Recap: Community Organizing Tools from the Experts

As we all know, the nonprofit tech community is loaded with smart and thoughtful organizers who give their time and efforts to help the rest of us do the good work we do. We recognize NTEN’s 501 Tech Clubs (local in-person groups) and Communities of Practice (CoPs) (online affinity groups) organizers are one clever and innovative bunch! We learn new community organizing tips and tools from them all the time.

In honor of our August theme of “Tools,” we invited several of our beloved Tech Club and CoP organizers to give short presentations about their favorite community organizing tools during the Community Organizing Tools from the Experts webinar on August 21.

CoP organizers Praan Misir (CommBuild) and Brett Ashley Crawford (Arts Nonprofits) and Tech Club organizers Regina Walton (SFTech4Good), Paula Jones (NCTech4Good), and Chad Leaman and Elijah van der Giessen (both from NetSquared Vancouver) took time out to deliver the presentation. The presentation slides have been uploaded to Slideshare.

This was one of our most interactive webinars – it was filled with community organizers, after all – the Twitter stream and chat channel were delightfully out of control! Check out the event Storify Praan put together.

Tools and processes covered included:

  • Build community and extend discussions beyond your online or in-person convening
    • Recap: Storify tweet chats and turn discussions into blog posts
    • Timing: Post recaps to your group as well as personal and organizational networks within a week to keep up the energy from the discussion
  • Workflow for sending personalized mass emails that will not be filtered into promotions tabs or deleted as junk, but rather drive event sign-ups
  • Text expansion utilities: We spend much of our days typing the same thing over and over, but a text expander app can remove the drudgery from your life and make you appear to be the fastest typist ever
  • Text Expansion Utility Tips
    • Start URL abbreviations with a comma: ,a =
    • Prevent conflict with regular words by staring most abbreviations with a duplicate letter: Bbio = biography expansion snippet
    • Start with frequently used pieces of text like your email, address, phone number, etc.
  • Screencasting with Jing: Learn how to record presentations using the free tool Jing to share images and short videos of your computer screen
    • Capture an image
    • Record on-screen video (5 min max)
    • Various uses:
      • Screen shots for whitepapers, tutorials, and documentation
      • Staff/Volunteer on-boarding, training videos
      • Tip of the week
      • Embed video or images to your website, blog, social networks
  • Engagement with Twitter and Storify: Twitter chats present a great way to engage your supporters and volunteers in an accessible, consistent, and fun format. Storify lets you represent those conversations in a visual and dynamic format
    • When planning a Twitter chat
      • Scope out the landscape to see what’s already how there
      • Participate in other Twitter chats to see how it works
      • Use a management tool such as Tweetdeck
    • Storify
      • Sort posts chronologically
      • Highlight specific posts/comments
      • Establish miniature narratives within the overall structure
      • Provide commentary on specific posts and trends within the larger conversation
  • Collaborate from afar with Google Docs: Use Google Docs to create, share, and collaborate on event planning documents and more

Do you have any other tools to recommend? Leave a comment below! For more information, view the entire presentation on Slideshare, and event Storify.