Info For Nonprofits

Free Wireless Internet for a Year: Take Part in Mobile Citizen’s “Enabling Programs and Results” Campaign


Interested in free wireless Internet for a year for your nonprofit? Mobile Citizen is looking for a few NTEN Members to participate in their Enabling Programs & Results case study campaign!

Nonprofits selected to participate in the campaign will receive one free wireless Internet account and modem for one year.  Over the course of the year, Mobile Citizen will work with the nonprofit to document experiences and results, seeing how wireless Internet helped the organization improve efficiency, productivity, communications, or their ability to provide community outreach. Case studies will be promoted on Mobile Citizen and NTEN’s website as well as included in a webinar later in the year. 

To nominate your organization for the campaign, and to learn more about how nonprofits across the country are already leveraging wireless Internet, go to: Deadline for nominations is April 30. 

Also, don’t miss our upcoming webinar on April 22: Leaders Leveraging Wireless: 10 Ways to Lead by Leaving Your Desk. Michelle Warner, Director of Mobile Citizen, will challenge your thinking on ways to leverage wireless technology in each area. Attendees will learn 10 concrete examples, and specific best practices and success stories from nonprofits around the country.  

New Report Shows Largest Increase in Charitable Giving Since the Recession

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Should nonprofits be less panicked now that the latest report by Blackbaud report shows that charitiable giving is finally up for nonprofit sector since the recession? While this trend is good news for the sector, don't throw a big bash to celebrate this milestone just yet. As Amy Sample Ward and I discuss in our book Social Change Anytime Everywhere there are over 1.6 million organizations in the United States. This means that there are hundreds or even thousands of organizations working on similar issues with similar names and missions competing for donor dollars. It's time for nonprofits to start diversifying their revenue streams all year round.

As Steve MacLaughlin puts it:

“Nonprofits have many opportunities to diversify their giving throughout the year so they aren’t so dependent on year-end fundraising. As evidenced by giving days like #GivingTuesday and end-of-fiscal year campaigns in June, nonprofits have the opportunity to drive donor behavior by shifting their fundraising strategies.”

#GivingTuesday saw an immense growth in 2013, as evidenced by Craig Newmark's recent infographic, Cracking the Crowdfunding Code. Check out these key findings from the 2013 Charitable Giving Report:

  • Online giving (13.5%) grew more than overall giving (4.9%).
  • Small orgs saw the greatest increase in online giving.
  • Faith-based organizations experienced the most online giving of all the sectors.
  • It's ideal for your nonprofit to implement a monthly giving program.


Nonprofit Media Relations—Not JUST Relationships

Getting Attention! -

Guest blogger, Patricia Brooks guides client orgs to reach and motivate people through traditional and new media sources. She’s a 24/7 newshound and loves to match the right story with the right journalist.

As a media relations expert, the question I’m most often asked is whether I have strong relationships with reporters. And many are taken aback when my response to that question is often a polite version of, “I can name drop until I am blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean that I can guarantee those journalists will cover your organization.”

In fact, I believe that most name-dropped journalists would be insulted if they thought I was financially profiting by implying that they chose story ideas because of my relationship with them. Yet, media relations professionals are constantly selling or being forced to sell this relationship idea.

Let me be clear—My relationships are not the key to what defines my accomplishments in public relations. Instead, I think these three traits are more vital than relationships and yield better results—look for them in your media relations staffer or consultant:

  • Knowledge of what journalists want—a good story.  A good publicist understands that if you want news coverage, it comes down to understanding what reporters need.  Journalists want timely hooks, professionalism, conflict, strong and compelling sources, real-life examples, reliable data, and brevity. 
  • Persistence.  I don’t mean bugging the journalists on their personal mobile at 5:00 on Friday.  I mean diligently working on different angles and adjusting as you go based on feedback.  We hear the word “no” over and over again, yet do not give up. We are problem solvers, willing to try new approaches to get results.
  • Modesty. An effective media relations professional listens more than she speaks. She observes the media and social media closely for trends and new story ideas, and—perhaps most importantly—keeps your media coverage expectations real.

While it can be argued that “relations” is in the name of the field media relations, I often believe it is misunderstood. I prefer to view media relations as “how your organization relates to your desired audience through the media” rather than “if you are friendly with those currently covering that beat.”

This is my opinion. I know it’s controversial, and I’m eager to hear yours—What do you think?

 P. S. Get Getting Attention in your in-box! Register now to get nonprofit marketing tips, templates & tools delivered directly to you.

P.P.S. More Media Relations and Press Guidance


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The 13th Issue of NTEN: Change is Out - "Competitive & Innovative Nonprofits"


When the words of our quarterly theme, “innovative and competitive” come to mind, I think about what we can learn from farmers.

To enjoy the fruits of our labor, we need to be flexible and responsive to external conditions, and have the patience to see it through to harvest. You can’t rush nature, but you can set yourself up for success.

The articles in the March issue of the NTEN: Change journal capture stories of nonprofits in transition; they’re transforming from one stage to another, using technology to fuel their campaigns, initiatives, and to optimize their day-to-day work.

>>Read the March 2014 issue! (online or mobile device)
>>Download the PDF version (12.6 MB)

Here's a quick snapshot of what's in this issue:

We also go behind the scenes with Ask Big Questions and Text, Talk, and Act, and Bonnie McEwan explores the campaign tactics behind PETA’s campaign against SeaWorld.  We converse with the team from the Ashoka Empathy Intiative and DataKind demonstrates how data can, in fact, save lives.

Plus, check out 15 Minutes to Better Website SEO, and the NTEN Voices section: community tweets, our transition to become a community-driven organization, sustainability, and more!

>>Enjoy, and subscribe! The NTEN: Change publication, designed especially for busy nonprofit executive directors, departmental directors, boards, and other leadership staff, is free and ready to download!

True to its name, the Change journal is changing. We’re proud to welcome new Editorial Committee members, and introduce Ashley Paulisick, the artist behind the cover painting. Look inside to learn the story behind the cover portrait, a tribute to Juanita Baltodano, President of the APPTA Fair Trade cacao and banana cooperative in Costa Rica. She is the real farmer that brought inspiration to this issue – even age-old farming practices can be revitalized for broader community impact.

Interview with NTEN's Community Program Coordinator


NTEN's newest team member, Bethany, is focused on our community programs, including the Communities of Practice and Tech Clubs. This month's theme is building community, on and offline - a perfect time to interview Bethany about her inspiration for working in nonprofit technology and more!

1. How did you first become involved with the NTEN community?

I don’t love the term “accidental techie” but I certainly didn’t start my career with the notion that technology would end up playing such a large part in my work. Like a lot of us, I got labeled the go-to geek simply because I was good at formatting in Word and laughed at the “It’s a UNIX system…” line in Jurassic Park. Being good at Excel formulas led to being good at SQL. Being able to clean up HTML led to successful fiddlings with CMSs and CRMs.

I started down this road out of necessity, out of “not it!” I continued because I appreciated the efficiency and effectiveness tech could bring my organizations. I keep at it because there are so many ridiculously interesting things to learn and problems to solve. Recent tech adventures include things like soldering and learning how to code with mentorship groups like the PyLadies. Tech lets me be creative.

I discovered NTEN and the nptech community about four years ago. It was like looking around and realizing, not only is there an entire buzzing ecosystem right under my nose, but it has been there the whole time!

I got involved with Oregon’s 501 Tech Club/Net2 Local Group PDXTech4Good shortly after I moved to Portland. Of course I cared about nptech, but I was new to town and wanted a way to find my place in the local community. Let me tell you: nothing brings an excited-but-shy person out of their shell quicker than having a role to play! This has been my favorite volunteer commitment by far. There are always new things to learn, people to chat with, and snacks to eat! And, co-organizer Ivan Boothe is an excellent role model and all-around Awesome Dude.

2. What are some of the lessons you've learned as a 501 Tech Club organizer?

Be gracious and have fun! As all-volunteer groups we have to take extra care to remember to appreciate and steward each other.

Don’t forget to build community within the organizing group. Don’t focus on tools! We know this. We teach this. But PDXTech4Good totally forgot this while planning last year’s November Thanks4Good community celebration. This was a neat event where we attempted to raise money for local organizers which use tech in neat ways. We accidentally got so caught up in how we’d collect money, for example, that we neglected to think about the strategy for getting donations in the first place. It wasn’t a total failure--we did raise some funds for our community--but we didn’t make it easy. Never forget to practice what we preach.

3. If you had to name one piece of advice for nonprofits about managing their online communities, what would you suggest?

Be real. Always go for the personal touch.

I used to help teach social media classes at Portland’s tech reuse and education nonprofit, Free Geek. In my curriculum I often used a screenshot of NTEN’s Twitter bio which notes the staff behind the account as a great example of showing the humans behind the brand. I tend to be pretty personal and casual in my outreach and communications and appreciate these qualities from others. I’m human and occasionally fall down the stairs and make typoes [sic]. I like cats AND I like nptech. I know being so open doesn’t work for everyone and all communities but, from my experience, I’ve been able to connect more easily by showing I am multi-faceted. Personal, direct emails and comments from personal accounts go a long way. Hand-written cards = golden.

4. What are you most excited about as you transition into your new role on staff?

I deeply value the support NTEN and TechSoup staff have given me as a Tech Club leader and am particularly excited for the opportunity to support other Tech Clubs, Communities of Practice, and other nonprofit nerds like me.

It’s particularly awesome that our community doesn’t just get excited--we take action. There are so many new groups developing in the post-NTC excitement! I’m particularly excited about the soon to be launched Women in Nonprofit Tech group. There also have been rumblings about community members potentially starting a Diversity and Inclusion-related group. These topics are near and dear to my heart and I am stoked to help our community do the good work we do.

I am so fortunate that as an NTEN staff member, I get to work with the community rather than simply work for the community. I’m really happy to be here! Let’s chat:

Reflections on 14NTC: Technology Experimentation and the Ad Hoc Open Source Society


Craig Sinclair Digital Media Manager Manhattan Neighborhood Network In the true spirit of collaboration, NTC attendees collectively stewarded an ad hoc open source society. Craig Sinclair reflects on his experience, why he supports the open source movement, and shares examples of open venues for experimentation.

Technological experimentation is often costly, and most nonprofits simply don’t have the budget for it. Following his Ignite presentation at the 14NTC, Craig Sinclair reflects on the ad hoc open source society that formed, and open venues start experimenting. 

SXSW: Do Good Dialogues on Social Change


This blog post originally appeared as an article on the Nonprofit Times’ website. Read the full article here

With more than 35,000 attendees at this year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas from March 7-11, attendees from the nonprofit sector are just one segment of the highly diverse SXSW attendees, which ranges from technologists, web developers, tech startup founders, and more.

Beyond the planned breakout sessions, plenaries, and events, attendee lounges such as the Beacon Lounge offer a space for attendees to connect and build synergies. Now in its 6th year, the Lounge has become a hub for discussion and offers insight into core themes for nonprofits at SXSW, and the intersection of social good and technology.

“In 2014, we have 58 more sessions under Global Impact and Policy than we had in 2013 under the three categories we used that year as themes for this type of content (Community and Activism, Diversity and Emerging Markets and Government and Civic Engagement),” said Tammy Lynn Gilmore, nonprofit evangelist at SXSW. Gilmore added that she did not know the badge sales this year, but indicated they would have an idea until later this month.

“You either know about it or stumble upon it. This is a place to collaborate, connect and relax,” said Eve Simon, creative director at Beaconfire and the driving force behind the Lounge. “For example, last year the mobile app startup Crowdshout sat next to a representative from, and got early access to its API [application programming interface], and they were able to launch six months later because they made this connection.”

“I definitely see more nonprofits here than in previous years,” said Brian Robick, director of IT and online communications, senior policy strategist at the ACLU of Washington, who is attending SXSW for the sixth time. “I found out new ways to apply things to meet our mission that might have seemed like they didn’t apply before [in the breakout session], but I got to bounce ideas off of others in the lounge.”

This year, the Beacon Lounge added some formalized programming, the Do Good Dialogues, consisting of 15 minutes of ignite-style discussions from people who are working in the nonprofit and social good sector. “Whether you are building a tech tool, or you’re a nonprofit, or designer, or media — most of what people focus on is building awareness and maybe engagement,” said Brian Reich, managing director at Little M Media, based in New York, who led the dialogues with invited attendees.

Do Good Dialogue speakers included: Lawrence Grodeska and Amanda Kloer,; Tammy Gordon, AARP; Brad Smith, WebVisions; Michael Slaby, nonprofit advisor; Eilene Zimmerman, New York Times; and Jason Ulaszek, UX for Good.

Three themes came out of the Do Good Dialogues, as explained by Reich:

  1. Technology for Social Good: “There are all kinds of uses for the technology that are being developed, particularly in the category of social good – from health to Millenials – that are not coming through because the people creating new technology are so narrowly focused on the task at hand,” said Reich.
  2. The User Experience: “There were a number of people who were talking about the human experience, or user experience,” said Reich. “People were curious about how to add value or realize value in real people’s lives.” Brad Smith, Executive Director of WebVisions, explains this as the “future of interaction.”
  3. The Future of Social Good: Integration of “social good efforts” was a big topic of discussion. “What will it take to get there, and why can’t we get the social good conversation integrated into everything else?” asked Reich.

“There’s always an opportunity for purpose,” said Michael Slaby, nonprofit advisor and former chief integration and innovation office at the Obama for America Campaign. “Everyone at SXSW has a role in solving complex humanitarian problems, and we are not likely to figure it out in a vacuum. The humility of “we are in process” is something that we need to embrace right now.”

Reflections on Drupal Day: Creating a One-Size-Fits-All Day for Nonprofit Professionals and Technologists


Stephanie Gutowski Special Projects Coordinator ThinkShout After an action-packed Drupal Day event at the 14NTC, Stephanie Gutowski shares her key takeaways for those looking to dive into Drupal.

How do you create a one-size-fits-all day for a large group of people, both nonprofit professionals and technologists, with a wide range of technical competency levels? I spent the last four months preparing for Drupal Day, a Drupal-centric, day-long workshop that ThinkShout coordinates as part of NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC). Here are my key takeaways for those looking to dive into Drupal.  

Open Source Feminism: An Intervention with Wikipedia


Sarah Mirk Online Editor Bitch Magazine The internet is powered by open source technology—exciting software that's built collaboratively from the bottom-up. Open source is meant to be free and equal, but then why do men continue to dominate open source sites like Wikipedia?

In February 2014, groups of artists and tech-savvy folks staged what called they called a “feminist intervention” to Wikipedia. The idea that technology is not neutral is a heavy one. Though the whole point of open source technology is that it’s made stronger and better through collaboration, actually figuring out how to use the technology is not an equal playing field.

Building a Supportive Environment for Your Online Community


Darby Burn Strong Flight Coordinator Little Bird To build a supportive environment for your online community, we should incorporate what we've learned from history, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy.

Building community is a sentiment that is bandied about a lot these days. Whether it is meant as an attempt to create a supportive environment where you live or mimic the same type of vision in an online setting, the motivation seems to be the same: to gather with other folks in order to achieve a set of goals that would be impossible to do alone. So, how might we create and nurture our digital communities by incorporating the lessons we’ve learned from history, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy?

Five Nonprofit Online Communities that Inspire Action & Generate Results


Michael Wilson CEO & Founder Small World Labs These five examples of nonprofit communities show the diversity of options and ideas for engaging people around a mission.

Creating an online community to mobilize your supporters and further your nonprofit's mission might seem like a big task.  What to do?  Where to start?  A simple way is to look at what your peers are doing.  This article looks at five examples of what some innovative nonprofits are doing with their online communities. 


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