Article Type: News & Announcements

One of NTEN’s core beliefs is that the internet is vital to our daily lives and that it should be affordable and accessible to all people. We use the internet every day for things ranging from registering for health care, managing appointments, and talking with doctors to accessing education and communicating with family member’s schools. From finding and applying for jobs to engaging in social and civic life locally and nationally. That’s not to mention how necessary the internet is for nonprofit organizations to function, communicate internally, and serve their communities.

Net neutrality is the principle that all internet service providers (ISPs) should provide access to all content and applications equally without preference for the source or destination of the content. Net neutrality is significantly impacted by who is president because the president is the one who appoints the chairman of the FCC, the governing body on internet related policy.

Yet, in the four presidential candidate debates held so far, there has been no mention at all of the topic. (The debates included only Democratic candidates. There are three declared Republican candidates, though no debates are scheduled.)

There are many reasons why this could be the case: the debates have been broadcast on commercial networks owned by leading opponents of net neutrality. Most of the candidates have received donations from ISPs. And the candidates themselves may not have an opinion on it. Regardless of why the topic hasn’t come up, we need to put pressure on the candidates and the debate hosts to name net neutrality. The candidates should be asked if they will reinstate the rules set in place under President Obama in 2015 and undone by President Trump in 2017.

Remember, 86% of folks in the U.S. opposed the repeal President Trump made in 2017. With a topic that has such overwhelming support, there is no reason that candidates are not called to commit to their plans.

Here are three things you can do today:

  1. Watch this informative and entertaining Last Week Tonight with John Oliver video from 2017 to learn more about net neutrality or read this recap from CNET which was updated in June.
  2. Contact the candidates, especially any that you may have donated to, and ask they include their plans for net neutrality in their policy statements and on their websites. Ask them to speak about it in the debates.
  3. Tweet ABC News and Univision, who are broadcasting the next debate on Thursday, September 12, and demand that net neutrality be included.

Jarlisa CorbettThe NTEN team is now fully staffed. We’re thrilled to tell you that Jarlisa Corbett has joined NTEN as our Office & Admin Coordinator! She kindly indulged us as we played our favorite game, 5 Questions.

What’s your favorite place you’ve lived?

Definitely Washington, D.C. There is just so much culture and a thriving arts community there. A lot of people may only think of politics when they think of D.C., but once you step foot in Columbia Heights, U Street Corridor, or SE D.C., you’ll see some of the greatness of D.C.

What’s the homecooked meal you miss the most from childhood?

100% my dad’s seafood gumbo. There’s really nothing that comes remotely close to it. It’s peak comfort food and good any time of the year. After a failed attempt at recreating it, my only option is to fly my parents to Portland and hold them hostage until some gumbo is made.

Speaking of childhood, when you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I really wanted to be a computer engineer which is pretty laughable now considering how truly terrible at math I am.

Read anything good recently?

My current obsession is Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. So much so that I got a tattoo soon after reading the first book. I wait with bated breath for the second installment to drop in December.

If you could create something that would make your life better (even if this is only YOUR life), what would it be?

Probably a teleportation device because I don’t like/want to drive, public transportation is a mess, and I get to travel wherever without squandering my savings away on flights and other travel fees.

As another summer draws to a close, it’s time to update you on the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work NTEN has undertaken this quarter.

You may have read last month that NTEN is making a membership shift this fall. I love this new approach because it aligns so well with our commitment to equity. In fact, the changes were inspired by asking the question, “How is our current membership model not equitable or inclusive?” The conversation generated in the community resulted in an approach that is consistent with our commitment and led to NTEN articulating its core beliefs for the first time.

Also, for the first time, we’ve formalized a monthly plan for our fiscal year specific to NTEN’s DEI work across all programs and operations. It’s an acknowledgment that DEI work is more than just meeting regularly or checking a box on a grant application. It’s challenging and necessary work that must be thoughtfully considered and mapped out if an organization is to institute change for itself and subsequently for the community it serves.

NTEN’s board created a DEI committee to support the staff’s commitment to equity. This team works to ensure that our board will support decision making with a focus on equity. DEI work should be present at all levels of an organization, and we couldn’t be happier to have our board joining the journey with us.

The application forms to join the 20NTC Session Advisory Committee, to submit 20NTC session applications, and numerous program-specific applications were all updated this year with a statement that encouraged folks “who identify as Black, Indigenous, or other people of color, as well as gender nonconforming, having a disability, LGBTQIA+, and other under-represented community members” to apply. It’s an acknowledgment of NTEN’s DEI goals directly at the program level. We will continue to evolve this question as we use it broadly throughout our organization.

Finally, we’re updating the requirements for posting to NTEN’s job board. New job postings will specify a salary or include a range beginning next month. Including a salary range promotes transparency, mitigates the perpetuation of the gender wage gap, and discourages discrimination of people of color during the application and hiring process. “Depends on Experience” will no longer be an option for the salary field as people have a right to know what the salary range is for a job they are applying for.

This has been our summer. What have you done to further diversity, equity, and inclusion in your organization? Tweet us @NTENorg or email us.

Update 10/7/19: The Supreme Court declined to hear the case which is a blow to Domino’s. The company is subject to January ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Domino’s and other retailers must make its online services accessible. The case is expected to go to trial.

The accommodations available to ensure someone with a visual disability can successfully order the pizza they want at a Domino’s are protected because of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For the last 30 years, the ADA has prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications, and access to state and local government programs and services. Should Domino’s have to ensure the same level of accommodation is available for those same folks with visual disabilities through the Domino’s mobile ordering app?

Domino’s is currently testing that question. And the ultimate court ruling could impact nonprofits in huge ways.

Before we get too focused on Domino’s in court, remember that the ADA is something nonprofits comply with today. ADA compliance at your organization may include making your office or program sites physically accessible, adapting employee workstations or hours, ensuring your practices and policies, from benefits to hiring processes, are inclusive and do not explicitly or implicitly discriminate.

So, Domino’s. They are claiming that their mobile app is separate from their physical stores, and the same kinds of accommodations for those with disabilities are not required. However, the panel in Guillermo Robles v. Dominos Pizza LLC believes that the ADA rules do apply to Domino’s online ordering services (the website and mobile app.) They reasoned that the ADA specifies “places of public accommodation” (like restaurants, hotels, parks, museums, daycare centers, as well as many other places where someone would access a service) need to provide alternative ways for folks with disabilities (in this case, visual disabilities and blindness) to participate. And here’s the important part — the ADA applies to the services being offered by a “place of accommodation” and not the physical “place” specifically. The panel connects the app and the physical restaurant and says the app needs to be accessible to someone with a visual disability because the app is used to order pizza from a physical store.

The physical world has long been the focus and definition of the ADA, from wheelchair ramps to sign language interpreters, but the line between offline and online is getting thinner and thinner. A final ruling in the Domino’s case that says the ADA does, in fact, apply to the digital world because of the physical world’s direct connection to the service provided, would result in necessary changes for businesses and nonprofits. NTEN believes this case should conclude with a ruling that provides a precedent definition that the ADA applies to online services because the world is different than it was 30 years ago. Advances in technology have enabled a digital interface for our society that should not be considered unequal to offline spaces. 

You’re probably reading this and wondering if you would be compliant. What services or programs do you deliver online that are open to the public? Is your website accessible in general? Are your community calls or webinars captioned? Does your organization have a mobile app, and is it accessible?

I ask those questions and have to admit, NTEN can do better. We’ve publicly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), yet some NTEN pages use a font/color combination that fails readability tests. And we neglected to invite a captioner to our recent community call, so now the recording isn’t captioned. Because the NTEN staff doesn’t use these accommodations, they’re easy to forget. And that’s the point. Our benign indifference results in exclusion and disrespect.

Regardless of potential rulings that could provide further definition of the ADA, accessibility is a hugely important consideration your organization is likely not focused on. Here are three steps to help focus you:

  1. Use this free and easy to use online tool to get a report about the accessibility of your website
  2. Ensure that you have folks with disabilities involved in your planning and project processes
  3. Create a set of questions to help guide staff decision making that includes questions/reminders about accessibility and inclusion

What’s been your experience including accessibility considerations in your planning? What advice do you have to share? Tweet us @NTENorg or email us.

It’s time to shape the educational agenda for the 2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference (20NTC)! Over 600 proposals were submitted this year, so we need your help deciding which ones will become sessions next March in Baltimore. You can review all the proposals and select your favorites through August 30.

Each year we try to improve the selection process based on community feedback. Here’s a quick summary of what’s new for 20NTC.

Clean-up week

This year we added a week between when proposals closed and when we open for community input to do some high-level review and clean up of proposals. For the past week we’ve been:

  • Adjusting appropriate category and tag assignments
  • Removing inappropriate language
  • Fixing significant formatting errors (copy and paste gone awry)

Goodbye, voting. Hello, favoriting.

Input from the community has always been central to selecting sessions for the NTC, but it’s not the sole decider. Public input is 60% of a final weighted score with the remaining 40% coming from the Session Advisory Committee. Even with this final score, creating a balanced agenda within and across each of the categories can mean a proposal voted on by many people may still not be accepted for a variety of reasons.

In recent years, we heard that displaying the public vote count reinforced the mistaken belief that it was all that determined if a session was selected. To help address this, we’re implementing two changes:

  1. Instead of voting for a proposal, we’re asking you to choose your favorites. You’re not committing to attend them if they’re selected to be sessions. We’re just asking you to think about which topics would be relevant, practical, and of high quality to conference attendees.
  2. We’re not displaying how many times a proposal is favorited. Since there’s not a direct correlation between community input and session selection, we’ve stopped implying this process is voting for sessions.

Community input on final selection

The last step in session selection is ensuring there is a balanced agenda within and across topic categories. We’ll also make sure any critical topics are not missing from the lineup. If so, we’ll hold spots for these topics and seek to fill them. To increase opportunities for community input in our process, the Session Advisory Committee will be included in this final step as well.

If you have any questions about the community input process then please feel free to email us. Otherwise, you have until Friday, August 30 to review the proposals. Start favoriting today!

Are you passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) with a focus on racial equity? Are you doing DEI work in your organization or community? Do you have lived experiences that inform the changes you want to see in the NTEN community and the world? Then we’d love to have you join our new DEI Committee!

DEI has played a vital part in NTEN’s evolution over recent years. Additionally, our commitment to equity has been crucial to how staff and community meet our mission. Community members have provided valuable feedback on our DEI work, and this new committee formalizes the feedback process.

NTEN’s internal DEI task force will work with the committee in quarterly virtual meetings. The first meeting will decide how the task force and committee will work together and share updates to the community.

At NTEN, it’s incredibly important to us that the community we serve is an active part of our work. Because we value inclusivity and centering members in our decisions, we’re excited to introduce this new forum for discussion.

The call for community members to join this committee is closed; however, if you’re interested in learning more about NTEN’s DEI work, please email me.

The 20NTC session selection process is underway with over 600 proposals submitted! However, we want to share that we made a mistake and have learned from the experience.

We require that anyone submitting a session have an “Organization” affiliation listed in their profile. Our guidelines include session application limits for individuals and teams or organizations to avoid having large organizations overrepresented. We failed to include enough information in the proposal support materials and on the proposal page that you could list an entity you work for, your name, or anything else that makes sense for your work. We do not require that people have to work for an established organization to submit sessions. But we see now how unclear and confusing that was in this year’s proposal process.

Learning, changing, improving, and doing so transparently is part of NTEN’s values. We are sorry to all those who felt excluded from the session proposal process this year because of the affiliation requirement. We appreciate the community member who took the time and energy to bring this to our attention.

We have already made notes and decisions around how to improve this so that you’ll see a clearer direction next year. And for anyone who experienced this and would like to discuss it further, please feel free to email me. Onward!

Every day we see you change the world for the better. Whether it’s big public wins or incremental changes behind the scenes, NTEN members go to sleep having made the world just a little bit better than when they woke up.

Members are the heart of NTEN. But we’ve come to a realization. By focusing on organizations to lead staff’s professional development, organizations have grown to be the center of our membership program. Today we’re announcing how we’re correcting that.

NTEN members enjoy a membership that gives them deep discounts on courses, professional certificates, and the NTC, as well as free access to informative reports and content. But many of these memberships were obtained through their employer. Their organization purchased an org-wide membership and made a bunch of people members. Some people used their membership frequently, but if we’re honest, a lot of people had no idea they were members.

In our early days, technology mostly meant computers, servers, and lines. It was a significant cost which often meant large and long-established organizations were the only ones who could afford the investment. This began the centering of large organizations in our membership.

But as cloud computing and apps became widespread, high costs were no longer a barrier to deploying technology. We began to notice that grassroots organizations, some under fiscal sponsorship, were becoming members for the first time. It was a reminder that as great as most organizations are, it’s the people who are learning the skills, doing the work, and changing their communities.

Starting this October, all memberships will be individual memberships. Your organization can still pay the annual fee on your behalf, but the membership will be in your name and not your organization’s. This means that if you leave your job for another, your membership will follow you.

For most of you, nothing is changing. The price of annual membership is staying the same at $99. But we’re introducing a sliding scale so that members can pay as little as $25 to receive all the benefits of membership. We’re confident this will encourage continued growth in members from new and grassroots organizations. And on the other end of the slide, well, there is no end. Members from large organizations can choose to pay more than $99 as a show of their support. The organization’s cost will likely stay consistent as they’ll pay more for individual members while no longer distributing unused memberships among employees. The organizations we’ve spoken with support this change.

Organizations will continue to be visible within the NTEN community. Additionally, for-profit companies, vendors, and agencies will move to a new Community Partner program that will maintain their visibility and demonstrate their continued investment in the NTEN community.

For those of you who have always paid the membership fee yourself, you’ll be happy to learn that we’re rolling out monthly installments. For the first time, you can spread out the cost over twelve months. And we’re also rolling out auto-renew, so you’ll never accidentally lose your membership again.

Redefining membership is the latest exciting step in our continuing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Over the last two years, we’ve shared how we’re examining and transforming our policies, scholarships, and NTC session evaluations. We’ve held conversations around these commitments and changes with the NTEN board, longtime members, new members, organizations, and vendors. Their feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, but we acknowledge that work is far from done. Today’s announcement is a public reaffirming of our intention and ongoing work.

In the coming weeks, we’ll share specifics as the fall is when the bulk of our members usually renew. For now, we’ve started an FAQ that may answer any immediate questions you have. And please join us for a community call on August 14 when we’ll talk through these changes, what our process was leading to the decision, and how we engaged the community for input.

And we’re always interested in your feedback about your membership. Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts in this survey. You’ll help shape future membership planning and be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card.

Thank you for supporting this change, and a huge thank you for everything you’ll accomplish today.

 

Thomas Negron's head shotThe NTEN team is growing. We’re thrilled to tell you that Thomas Negron has joined NTEN as our Communications Director! Thomas brings years of experience with him, but I asked the questions you really want answers to.

What was your first job?

Does selling things door-to-door in elementary school count? I was a champion seller. It didn’t matter what it was. Candy, wrapping paper, greeting cards … if the school gave it to me I could sell it. The secret was to work the odds by hitting more houses than anyone else. In retrospect, it seems a bit odd that a ten-year-old would wave his mother goodbye and then disappear for hours to visit strangers’ houses a mile away, but hey, that was the 80s.

My first job-job was bagging groceries when I was fourteen. I loved it and worked my way up to head bagger, then cashier, and finally, customer service where I also did the daily books. Again, the 80s. But I learned a lot about working with people, dealing with pressure, and running a successful business. And to this day I silently judge bad bagging when I grocery shop.

Favorite Olympic sport?

Ooh, this is a tough one for me. I was never into the sports. You could imagine how out of place I felt growing up in South Florida. Sometimes it seemed I was the only person not obsessed with the Miami Dolphins. Our local McDonald’s was decorated entirely in aqua and orange. Football was inescapable which is why you could wake me in the middle of the night demanding I sing the Dolphins’ fight song and I can do it.

You love to travel. Any travel tips from your globetrotting to share?

My husband and I just returned from two weeks in Scandinavia. It amazes me how different it is to travel now versus when I first visited Europe in the 90s. Back then I navigated using a laminated map and had traveler’s checks tucked away in a money belt. On this trip, my phone guided us to our destinations and I used my watch to pay for everything.

Scandanavia is pushing hard to be cashless, but even visiting a museum has changed. They all had free Wi-Fi so you could listen to their audio guides on your phone. So my suggestion is to get the tech ready before you go. Download the app of any museum you’ll visit so you’ll have it handy. Add your hotel’s address to a calendar invite so your phone knows when and where to direct you once you arrive. And add the confirmations as PDF attachments. I didn’t print a single thing for this trip. If you’re visiting someplace without Wi-Fi or celluar then this won’t work for you, but for most cities, I bet it will make your travels easier.

What would be your walk-on song?

The Dolphins’ fight song.

Just kidding! I’ve played master of ceremonies a lot in my career and I’ve jokingly referred to it as shifting into game show host mode. So I’ll say my walk-on music is the Price Is Right theme song.

Don’t you feel happier just listening to it and imagining you’re spinning the Big Wheel?

In an alternate universe where you did not work at NTEN (or in the nonprofit sector at all), what would you do?

Hm. I was that kid who liked to create their own newspaper. I like to think I was a budding investigative journalist, but the truth is I probably loved Harriet the Spy too much. But even in an alternate universe, I’m too lazy to be a spy. So I’ll go with a newspaper columnist, but not for anything that requires me to stay on top of current events. I would turn out a column every couple of weeks where I wrote about things like my appreciation of a well-made sandwich and why movies aren’t as good as they used to be. Eventually, my columns would be collected in a best-selling book and I would be celebrated as an American treasure.

Want to say hello to Thomas? You can email him or connect on the Twitter.

We’re excited to tell you session proposals are open for the 2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference (20NTC) happening in Baltimore MD, March 24–26, 2020! This includes proposals for both educational sessions and Ignites.

Proposals are accepted from July 8 to August 11.

If you’re familiar with our community-driven process, please take a minute to learn what has changed for 20NTC.

You can always find all the information you need regarding process, requirements, and more by visiting the 20NTC Session Proposal Guidelines & FAQs.

As always, there are a few things to keep in mind as you craft your proposals. Here are some resources and suggestions to help get you started.

Suggested topics

Based on feedback from the last NTC and input from the current Session Advisory Committee, we provided a list of suggested topics. Proposals are in no way required to adhere to what is suggested in these lists. They are provided as a way of sharing what the community (and those that will be sharing input on your proposals) have indicated they see as priority topics. View the 20NTC Suggested Topics.

Highlight diverse perspectives

NTEN has a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and sessions are expected to be aligned with this focus. Your proposal should clearly articulate a diverse range of voices, perspectives, and content to help it find wide support both with the community and the Session Advisory Committee, which will be using this as one of their review criteria.

Be clear who is a good fit

With anywhere from 15 to 20 concurrent sessions attendees have a lot to choose from in terms of sessions. The more you can clarify in your session title and description who is the right fit for your session the better your chances of getting support for selection and the right audience in the room at the event.

An obvious focus on the practical application

Attendees are looking for tips, strategies, and tools they can put to use immediately. Ensuring your session proposal has a clear connection to practical application goes a long way in terms of building support for your session.

Nonprofit perspective included

Each session is required to include a nonprofit perspective, with the exception of the short format sessions. Making it clear in your proposal how this is already included or how you intend to include it will be important to be both considered for and move forward if your session is selected.

Know the guidelines

Sessions at the NTC have guidelines for what goes into creating the high-quality experience attendees have come to expect. Ensuring your proposals clearly meet these guidelines increases your likelihood of building community support and selection. Please review the guidelines.

Who should submit a proposal?

Submissions are open to the public, regardless of NTEN membership status or previous participation within the NTEN community. We strongly encourage individuals and organizations who have not presented at an NTC and those from underrepresented communities and perspectives to submit proposals.

Get support from NTEN and the community

There are multiple ways you can find support throughout the proposal process, including open offices hours and a peer review community group. Get the full details in the Guidelines and FAQ resource.

Want more information?

Join us for a community call, Tuessday, July 9. We’ll share details on the overall process and what happens when a proposal moves into the various stages of the selection process. We’ll also answer any other questions you have about how you can be part of building the educational program for 20NTC.

You can also always reach out to us at training@nten.org with any specific questions.