite key 5 steps to protecting your domain:

  1. Verify registration of your .ORG domains
  2. Verify and update .ORG administrative contact information regularly
  3. Check that email contact information is valid
  4. Consolidate .ORG domains names with one registrar
  5. Register your .ORG domain name for the maximum time

Measuring Success: Do Your Metrics Tell Your Story?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 09/20/2007 - 4:02pm

Evaluation is clearly a sticky wicket. Now that we're smack dab in the middle of the information age, it's easier than ever for nonprofits to track all kinds of data that help them measure and evaluate their performance. We know down to the minute how many people are downloading reports, signing up to volunteer, sending emails to decision makers, visiting our clinics, etc. Pervasive Internet access and ever-shrinking hardware mean that we can collect and store more data than ever before. And we can publish that data more easily than ever before, increasing our transparency as we increase our measurements.

No one will argue that this is a bad thing. But are we really measuring what matters? Do all these numbers really tell us if we are meeting our missions? Take this number. Tell me what you think this number says about NTEN:

  • 7158: September site visits to date at

I'm Geeky. Are You?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 09/20/2007 - 8:39am

I've been working in this field for a long time now and if there's one thing I've come to learn, it's that you can't keep a good girl geek down! That's why I'm so happy to see that the one and only Kaliya Hamlin is involved in organizing a great event this fall out in California: She's Geeky.

She's Geeky will bring together women in tech from across all disciplines for two days. I hope that we'll be able to celebrate both our strength in the sector, and our love of shoes, but that's just me. I do love shoes. (One of my favorite blog posts: Beth Kanter on the Blogher Shoes.)

Here are the official deets:

  • She's Geeky
  • A Women's Tech (un)conference
  • October 22-23 in Mountain View, CA.

This event is designed to bring together women from a range of technology-focused disciplines who self-identify as geeky. Our goal is to support skill exchange and learning between women working in diverse fields and to create a space for networking and to talk about issues faced by women in technology.

Product Spotlight Webinar: Building a Relationship with Donors: the eTapestry Way

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 09/19/2007 - 7:12am

Join us to get an in-depth look at the capabilities of eTapestry. The webinar shows you our unique product and its complete set of features in action. You'll learn how to take full advantage of the Internet to help raise more funds, improve communication with donors, board members, volunteers and other constituents while managing your data more efficiently.

> FREE! Register Today!

Presented by: Chip Muston, eTapestry’s Vice President of Sales. In March of 2000 Muston joined eTapestry as its first full time sales professional. Prior to eTapestry, Chip was Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Financialware, a software company serving the banking community. He also served as the Senior Sales Executive for the Midwest Region of Smith, Abbott and Company, a leading developer of integrated association management software.

About Product Spotlight Webinars: Product Spotlight Webinars have been purchased by sponsors. In these sessions, you'll have the opportunity to learn about products and services, as well as some of the latest trends in the sector. Content in these sessions has been developed solely by the sponsor. Learn more.

Report on the Use of Web 2.0 by Nonprofits

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 09/17/2007 - 2:10pm

The Overbrook Foundation has just published a report on the adoption of web 2.0 technologies by organizations involved in social change. Based on the responses from U.S.-based human rights grantees of the Overbrook Foundation, the report found that:


  • Most of the organizations use the web more as a source of information than as a tool for connecting with others.
  • Roughly half of the organizations -- in most cases, the larger ones -- maintain blogs.
  • Repondants experienced a great deal of frustration in determining which tools to use and where to turn for help.

Coming This Fall from NTEN

Submitted by Brett on Mon, 09/17/2007 - 12:45pm

NTEN's webinar series on Technology Leadership may have sold out, but we have a whole host of online events on tap for you this Fall:


  • On Thursday, September 20th, Chip Muston, Vice President of Sales at eTapestry will kick off NTEN's new Product Spotlight Webinars by offering an in-depth look at eTapestry and what it offers the Nonprofit Tech community. This is a free webinar, but you do need to register for it.
  • Rob Jordan, of Idealist Consulting, keeps things rolling on Tuesday, September 25th by delving into AppExchange, the world's first Web marketplace for on-demand applications. If you're a user, you need to check this one out.
  • The beginning of October brings "Mapping Your Nonprofit: An Intro to GIS". Join GIS expert Robert Cheetham as he explores the ways in which geographic information systems (GIS) technology is being used to enhance the missions, meet the challenges, and answer the questions faced by non-profit organizations, using actual case studies.
  • Peter Deitz's webinar on group fundraising was so successful the first time around, we're offering it again, on October 11th, with additional material on using Facebook applications to raise funds.
  • After our enormously popular webinar on Google Analytics, we went out and got Google AdWords Evangelist Frederick Vallaeys to present a two-part series on Google AdWords. Coming in mid-October, these webinars will cover everything from the basics to the advanced techniques that will make your AdWords campaigns hum.

Beth Kanter as Marketing Widget

Submitted by Brett on Fri, 09/14/2007 - 3:17pm

Beth Kanter not only attended the Cambodian Bloggers Summit at the beginning of September, she used ChipIn to raise the funds she needed, a great example of advocacy put into practice. While in Cambodia, Beth taught workshops on video blogging and web 2.0, ate a dish of fried ants, grasshoppers, and frogs' legs, and -- here comes the tie-in to the title of this post -- distributed t-shirts to bloggers and orphans. Nice work, Beth!

You can read more about her trip on her blog and in a new article she's published in Read/WriteWeb's ongoing series on nonprofits and technology, mentioned previously in these very pages.