News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Minneapolis Begins Muni WiFi Rollout

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 06/19/2007 - 8:38am

Minneapolis is rolling out its Muni WiFi on a large scale this week. Beyond the "Hooray for Free/Cheap Internet Access" reaction, it's my hope that this particular project will also be a great investment in the community. Minneapolis nonprofits and citizens groups lobbied hard for a digital inclusion strategy that would provide resources and actual funding to address the digital divide in Minneapolis. They also insisted that the contractor, local ISP US Internet, guarantee network neutrality. Mad props to C-CAN and NTEN NTC speaker Catherine Settani for their great advocacy work.

If your community is considering or implementing a municipal wireless program, you need to get involved! If you are part of an organization that directly interacts with the neediest in your community, you have the most to gain from community wireless -- but only if you get involved and fight for favorable terms. Check out NTEN's report on the nonprofit role in municipal wireless programs: No Strings Attached.

Thanks to NTEN member Rick Birmingham for the heads up.

Google Earth for Nonprofits Launch

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 06/18/2007 - 10:56am

The new Google Earth Initiative for Nonprofits will be launched next week in NYC. As I mentioned in a previous post, there have been many amazing applications of Google Earth by and for nonprofits and their causes recently. If you're looking for some inspiration about how to use Google Earth for good (or you just need an eye-opening way to spend an hour today), you should check out the Google Earth Gallery, where you can find maps of the world's oil consumption, Somalia refugee migration, or the destruction of villages in Darfur. (You'll need to download Google Earth to appreciate these examples in all their glory.)

No word yet on what the new program will entail, but Google does tend to do things in style, so I'm certainly looking forward to finding out. Here are the details of the event:

Speakers include:

  • Jane Goodall, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace
  • Kathy Bushkin Calvin, Executive Vice President, United Nations Foundation
  • Edward Wilson, President and CEO, Earthwatch Institute
  • Elliot Schrage, Vice President, Global Communications and Public Affairs, Google
  • John Hanke, Director, Google Earth and Maps

Lucky for us, Google WILL be posting a full video of the event online after it happens, so check back for a link.

From the Affinity Groups: Where to Host Those Large Files?

Submitted by Visitor on Wed, 06/13/2007 - 2:50pm
The NTEN Affinity Groups are great sounding boards for folks looking for technology recommendations. The 501 Tech Club DC recently polled its members for suggestions as to where and how to store large online files for downloading purposes.

Will Municipal Wireless Plans Leave You Disconnected?

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 06/13/2007 - 2:45pm

A recent CNET story asserts that small towns may have to wait a while -- a very long while -- before vendors get around to implementing municipal wireless projects with them. While cities like San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia have announced major partnerships with the likes of Earthlink and Google to provide free or low cost wireless access to their citizens, smaller towns aren't able to attract the attention of the vendors.

Cole Reinwald, vice president of product strategy and marketing for Earthlink Municipal Networks says that right now:

"We should be looking at cities with densities of about 2,500 people per square mile. As tech costs drop, we'll be able to bring that number down."

Looking to Learn Google Analytics?

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 06/13/2007 - 9:05am

What are visitors doing on your site? Where DO they come from? And what in the world does it all mean? Google Analytics can help you answer all of these questions, for free. As Katrin blogged a few weeks ago, the newsest version is incredible: beautiful and powerful, like a great first date. Of course, it's also like a first date in that it can be utterly confusing. With so many choices, so many possibilities, it's hard to know where to begin.

Never fear! We nabbed one of the most amazing analytics gurus out there for a webinar next week. Avinash Kaushik, Analytics Evangelist for Google and author of "Web Analytics: An Hour a Day" will present this webinar on Wednesday, June 20:

Google Analytics is undoubtedly one of the most powerful web analytics packages out there. NTEN wants to help you unlock the power of Google Analytics. In this hands-on webinar, Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Analytics Evangelist, will teach you how to use web analytics reports to understand the performance of your web site in terms of measuring progress toward your organizational goals, but also to help you understand who your web site visitors are, where they come from, and what they’re doing on your site. You'll leave the webinar with actionable tips and tricks you can use right away, regardless of your skill level.

> Register Today!

Healthy Developments

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 06/12/2007 - 3:47pm
No less an authority than the News Hour with Jim Lehrer highlighted the increased use of telemedicine in international development last week. Jim Grady, who, with his wife, Peg, laid the foundations of Medical Missions for Children using $85,000 of their own retirement money, spoke about the video clinics MMC has set up in 27 top U.S. and European hospitals, as well as the new Medical Broadcasting Channel, which streams more than 25,000 hours of medical programming to thousands of institutions worldwide.

Does Your Data Tell a Story?

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 06/12/2007 - 3:31pm

A picture is worth a thousand words, but, if you use it right, it might also be worth the life you change or the next donation you receive. The nonprofit sector is steeped in data, but rattling of statistics doesn't articulate the need for or impact of your work. For that, you need a picture.

GIS (Geographic Information Systems) data mapping is one of the best ways to add impact to your information. Resources include DataPlace, which offers a free set of online GIS tools tied to reliable data sources like the U.S. Census Bureau. In NTEN's upcoming webinar, we will show how nonprofit organizations use GIS mapping to make their case to funders and other stakeholders. Case studies include:

  • Food banks needing to demonstrate to funders that they are offering services in the right areas.
  • Advocacy organizations using elections data to strategize for the next campaign.
  • Local community development corporations wanting to determine whether the funding and services they provide to smaller organizations are reaching the areas where their target population lives.

Data takes on meaning only when you use it effectively. Join us on Tuesday, June 19th and add another tool to your kit.

Presented by Troy Anderson, DataPlace

> Register Now!


Goodmail Signs ISPs to Charge for Certified E-mails

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Mon, 06/11/2007 - 3:04pm
Reports on CNET last week claimed that Goodmail, the certified email provider, has signed five of the largest Internet service providers in the U.S. "to start charging businesses for guaranteed delivery of their e-mails, in a bid to combat spam."

According to CNET, "Goodmail Systems, which provides a service called CertifiedEmail, announced Thursday that it had signed up Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable's Road Runner and Verizon as customers. E-mails certified using the system will be marked with a blue ribbon to show they come from a trusted source, thus bypassing spam filters--a privilege that will cost the sender a quarter of a U.S. cent per e-mail."

Google (for the) Earth?

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 06/08/2007 - 11:02am

I'm directionally challenged, which is to say that I get lost. A lot. Nearly every time I drive somewhere. Or walk. At any rate, I have found Google Earth to be the best defense against getting lost. Being able to fly virtually from point A to point B has really helped me understand how things are laid out here in my new home of Portland, OR. I get lost a little less now. Which is awesome.

As it turns out, lots of nonprofits are actually using Google Earth to give whole communities direction -- on how to make their world a better place. (Nice segue, don't you think?) Check out this article on CNET.

When you're done reading the article, register for our upcoming webinar on this very subject: Picture This: Using Data to Map Your Impact.

Does Online Engagement Lead to More Money?

Submitted by Ali on Fri, 06/08/2007 - 10:20am

Does online engagement help nonprofits raise money?

At first glance, this seems like a pretty straightforward question: engaging potential donors with your nonprofit’s mission is one of the most powerful cultivation tools you can employ, so it stands to reason that offering people a way to get involved through online advocacy, and keeping them informed with an online newsletter, would naturally garner more money for your organization.

Of course, when deciding how to spend your staff’s time and your organization’s money, you want more to go on than “it stands to reason”. There have been a number of studies that address this question, but when we start to unpack the results, things get a bit murky.