February 7, 2017

Well, that failed. What now?

On building a culture of learning from our mistakes

There is an X marked in tape on the carpet in the NTEN office where a part of me died this morning. My humble plan to move our quarterly Town Hall community calls from phone to Facebook Live failed spectacularly when the time to stream came, and I found myself locked out of my own event.

As a nonprofit that embraces technology, NTEN has a startup mentality. That means we experiment, sometimes we fail, and we learn quickly from our mistakes. I was confident that the format was right and our presenters were prepared. I even had the room marked out with stage direction tape like a real movie set. But I should have more thoroughly tested the technology in the exact circumstances we were planning to use it. While we had tested Facebook Live on an ad hoc basis, I didn’t realize that scheduling a Live event meant it was created in a different way and that made it inaccessible on game day. The horror. Lesson learnt.

So what now? Well, as much as I’d like to crawl under my desk and eat this entire package of honey grahams, instead I want to share this fail story with you and celebrate the culture of experimentation that makes the nonprofit technology sector so strong. We take our commitment to community very seriously here at NTEN and gosh, I feel pretty awful about failing you, but it makes me even more determined to make it up to you with a great Town Hall. We’ll be going live again on our Facebook page on Thursday, February 9 at 2.30PT/5.30ET. For reals, this time.

Lyndal Frazier-Cairns
Lyndal Cairns is committed to building stronger nonprofits as though our very existence depends on them. Because it does. After a decade as a newspaper and online journalist, she devoted her career to marketing for social good organizations working for sustainability, public health, education and technology. Among her proudest moments was receiving the 2015 NTEN Award for services to the nonprofit tech sector; and watching billboard ads for the Queensland AIDS Council being reinstated after a million-strong social media campaign against the homophobic decision to remove them. She and her team are currently working on a membership growth strategy for NTEN, as well as rebranding efforts. When not working, Lyndal can usually be found making mixtapes or digging in her garden.