Tag Archives: NTEN

Non-profit Techies Unite

Do you know about local non-profit tech groups? They’re springing up, and you can find the local meetings of NTEN 501 Tech Clubs via the national organization for technology in non-profits, NTEN.

Although not an NTEN affiliate, CNTC is a Colorado group of both hardcore techies and non-profit newbies.

July’s CNTC topic was measuring social media.
Here are some of the highlights:

  • Trackle is like a search robot–it goes out to the web and searches for bits of text you specify. It’s like an RSS feed that searches more than just specified sites. A great idea for ‘listening’ to what’s being said about your organization.
  • Qwitter tells you who’s stopped following you on Twitter.
  • Steve shared his glossaries, linked to the left for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Here’s the invite to next Tuesday’s Colorado Nonprofit Technology and Communications (CNTC) meetup on “Open Government Data”:

      Much recent work been done in our nation’s capital, around open data and transparency. The city of Washington DC made lots of municipal data available in real time, and the Apps for Democracy program saw some real successes building on that. Similar efforts are underway in other cities across the nation, and at the federal level as well.
      What are some of the promises and pitfalls of this movement? What does it mean for Colorado?
      Tuesday, August 4th, 6-8pm, The Alliance Center (1536 Wynkoop Street, Denver, 80202) Snacks & parking available. RSVP here.

    It’s great to know there’s others out there! Anyone been to a similar meetup or signed up for a group like this?

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    Filed under Uncategorized

    Keepers of the Information

    Do we care enough to educate everyone? For those of us who work on issues of poverty and justice, and who have an eye on corporate greed (hmmm…that pool’s gotten bigger of late, eh?), the question raised in juxtaposition with ever-increasing technologies is a good one.

    This is the provocative message of Eben Moglen, attorney and open source software advocate for free speech who spoke at this year’s Nonprofit Technology Network Conference.

    NTEN has has generously posted their conference keynotes online–open source advocate Eben Moglen (and Clay Shirky).
    [blip.tv ?posts_id=2174179&dest=-1]
    Three minutes in, you may still be wondering why watching this is a good idea (unfortnately, no chapters or forwarding available), but I can say from my own personal experience at NTC ’09 that I went from wonder ‘Who is this stodgy professor?’ to ‘Wow.’

    As he says, “We do, still, you know, throw away most of the brains…most of the world’s children can’t afford to buy the intelligence…”

    It’s awesome of NTEN to share these! In the process of watching these today, I was able to play with blip.tv video site some more and learn how to embed a video to wordpress.com, so I learned yet a few more tricks, too!

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    Filed under Plan

    Losing Control…It’s a Good Thing!

    There’s already lots of info in cyberspace about how to be successful at using social media in non-profits.
    But before we can be successful, there’s still a major hurdle to get over.
    It’s control.

    turtle by tsakshaug

    turtle by tsakshaug


    The idea that we can control what’s out there about our organizations is one that’s come and gone.

    Here’s why we need to let go:
    Try searching for your organization and the word ‘sucks’ or ‘hate’. Or just searching for your organization’s name or mission.
    The BAD STUFF IS ALREADY OUT THERE.
    So, what will you do with this info?

    Will you use this as an opportunity to accept feedback and make change? Will you reach out to the offended customer and ask for another chance? Maybe, you’ll use this to implement what I call the ‘turtle assignment’–like asking the first-grader who’s out of control to be the one to take care of the classroom turtle, turning those negative energies into a positive contribution.

    There are some strategies to protect our brands, though:
    Have a goal so success can be measured. Measurements can be used over time to make the case to the powers-that-be that, yes, social media can be helpful in communicating.

    Create a policy–but not one that’s any different in principle or practice from your regular communication policy!
    WildApricot’s blog gives you lots of ideas for social media policy.

    At this year’s NTEN conference, keynoter Clay Shirky, (author of Here Comes Everybody reviewed here), gave his thoughts about what’s out there: “When bad things happen with your brand (and they probably already have), people no longer blame your organization. Control has already been lost.”

    And from one of the conference sessions on managing tech change (BTW, one of the co-presenters joined in via Skype!) come these notes about addressing your social media strategy internally:
    Who of your various staff are early adopters vs. laggards? The nay-sayers can sabotage new technology adoption.

    Why tech projects fail:
    lack of executive support, lack of user involvement, inexperienced project management, unclear business objectives, too large of a scope…..(The results of this survey, done every year since 2001, has never fundamentally changed.) People are obviously very critical to change!

    People not only want information, they want to be involved. Understand that change naturally creates anxiety; your people need a warning system and a grieving process for the old system.

    Tie your change to your mission.
    Not everyone thinks technology is cool; be sure you’re not implementing technology for fun. How will this tool help you magnify your impact, and by how much? You need a leader (buy-in necessary from the top level, but your champion can be someone else). Get engagement from all levels.

    And learn about getting started with some basic good practics from Deb over at CommunityOrganizer2.0:
    * Set up “listening posts” to monitor online conversations about your organization.
    * Buy your domain name, those related to your organization, and potential common domain name misspellings.
    * Create a blog so that your organization has a platform from which to issue its own stories.
    * Pick two social networking sites to join where your stakeholders hang out, and begin to converse with people there.
    * Create an organizational social profile on a handful of social networking sites. You don’t have to be active on them, but you’re ready to be if need be, and it will help increase your organization’s search engine rankings.

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    Filed under Making the Case

    Conference? Add some fun…

    Click below to see my PowerPoint overview with some ideas & links on integrating social media to conferences….

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    Filed under Marketing, Tool

    Evidently Even I Can Podcast!

    Podcasts are really just a way, like TV, of diplaying audio and video content. And iTunes is the TVGuide of podcasts.

    Podcasting for Nonprofits 101 is one of the workshops covered at NTEN’s National Technology Conference 2009–blowing all economic predictions out of the water with a record and 300+ over expectiations 1500 attendees. Hot, hot, hot!!
    podcast photo by the mrbrown show
    Flickr photo from Mr Brown

    So you want to do a podcast?
    Make a plan! Consider:
    Where will people be tuning in? Driving audience–more conduicive to audio. Urban subway–great format for video.
    What concise content will you cover? Remember that the adult attention span is short–think 3 minutes!
    So plan ‘mini-topics’; if you have sponsors, be sure to call them out in the beginning.

    Let’s get started!
    a href=”http://www.wearemedia.org/ntc+podcasting”>We Are Media Podcasting wiki describes (and links to!) the tools and software that can have you podcasting (or at least practicing) in 90 minutes!

    Audacity is the main sofatware you’ll need to download. If you have a mike, then you’re ready to begin. This follows along my earlier ‘intro’ post, but that was before I had the power of the tools in my hands!
    So, this is what you need to record. But there’s more–add video, edit, and post and share your podcasts–more to come, but this is a place to get started!

    As far as function, I am thinking of non-serial podcasts as a way to train volunteers, kick off a focus group or project, and to provide an organizational overview.
    Are there other tools or uses you’d recommend?

    P.S. If you’re hungry for more, or more details, Deb at Community Organizer 2.0 covered this same info in much more detail and knowledge!!

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    Filed under Tool

    Social Media Return on Investment

    Another in the NTEN/TechSoup Storytelling & Social Media series, today on measuring your investment in social media by Beth Kanter

    Metrics measure your investment over time by analyzing data. Usually we think of this as measuring overall payouts from the entire business. While this is worthwhile, it’s interesting to think of measuring just one component of a business and certainly makes the process of analyzing social media return on investment more difficult. But, it’s not impossible to be able to state the benefits and costs and savings, comparing methods and eventually getting to the bottom financial line.

    We’ve talked before about listening–or in web terms, ‘searching’–here. Most social networking sites, and some other entrepreneurial sites, offer ways to count, track, and find your organization and keywords. A great example of organizations using this process is Red Cross post-Katrina. People were talking, and Red Cross started listening. Because the staff saw what people were saying about them, they then realized they could use online tools to build relationships.

    If you pay for donor acquisitions, you’ll understand, and are probably already comparing the potential for lower costs of collecting contacts from social media interactions rather than purchasing lists.

    Measuring Your Web Appearances

    Author: Track your word counts–<350 words per post?; set a publication frequency that works for you, but be consistent. Tracking page visits is outmoded–there’s so much more meaningful data to collect!
    Unique Readers: FeedBurner explains how to set this measurement up; for example, there are more than 2000 feed readers and FeedBurner pulls data from all these. The more tools you’re working with online, the more portals through which people can find you and thus the more info you’ll have when you start measuring this traffic. Try searching delicious for your organization and counting individuals who have tagged your information.
    Engagement: PostRank assigns a number to the aggregate interaction around a ‘story’ or web post. This seems like a pretty advanced tool that would provide a positive ROI for organizations that are out there using multiple tools already. I’m not even quite sure what it does–this one I’ll put on the back burner for now.
    Authority: Technorati is a search engine for blogs; if your blog is registered there, it assigns a comparitive number based on readers, comments, etc. Yahoo has a similar search engine for your blog posts.

    By participating in the web and these measurement tools, you can get ideas for new programs, research your market base and increase connections to potential volunteers or donors. Compare the costs of conducting this research in the ‘old way’ to collecting this info via social media–this process can be translating into actual dollars. Numbers and stories–good ol’ quantitative and qualitative eval–make your point when selling the concepts of social media. Even WordPress tracks more specific visitor data right here on this blog. I have some posts that have received 100 views, others only a few. Those are the counts; examining why is the real ROI analysis.

    Have a goal, and count measurements that support this goal. You can use baseline measures–e.g. we have 12 Facebook friends–and measure change over time. Number of emails added to your database, greater number of people mentioning your organization online, number of subscribers to a blog–pick what to measure so you’re not spending more time measuring than participating in social media!

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    Filed under Making the Case, Plan

    TechSoup & NTEN Present: Creating a Buzz

    How do you promote your story?
    You need to first have trust in an online community before you can expect support for your message, or a viral spreading of a link to your website or info.

    Take the press release, for example. Once you send out a press release, it can live on. Post to your blog, insert photos for visual interest, add keywords & tags, and link to other content. Then, you can post to social news sites like mixx, reddit and digg, where you’ll link to your story, insert a title and an inviting description.

    Social News Sites
    Digg: Need to be an active digg user (10+ minutes a day) in order to build a network that follows you personally. Digg doesn’t have a group function. It’s largely focused on political and current news. Check it out–search for keywords relevant to your organization.
    Mixx: Not as many users, but you can establish a group for your organization where users can get your news stories directly.
    Reddit: A third option; you can post to one or all three, which will boost your search engine optimization. Reddit doesn’t have groups, so you’ll need to develop a following.
    There are also social news sites for different niches, like women. Propeller, Kirtsy, Newsvine and Tip’d are others; the more specific the niche, the more committed the readers are, in general.

    Starting Out
    The way to get involved in a social news site is to join and search and ‘vote for’ news stories. Stories with the most ‘votes’ appear on the site’s front page. You’ll begin to see frequent contributors or hot topics that you can begin to follow.

    For example, I searched digg for the keywords ‘travel cheap’ and it returned three articles tagged with those words. Interestingly, nearly 1000 people had tagged these same articles, and 50-250 people had commented on these articles. Posting articles to these sites becomes like a blog post and opens more avenues for starting conversations.

    Make it Easy!
    There are shortcuts and add-ins that will link you to social media news sites. You can add in buttons to your browser within seconds, and then you’ll be able to pick where you share your news stories.
    You can add these to your browser’s toolbar from any of the applications, and shareaholic is another add-in you can download.

    You can also post your diggs to your microblogging tools like Twitter for additional oomph.

    Social Media Bookmarking Tools
    Delicious, SocialBrowse and StumbleUpon are ways to share your lists of favorites. SocialBrowse is really for a connected community; this would be great for a virtual research project or a staff workgroup. They aren’t news sites, per se. StumbleUpon can really drive traffic to you, so joining is really recommended. These sites really underscore the importance of accurate and plentiful tagging. When users search for a term, they only find your information if you’ve included tags that match their search words.

    Thanks to Danielle Brigada of National Wildlife Foundation for today’s presentation. I echo her thought “If you don’t try these tools out, you won’t have an opportunity to learn from your mistakes!”

    Lastly, if your head isn’t spinning yet, check out this short article about a blogger’s trip to NY, all enhanced by social networking tools.

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    Filed under Marketing, Tool