News from the NTEN Connect Blog

The Innovation Divide, Alive and Well

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 1:56pm

Why is it so hard for nonprofits to effectively use technology and what can we do about it? The California-based research outfit PolicyLink sets out to answers these questions in their report “Bridging the Innovation Divide: An Agenda for Disseminating Technology Innovations within the Nonprofit Sector”.

The report looks at twelve case studies in order to answer the following questions:

1. What are the causes of the innovation divide?

2. How and why do nonprofit organizations adopt new technology innovations and assimilate them into their work?

3. What can be done to speed up the diffusion of innovations within the nonprofit sector?

The case studies explore the development, adoption and diffusion of technological innovations in the nonprofit sector. After exploring the successes and challenges faced by these nonprofits, PolicyLink sets out a five point agenda to help nonprofits make better use of information and communications technologies:

1. Establish new federal, state, philanthropic, and corporate funding programs to develop and disseminate technology innovations within the nonprofit sector.

2. Create forums and intermediaries—at the local and national levels—to facilitate the adoption and dissemination of technology innovations.

3. Support universal service reforms that enable nonprofits to gain broadband access to best take advantage of ICT innovations.

4. Create forums for learning from the private sector about the adoption and use of new ICTs.

5. Establish standards and mechanisms for data sharing and interoperability.

Clearly funding and information sharing play a large role in addressing our sector’s technology needs. We here at NTEN are fully bought into this agenda in our strategic goals for our work and for the sector. Learn more about PolcyLink’s agenda, and how you can be a part of the solution, by reading the report.

Leading a Horse to Water

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 05/10/2007 - 9:35am

Lead a horse to waterSeth Godin had a lovely little post the other day that I have been chewing on.  In More Perfect, he frames in a new way of thinking about something I think we all know, but never really accept:

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.  - OR - Concentrate on the thirsty horses.

We all want to grow our networks of donors and activists.  More is better.  But where do you find that more?  I think a lot of our strategies have been focused on finding horses, and convincing them they are thirsty.  All those compelling action alerts we write.  The lists we rent and mail to.  We know that these strategies aren't super likely to find thirsty horses.  But we do them anyway, hoping that we'll convince a few they need a drink.

So here's another argument for the power of social networks.  

Your existing thirsty horses hang out at watering holes, where there are other thirsty horses.  If you can let go of your message, and let your stakeholders do the talking for you - your chances of success go way up.

This, of course, is not to say that your stakeholders in any way resemble horses.  They are all lovely people.  

Social Networking and Social Change: Guest blogger Dan McQuillan, UK

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 8:02am

Dan McQuillan, Amnesty, a friend and colleague in London, UK, was inspired by an NTEN post a while back on Social Networks Redux, and wrote this:

It's hardly a surprise that large NGO's are starting to experiment with social networks, given the sheer numbers of people using them and their high media profile. But, judging by comments on the eCampaigning Forum wiki , there's some uncertainty about how non-profits should approach social networks, and especially how to get an effective return for the time that has to be invested in these relationship-spaces. NGOs are also anxious about the loss of control - in a participative space, what happens to the brand and the carefully crafted messaging?

NTC Keynotes on Watch David Weinberger and Melissa Flournoy

Submitted by KatrinVerclas on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 7:24am

If you missed the inspired, moving, and funny speeches of David and Melissa at the NTC, you can watch them now!

Other sessions are recorded on as well and you can find all session materials from the conference here.

What do Kevin Bacon and Open Source Software Have in Common?

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 05/08/2007 - 9:29am

They are both starring in NTEN webinars this May! On deck first:

> What Kevin Bacon Knows about Web 2.0: Six Degrees of Person-to-Person Fundraising

May 23 / 11:00 am Pacific / $25 for NTEN Members, $50 for non-Members

Kevin BaconIf you've ever wondered how YOU could get within six degrees of Kevin Bacon, you're answer is here! Oh, and you might learn a new trick or two and raise a little more money along the way.

Discover how nonprofits are capitalizing on the trends of online giving, user-driven content, social networks and yes – even Kevin Bacon – to reach supporters all over the web. The Long Tail isn’t just for a new world for business – it’s a refreshingly open landscape for charity too. Using the case study of, a charitable partnership between Network for Good and Kevin Bacon, this session will use focus on lessons learned for nonprofits looking to launch person-to-person fundraising campaigns in a Web 2.0 world.

Presented by Katya Andresen and Stacie Mann of Network for Good

> Register Now

And if you're not in to Keving Bacon (is that possible? Did you see Footloose?), but you ARE looking for a few good tools that won't cost and arm and a leg, then join us for:

> Open Source Software You can Use

May 24 / 11:00 am Pacific / $25 for NTEN Members, $50 for non-Members

PenguinThere are, of course, many, many different open source projects that are in varied stages of development, some are quite mature, others not. These include operating systems, databases, web servers, and applications of a wide sort. Some software, especially on the server, such as Apache, MySQL, and others, are not only mature, they are ubiquitous, almost standard. Other software, such as desktop applications, lag behind in adoption, but are ready for you to use in your organization, right now.

This webinar will cover the whole range of software, including server software, CMS, database applications, and desktop software. We will focus on what is really ready for use, now, both in terms of maturity of development for all applications, and ease of use, for end-user applications.

Presented by: Michelle Murrain, with NOSI (the Nonprofit Open Source Initiative), and principal of MetaCentric Technology Advising

> Register Now



My So-Called (Second) Life

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 05/07/2007 - 1:04pm

Hollyhock RossiniI hate to admit it, but I am this century's equivalent of the the cranky old person who doesn't want to learn how to program the VCR. This social networking stuff is clearly very powerful - but one more thing that I have to learn. And, quite frankly, I have enough other networking stuff to keep me busy - my email inbox overflow-eth. It's tough to convince me that Twitter isn't a nuisance and that FaceBook is a place I ought to spend some time.

So I admit that the idea of Second Life sounded pretty, well, ridiculous to me. I have enough trouble keeping my real self out of trouble and on task. A virtual me could only lead to trouble (and an even bigger email overflow problem!). Nonetheless - I vowed in 2007 to be more open minded. To try things BEFORE I wrote them off. So now that things have been a teensy bit more manageable here at NTEN, I tool the leap this weekend and created my virtual self - Hollyhock Rossini.

Folks that Rocked the NTC

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 05/04/2007 - 8:44am

2007 NTC LogoWe just finished compiling all the evaluation results from the NTC - it was a red letter year! Our average session score rose from 4.22 to 4.25 out of 5 - our best showing ever. Of course, I would love to take all the credit, but the credit belongs squarely on your shoulders. Here are a few of the folks who deserve heaps of praise and my never ending gratitude:

Speakers with the highest rankings and at least 10 evaluations:

When Web 2.0 meets Web 1.0

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 05/02/2007 - 3:18pm
Business 2.0TechCrunch reports that Business 2.0 magazine lost its entire June magazine just two weeks before it was to go to print. Why? The issue was accidentally deleted from the editorial server and the backup system wasn't working. As usual, Old School technology proves its importance in a world obsessed with the new.

Technology for Good: NTEN on ABC

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 05/01/2007 - 8:09am
Katrin VerclasNTEN's very own Executive Director, Katrin Verclas, filmed a short spot with ABC a few weeks ago addressing how nonprofits are making use of some cool technologies to further their missions.  Check out the Video Clip!

You are a media mogul...and you didn't even know it!

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 04/30/2007 - 9:50am
SplashCast LogoThe folks at SplasCast Media have released a new feature today - MyPodcastNetwork. It's a nice little widget that allows you to aggregate feeds from all the podcasts you like, and make them available in one place. Marshall Kirkpatrick, who's been a fantastic NTEN community member created the very first Network on the service, and it's full of nptech content. Thanks Marshall! You can check out the announcement yourself, and see how it works here: