Friday, August 31, 2007

Women Rule Nonprofit IT!

NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network, announced yesterday that Holly Ross is taking over as the new ED. She is replacing Katrine Verclas, who has been appointed to the board.

This got me thinking that the three key national organizations - NTEN, TechSoup, and NPower - that focus on strengthening nonprofits' understanding and use of technology are all under new leadership and are all women run!

If you work for a nonprofit or care about helping charitable organizations to be more tech-savvy, then you MUST get involved with these three organizations.

NTEN is the vehicle for learning more about technology and discussing technology issues with like-minded people. They run excellent and affordable webinars, have well-trafficked list servs and run THE national nonprofit technology event each year. NTEN's new ED is Holly Ross.

TechSoup is the place for heavily discounted software from all of the major vendors, including Microsoft, Symantec and Cisco. They also have an incredible library of FREE articles on every technology topic. TechSoup's new co-director is Marnie Webb.

Finally, NPower Network - a 12-organization federation of local nonprofits (we are the affiliate in Greater DC) provides technology consulting and support to nonprofits. We do the actual work of helping you pick the right software solutions, upgrade your CMS, install a new network, etc. NPower Network's new ED is Barbara Chang.

Go team!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shameless Evangelizing


I'm wearing my NPower hat today! But it 's for a good cause! Really.

Is your nonprofit doing something cool with technology that is yielding measurable results? Then consider applying for the 2007 NPower Greater DC Region Technology Innovation Award, presented by Accenture.

Our annual Technology Innovation Award recognizes nonprofits in the Greater DC Region that are using technology to achieve greater impact in our community.

The winning nonprofit receives $2,000 in cash and a technology consulting, hardware and software package valued at $43,000.

Two runners-up also receive technology consulting, hardware and software packages valued at $20,000.

All three nonprofits are showcased at our annual Awards Luncheon on November 9.

Apply today! Deadline is September 7.

Contact me at 202-234-9670 or jocelyn@npowergdcr.org and visit our website to learn more.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Blog is Not the Dog



I was meeting with our fearless leader, Julie Chapman, the other day and she reminded me that "the blog is not the dog." (We talk a lot in metaphors around here.)

What she means is this. Technology, for example this blog, is just a vehicle (the tail of the dog). By itself, it's not important. It doesn't DO anything. On the other hand, raising more money, increasing membership and passing laws are real. They are examples of the dog.

This is easy to forget, especially when you work for a technology consulting company. We do tend to become enamored of the tools for their own sake.

The next time you're getting frustrated trying to perfect a new brochure, determining how to improve your website, deciding whether or not to launch a MySpace page or vetting a new software solution - take a step back. Ask yourself, what is the goal here? What are we trying to DO. And remember the TOOLS are just TOOLS. The important thing is to determine your goals. Once you do this, the tail(s) will come.

Monday, August 27, 2007

All I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

It's the first day of Kindergarten and that got me thinking about the similarities between Elementary School and the wonderful new Web.

I don't know about you, but one of the best things I learned in Kindergarten was to cut and paste. "What has that got to do with the Web," you ask? EVERYTHING - if you believe Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion. Here is what he has to say.

Imagine for a moment that you can take any piece of online content that you care about - a news feed, an image, a box score, multimedia, a stream of updates from your friends - and easily pin it wherever you want. Once clipped, you can drop the content on your desktop, an online start page like Windows Live or Pageflakes, “the deck" of your mobile device or even “a crawl” on your Internet-connected television.

This isn’t some far off vision. It’s the near-term future. It’s the coming era of the Cut and Paste Web.

According to Rubel, the new Web is about individuality and the ability to create your own collage. So rather than paint a static picture of your nonprofit, give your supporters the organizational colors, words, sounds and images they need to create their own unique montage.

For a great example of the Cut and Paste Web, check out the Give Love widget at right by Global Giving, new NPower ON! customer. They are SO SMART to incorporate these portable items into their marketing mix. By giving their supporters this slice of code - packaged up in this cute graphic - they are increasing the potential that their mission and message will spread.

To learn more about how to create a widget for your organization, visit SixDegrees.org and read Let's Go Widget Shopping on Beth's blog.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Show. Don't Tell!

Today, I'm sounding off about VIDEO.

A recent report by Pew Internet & American Life Project - a great source of information on how we are all using the Internet - says that 57% of Internet users watch video online and 75% open a video link that a friend shares with them. What does this mean for your nonprofit? Get your video out there!

The good news is that you probably already have a video. Rather than show it once a year at your annual event, post it NOW on the home page of your website. Better yet, add a link to it from your e-mail signature and tell people to check it out in your next newsletter.

This is a very easy and compelling way to tell your story. It's much better than the dense text on your Fact Sheet or in your organizational brochure.

Here is a powerful video to get you inspired. I had never heard of Central Dallas Ministries' Transition Resource Action Center until hearing Kartieaa's story. Now I'm a donor!



Got a great video to share? Send it to me and I will link to it.

P.S. For a nice overview of where to host your video and how to create one yourself. See this post by OnPhilanthropy.

P.P.S. Don't forget to check out NPower's video too!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Just Build IT!

I just got back from a meeting with Orysia Stanchak, Executive Director of YWCA National Capital Area, NPower board member and client.

I LOVE Orysia's gracious and hospitable nature. She exudes confidence and warmth.

Orysia's newest "baby" is a project called Washington Area Women in the Trades or WAWIT for short. WAWIT is a 12-week intensive, pre-apprenticeship program for low-income women to prepare them for careers in the construction trades. They graduated their first class this summer.
"I LOVE these women," she says to me as we watch her video. "This is a brand new start for them."
Thanks, Orysia and the YWCA for the work you are doing to eliminate racism and empower women. As always, we're privileged to be a small part of your success!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I Hate Technology!

While I LOVE the power of technology to make change, the technical stuff is maddening! One of the reasons I started this blog was to force myself to learn Google Analytics and a tiny little bit of Html code. Today, I'm trying to redirect my blogspot URL to the permanent home for this blog. And while the techies out there will laugh, it's taking me more than an hour to do this...

Technology IS frustrating unless you are hardwired in a very specific way. And I think for women in particular, it's something we struggle with. The good news is that all of these new tools out there are making it much easier and cheaper to master this landscape.

Carol Fennelly, Executive Director, Hope House, DC and self-proclaimed technophobe is a great example of a brilliant woman who is taking on technology. Carol's goal was to get out the word about the great work they are doing at Hope House, DC. Thanks to relatively inexpensive e-mail marketing tools, like Constant Contact, she is now regularly communicating with her supporters and gaining new supporters too.
Carol, thanks for encouraging us all to "just dive in!"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Web 2.0

Saw an interesting post on TechSoup about the first NetSquared Event. A group of folks were asked to speculate on which of the new web-based tools (wikis, blogs, social networking sites, RSS, etc.) are most useful to nonprofits.

While I am personally obsessed with blogs right now, I strongly agree with Bryan Nunez, Technology Manager, Witness. FYI, Witness just won the 2007 American Express Building Leadership Award for its efforts to train grassroots organizations worldwide to use video and online technology to publicize human-rights violations.
"I think it's more of the concept that has the most effect. I think it's the idea that people have opportunity now to represent themselves, and that's an umbrella concept that covers most of the technologies that are going to be discussed during the conference."
Embracing "Web 2.0" or two-way dialogue is more about the culture of an organization than its' tools. My frollleauge Alison Fine author of Social Momentum: Igniting Change in the Connected Age, explains it well. In a Web 1.0 organization, decision making is hierarchical. A few (usually white, male) senior staffers go off on THE ANNUAL RETREAT and return with marching orders. Conversely, in a Web 2.0 environment an organization OPENS the door for staff, volunteers, donors, clients and other key stakeholders to be a part of the decision-making process. Which type of organization do you work for?

Dream Big

I just finished Dream Big by Lisa Hammond aka The Barefoot CEO and Founder of Femail Creations. Her e-newsletter is Girl Talk.

Lisa created Femail Creations - a website and catalogue which showcases cool stuff by women, for women - and was recognized as a Small Business Association Business Person of the Year 1 year after being denied her first loan. What I love is her chutzpah and her willingness to "just dive in" sans business plan.

In marketing and in real life, I think it's important to meet people where they are. Including OURSELVES! Sometimes you can't determine where you are going until get going. And that's ok. This is also Julie Chapman's advice. She is my beloved boss and terrific mentor. Execution, i.e. getting stuff done, is more important than planning any day. So get ready, fire, then aim.

The Break Up

Check out this GREAT video by Microsoft which beautifully illustrates the problem with broadcast media. Note that the woman is the consumer. This is not incidental. According to Blogher research, women spend $5 trillion a year (U.S.) and control 83% of household spending.



I first saw the video on See3's blog.

I first saw the research on Maurene Caplan Grey's blog.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

2Blog or Not 2Blog



Here is a presentation I did with Qui Diaz, my dear frolleague (friend and colleague - Katya's word) on August 9. Qui has a great eye for design. Thanks to Beth for tagging it for the "np tech group" on SlideShare.

Community of Hope




Since I am not on the "front lines" everyday, I often forget how what we do here at NPower- provide technology consulting and support to other nonprofits - actually makes a difference in the world. This week Matthew Coffman, NPower Communications and Development Coordinator Extraordinaire and I took a trek out to Southeast DC to interview and shoot photos of our friends at Community of Hope Apartments.

It took 4 years to raise the money and renovate this old building but now it is home to 10 families working hard to start over again each day. What a privilege to play a very small part in their success!

How BLUE are YOU?

Qui Diaz inspired me to get out there and blog although she doesn't know it yet. Check out her musings at Evang.list.

YOU.

I LOVE that Time Magazine decided to make YOU and me and everyone on this big planet "2006 Person of the Year." (OK, I know this is old news but what can I say.)

If it's true that the internet is enabling anyone to be a writer, editor and publisher then it makes sense that WE are the levers for changing the world. Maybe the "great wo/man theory" is finally dead.

What do you think about power of the web to unleash ALL of our voices. Is this good or bad or both?

My Friends and Family Laugh

My friends and family laugh to think of me working for a technology consulting firm. How in the world did I ever land in the world of networks, servers and hard drives? Actually, the techie stuff is not what does it for me. Instead, I'm passionate about the power that technology can unleash once all of the infrastructure stuff is taken care of. I'm also passionate about showcasing and encouraging more women to use technology.

My goal for this blog is to experiment with this new landscape and see what it's all about. Can a blog really be a vehicle for making important connections, raising money, doing advocacy and other good in the world? Let's find out.