I had a great time at the Nonprofit Technology Conference last week. This was my first year at the conference, and it was impressive. The conference provided me with many insights and ideas. I met a lot of people and the sessions were very informative. Now that I've had a few days to settle in after coming back from DC, here is a quick review of the conference.
The first session I attended was about Flickr for nonprofits. Most of the people in the room were new to Flickr. In the session, we were split up into five small groups to talk about different ways we can use Flickr. The topics discussed were how to use Flickr to foster community, how to use Flickr photos at events, how to use flickr in an organizational context, how to use Flickr images as a storing site, and getting started with Flickr. I joined the "getting started" group and we had a great conversation about simple steps for starting in Flickr and shared ways it could be used to support the work of each nonprofit.
On Wednesday afternoon, I was at the Science Fair where I had the chance to check out the more than 70 vendors at the conference. Here are a few things that I was interested in and might be of interest to you as well.
I checked out the Idealware booth and had the chance to meet Laura Quinn, Founder and Director. If you're trying to find the right software solution for your nonprofit, Idealware is a good resource.
ePhilanthropy foundation was also present. They have started accepting nominations for the 2007 International ePhilanthropy Awards. You can choose from the following categories: Best Online Community Building, Best Integrated Online/Offline ePhilanthropy Campaign, Best Online Special Event Registration or Membership Campaign, Best Online Fundraising Campaign & Best Senior-Friendly Website Design. Click here to nominate your organization.
I also stopped by the Techsoup booth and they are also a great resource on nonprofit technology.
There were many other vendors and resources that I didn’t mention. See the whole list here at the Nten website.
Formally kicking off the NTC was David Weinberger, co-author of Cluetrain Manifesto and blogger at Joho the Blog. Even though he had the flu, David gave an entertaining and inspirational speech.
According to David, the Internet is “ours” and we own it. The real change is not the creation of tools like blogs, wikis and tags but it is who controls what is interesting and important to us. In the offline world, everything has its place.
One example he used was blogs. He pointed out how a corporate blog was packaged and internally focused and was largely driven by links out. They were mainly focused on keeping people on their sites. True blogs work because they trust that if they send users away using links, those same users will return later to see where else the blog will point them.
Later that day, I attended the Screencasting session. It covered the basics of screencasting and there were many great suggestions offered. For example, map out the screencast before you film it, create a storyboard, organize files and write a script. Here are the slides from the session.
I also attended the Non-Profit Communications 2.0 session. The session pointed out that nonprofits are in a time when the value of an organization is to be a resource hub that helps people make decisions--where to volunteer, donate, work and advocate. It also showed that the work nonprofits are doing is social change. They can do that with electronic tools, but first and foremost they are building networks of human beings. An interesting book that the speaker recommended was Linked: The New Science of Networks, where the author discusses Network Theory. I've added it to my "books to read" list. The Netsquared blog has great notes on this session.
On Friday morning, I attended a session about Podcasting. The session was very interesting in that it showed how to create podcasts and record them. However, most of the questions were about why nonprofits should use podcasts and if there were examples of nonprofits using them.
Later in the day, I attended the Web 2.0 for Communities session. From the large turnout and the questions asked, it seems that nonprofits both large and small are searching for ways to engage and mobilize their constituents outside of the traditional website. One great example was the American Cancer Society. They took advantage of new tools to become more accessible and collaborative. The ACS began internally using tools like flickr, del.icio.us, and blogs. Blogging played a key role in reaching out to supporters and keeping them engaged with ACS events.
Finally, I attended the Widgets Session. One of the things that stood out for me was the large amount of really fun and innovative widgets out there. The session was quite organized and made a hard topic appear simple. It also took us on a tour of the best widgets for the nonprofit sector - conversation starters, widgets to spread organizational content, widgets to display availability and widgets for advocates. Sessions notes are posted here in wiki.
Beth Kanter has won the NTEN Prize for being a fantastic and amazing member of the nonprofit technology community. She was awarded this much-deserved prize for her extraordinary contributions to nonprofit technology - with generosity, with spirit, with wisdom and with passion.
As a token of appreciation, Beth was given lifetime subscriptions to Typepad and Flickr.
For more on the awards, Christine.net has great coverage.
NTC Flickr Photos
There are some great pictures from the NTC. If you took pictures and want to share them with the community, upload them to Flickr and tag them with 07NTC.
Take a look at the photos already uploaded.
Overall I really enjoyed the conference. I hope to be at next years NTC in New Orleans!
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