News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Looking Into Google Apps? Check out a Webinar

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 6:01pm
In case you missed it, NTEN and Google held a shin-dig in the Bay Area last week where Google announced some big news for nonprofits: Google Apps is now available to nonprofits at no charge! If you're looking at moving to Google Apps, you'll want to check out one of Google's upcoming webinars. Please note that it's the Educational Edition that is being made available to nonprofits at no charge, so any webinars about the Education Edition will fit the bill for you. If you're the techie who will oversee the switch, check out their administration webinars too.

Widget Fundraising Gets a Little Bigger

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 5:44pm
Widget fundraising is all rage these days, with some real numbers and case studies making their way into the sector (see our webinar with the talented Peter Dietz for some fascinating stats). Although widget innovation is happening at the fringes, it's no surprise that the larger players in online fundraising are beginning to enter the scene as well. Convio has just announced a new service -- Convio Personal Events -- that allows users to create and RSVP for events, as well as raise money. And, of course, it all integrates with the Convio platform. I'm a woman who hates data silos, so I think this is a nice advancement for Convio users.

Exploring Salesforce for Nonprofits

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 4:29pm

Are you in the market for a new database? Then we have a webinar that you should check out:

Salesforce for Nonprofits

Salesforce is one of the most popular web-enabled databases, and it's gaining adherants among nonprofits. Accessible from any browser, customizable in myriad ways -- and available to nonprofits for no fee through the Foundation -- it's a powerful tool. But how can a database with a name like Salesforce be used by the nonprofit sector? This webinar will explore the functionality and community of Salesforce. We'll look at how several nonprofits, from a group of more than 1500, use Salesforce to cultivate and recruit donors, manage their electronic communications, and more. If you are looking for a new CRM solution, or just want to know more about Salesforce, this webinar will be a great starting point.

Presented by Rob Jordan, Idealist Consulting

> Register now!

28 Pages Later: Kintera Promotes Nonprofit SaaS

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 4:10pm
Brett Meyer, NTEN Communications Coordinator

Convio provides an excellent overview of why nonprofits should consider software as a service. Those who want more detail should take a look at the 3-part Kintera White Paper.

The first part, “Rent or Buy: Why Nonprofits Need Software as a Service” details the “Top Seven Benefits of Software as a Service”, including the low up-front implementation costs (#1) and up-to-date technology (#4). One thing some organizations may have overlooked as a benefit is the ability to access SaaS applications remotely (#6) without having to set up complicated remote access software. Because SaaS products are accessed through a web interface, any staff member with a browser and an internet connection can be productive, anywhere, anytime.

The On-Demand Nonprofit

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 3:23pm
Sonny Cloward, NPower NY

With Google’s announcement extending its free Education Version of Google Apps to nonprofits, charitable organizations are situated better than ever to leverage On-Demand Productivity Tools (a.k.a. SaaS: Software as a Service). By no means is Google the only on-demand office productivity player: Zoho, ThinkFree, and Goowy are also viable contenders. Google, however, is making its services extremely attractive and accessible to nonprofits, not only through their donation of Google Apps to nonprofits a la the model—underwriting the donation via a sustainable for-profit revenue stream—but by providing tight integration between their products and desktop/offline apps.

The biggest challenge for Google Apps and other on-demand productivity suites is making the case to nonprofits: What is the value proposition making the transition from their current systems and processes a worthwhile investment? Of course there are the cost saving incentives, both in terms of infrastructure and management. There are no doubt both advantages and liabilities over traditional desktop applications, but the beauty of web apps is that they augment rather than replace systems. To that end, let’s take a look at how an organization might use a suite of on-demand productivity tools, in this case, Google Apps, as part of their system.

Read More!

Community Buzz

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 2:23pm
News and buzz from people and organizations in the nonprofit tech sector. Read our posts on the NTEN blog.

Citizen-Centered Funding

> A new initiative by the Case Foundation, Make It Your Own, seeks to encourage grassroots leaders involved in local and neighborhood level projects. As reported in the New York Times, the pool of candidates who submit ideas for improving their communities will be narrowed by judges, but the 4 finalists will be voted on by the public.

Searching for Altruism

> GoodSearch has added a layer to Yahoo's search engine to help nonprofits and schools. Select the organization you choose to support on GoodSearch's home page, and they will contribute -- giving away 50% of their advertising revenue, or about a penny per search -- to charitable causes. Through the power of aggregation, donations can add up quickly.

> The Do Good Toolbar implements a similar idea, geared toward online shopping. They, too, promise to donate at least 50% of their revenue to charity, though their list of supported organizations is much smaller.

Google Everywhere

> Nonprofit technology has received two big boosts from Google in the last 30 days. First, Google officially launched its nonprofit outreach program for its Google Earth product, as we reported in our blog. Groups as diverse as Appalachian Voices and the Jane Goodall Institute are already using Google Earth to tell stories with their data.

> Then, at an event co-hosted by NTEN, Google extended its Google Apps Education Edition to nonprofits. With Google throwing its weight behind Software as a Service, nonprofits will find it easier to spend more time working toward their objectives and less time worrying about back-ups, bugs, and other bothers.

Mobile Campaigning

> Nicholas Sullivan's You Can Hear Me Now chronicles GrameenPhone's efforts to extend telephone service in Bangladesh through microloans, along with several other examples of the power of cellular networking. You can watch a brief video interview with Nicholas about the project on YouTube.

> For more information on how mobile campaigns can help your organization, be sure to read Robin Good's essay "Mobile Phones as Mass Media", as covered in our blog. You may also want to watch the NTEN webinar, Mobile Campaigns Made Easy, moderated by our very own Katrin Verclas. And don't forget to check out, a resource for practitioners worldwide using mobile phones in social change work.

Pizzigati Prize Deadline

> The deadline for the $10,000 Antonio Pizzigati Prize For Software in the Public Interest is coming up on August 1st. If you are working on software for social change, you should definitely looking into it. For more information see our blog post.

Things We Like

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 2:22pm
A monthly roundup of our favorite nonprofit tech resources. Read more posts on our blog.

  1. Trying to figure out how Microsoft's Gianpaolo Carraro came up with the probabilities in his 2007 SaaS predictions. Does he have a special piece of unreleased prognostication software?
  2. Do Something's Karma Tycoon. Do hosted games qualify as SaaS? Play KT with some friends and you won't care: it's like a great boardgame, without the need to keep track of the pieces or the score. Be sure to check out the URL behind their Teachers' Curricula, as well.
  3. The Pearl of the Alps. Get it? Looks like a great interface with nature.
  4. The iPhone. There's no shame in it: the iPhone practically qualifies as a hardware mashup. NTEN gave away an iPhone at NTC 2007, and winner Ron Piccinini of Larkin Street Youth Services says, "It's the gadget that I dreamed of two years ago: integration of MP3 player, smart phone, and internet browser. Thanks to Apple and especially NTEN for the hook up!"
  5. Almost as fun as the iPhone itself are the homages disguised as parodies, from Comedy Central (expected) to the New York Times (good for them) to Fake Steve Jobs (huh?).

How To: Put Technology to Use

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 2:20pm
Your guide to resources that will help you put technology to work for your cause.

More on Selecting SaaS Solutions

> InfoWorld published a field guide to back office, messaging and CRM solutions available from SaaS vendors. IW also featured a brief piece asking companies currently using SaaS applications to weight in on their appeal.

> A more focused article on TechSoup compares tools you can use to manage simple web sites, while the Nonprofit Matrix offers detailed listings on a host of possibilities and 5ThirtyOne compares Project Management software.

Advocate Online

> For an overview of the new tools available to online activists, read Alan Rosenblatt's new article on Idealware, "Affordable New Tools and Strategies for Online Activism". Alan covers a lot of ground in few words.

Learn from Beth Kanter

> Beth has provided some great resources to the nonprofit tech community, recently. Her screencast on using the integration of Google Adwords with Salesforce, as reported in our blog, inspired Salesforce to put up a page on their site devoted to helping Google Grantees apply for a Foundation grant.

> Earlier, Beth put together a primer on Google Analytics screencast for NTEN, a terrific companion piece to our webinar featuring Google's very own Analytics Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik. Or, if you have a soft spot for old media, take a look at Avinash's book, Web Analytics: An Hour a Day. It's already earned a place on my desk.

Software as a Service, Plus: A Model that Fits the Nonprofit Community

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 2:05pm
Convio, Inc.

The delivery of software applications as a service (SaaS) is fast becoming the preferred model for nonprofits to manage fundraising, advocacy, communications, marketing, and constituent relationship management. The vision of SaaS is to help nonprofits do things they could not do before, create efficiencies and reduce costs, and drive better results. But why should a nonprofit choose to travel the SaaS route?

When using a SaaS provider, nonprofits experience change in four areas:

  1. A shift in the ownership of the software from the client to the SaaS provider;
  2. Transfer of the IT responsibility and accountability for both hardware and professional services from the nonprofit to the provider;
  3. Reduced costs through specialization, rapid deployment, economies of scale and access to analytics; and
  4. A true partnership with the software provider.


Summertime, and the IT's Easy

Submitted by Brett on Tue, 07/17/2007 - 1:47pm
Jess Daniel, Google

IT infrastructure is hard work for any organization. Having worked at a nonprofit prior to coming to Google, I know that the combination of long-standing legacy systems and limited resources certainly doesn't make things any easier. Now that I'm member of the Google Apps team, I spend my time working on simple but powerful communication and collaboration tools for organizations. And so it's with special satisfaction that I share this bit of news: Google has extended the Education Edition of Google Apps to registered 501(c)(3)s.

You may already be familiar with Google's standard suite of free hosted services, including private-label email, calendaring, and online-document sharing. But the Education Edition offers a number of value-added admin features at no additional cost, including email migration tools, phone support for critical issues, and extensibility APIs. (Ads are also optional, in case you're curious.) There's no need to take my word for it, though: if you attended NP.IT recently -- the Google-NTEN midsummer mixer -- you may have bumped into a few nonprofits with their own Google Apps success stories.

At the end of the day, enabling good works through Google Apps -- in any capacity -- both inspires and humbles us. We're excited to offer this worthy sector a low-investment, feature-rich IT choice. Find out more or apply for an account.