Info For Nonprofits

Opinion: Why a Nonprofit Leader Embraces Virtual Currency – Philanthropy Today - Blogs - The Chronicle of Philanthropy

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Opinion: Why a Nonprofit Leader Embraces Virtual Currency – Philanthropy Today - Blogs - The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Opinion: Why a Nonprofit Leader Embraces Virtual Currency

The leader of a Twin Cities charity explains in a Star Tribune opinion piece why his organization has begun taking donations in Bitcoins and other forms of “crypto-currency.”

Takeaways for Communicators: Nonprofit Technology Conference (#14NTC)

Getting Attention! -

Today’s guest blogger, James Porter, is Associate Director, Development & Communications for the END Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to controlling and eliminating neglected tropical diseases.

9 presenters, 70 minutes, and 143 slides— those are the ingredients to a great #14NTCTakeaways!

Last week, 501TechNYC—the New York chapter of NTEN’s 501 Tech Clubs—met to recap the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference (#14NTC). Presenters spoke on topics ranging from online coalition building to storytelling.

So with that much content, what WERE the #14NTCTakeaways every nonprofit communicator needs to know? Here goes:

  • At #14NTC, people liked to tweet, a LOT. There were 24,505 tweets over the three days. The most tweeted topics of conversation were technology (no brainer), strategy, fundraising, social media, data, and community—all common themes among our presenters.
  • When it’s December 31 and your website is failing, keep calm and tech on. Don’t panic, triage!
  • Use Google Chrome’s User Agent Development Tools to mimic people’s browsers/devices.
  • Foundation Connect for Salesforce can help with the grant making process.
  • Nonprofits need to tell stories that are strategic and authentic.
  • “Franchise” online campaigns by empowering constituents to start their own campaigns.
  • Use the parent test when posting on social media—“Would my mom approve of this post?”
  • Don’t be afraid of using tools not built for nonprofits, especially if they connect to your CRM. If it helps with donor engagement, try it!
  • When building online coalitions don’t decide by consensus—have one or two people lead.
  • For nonprofit startups, using open-source technology can save money, and expand options for outside resources.

The #1 takeaway though, for both #14NTCTakeaways and #14NTC itself, is the importance of community! Without the great people willing to share their successes, failures, tips, and time, we wouldn’t be able to grow as a sector. It is often the informal gatherings and conversations that you learn the most from in the NTEN community, and others.

P.S. Get more nonprofit marketing tools, templates, case studies & tips delivered right to your in-box! Register here for the Getting Attention blog & e-news.

#14NTC Round-Up: Your Takeaways


The Power of Tech in Advocacy & Organizing14NTC: We came, we tweeted, we played with Legos. And then we took a long nap!

NTEN staff has finally recovered and we are positively overwhelmed with all the blog posts, videos, pictures, and other instances of the 14NTC celebration from the nonprofit technology community. Relive the conference experience and learn from many of the 2,120 attendees through this content round-up!

Did we miss anything? Please let us know in the comments. Also, check out the #14NTC Twitter hashtag and #14NTC community discussion forum.

Session Materials

Blog Posts

Media Articles



11 Nonprofit Professionals Share Social Media and Technology Advice for Nonprofits via Instagram Video, Nonprofit Tech for Good


14NTC Photos, Trav Williams, Broken Banjo Photography


Applications for the Nonprofit Tech Academy are due April 8


We still have a few slots available in our Nonprofit Tech Academy for spring 2014, but the application deadline is fast approaching.

Does the following sound good to you?

  • The chance to learn from and interact with dynamic and engaging faculty members, including Steve Heye of The Cara Program, Cheryl Contee of Fission Strategy, and Amy Sample Ward of NTEN
  • Weekly classes and a private online group where you can build your community of fellow nonprofiteers leveraging technology to create positive change
  • An intensive eight-week program that carves out space for you to dedicate brain power and time to a project or plan to ensure your organization is effectively using tech to meet your mission

If so, learn more and apply by April 8!

Thanks to the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we're able to offer the Nonprofit Tech Academy at no charge to qualifying organizations.

Here are the themes for the eight-weeks of the course: 

  • Week 1: IT Planning, Budgeting, & Implementation
  • Week 2: Managing Technology Change
  • Week 3: Information Management Systems
  • Week 4: Tech Project Planning and Technology Staffing
  • Week 5: Effective Internet Presence: Creating Your Online Strategy
  • Week 6: Social Media Strategy
  • Week 7: Tech ROI and the Future of Technology in Your Organization 
  • Week 8: Presentations of Final Projects

A participant in an earlier Academy said:

I thoroughly enjoyed the Academy and learned more than I imagined. I was very impressed with the caliber of experts and the diversity of presenters. I was initially very timid, because my knowledge base was low, but feel much more adept as a result of the Academy. Many, many thanks! I would highly recommend it to others!

We have limited space available in the upcoming class. Participants will be selected based on the guidelines and their commitment to full participation. To be considered, apply by Tuesday, April 8. If you have any question, send me an email!

Organizational Amnesia, Accountability Buddies, and Other Things I learned at the Grant Managers Network Conference

Beth's Blog -

March was the “Iron Woman Multi-Conferencethon” for me and I’m just catching up.   In mid-March,  I had a whirl wind day at the Grant Managers Network Annual Conference where I did the following:

I’ve captured some good notes, tweets, photos, and shared resources for each session, but here I wanted to dive into a few interesting ideas that bubbled up.

Organizational Amnesia

Roberto Cremonini used the term “Organizational Amnesia” referring to organizations that may not be measuring, documenting, and extracting learning from data and other artifacts.    This creates an organization of zombies doomed to repeating the mistakes of the past.     The term is a play on “organizational memory” which is defined as is the accumulated body of data, information, and informal learning created in the course of an organization’s existence or known as “Knowledge Management.”    There are two repositories: an organization archives – reports, data, and documented knowledge which is more and more in electronic format and individuals’ memories (if they are still working for the organization.)  Unfortunately, organizational memory is short, and without a way to capture knowledge and  learning, they become lost.

I found a blog post called “The Dangers of Organizational Amnesia” by Darcy Jacobson.  She points a few trends making our individual AND organizational memories shorter. “It is ironic that technology has provided us with phenomenal tools for communication and connection, but much of it has also sped up our work lives and made knowledge and memory at work much more ephemeral. Add to that higher rates of turnover and more mobility in organizations—particularly among younger workers. We find that there are fewer and fewer curators of “tribal knowledge” and more and more of our knowledge capital is at risk of slipping through the cracks.”

She references a paper from 2001 why organizational memory is important from Dr. Jeff Conklin from the CogNexus Institute and describes organizational memory into two types: formal and informal knowledge.  The former refers to things like manuals and documents, which he points out we tend to preserve very well.  But informal knowledge is the information we learn when we create that formal knowledge and is not always captured.    This idea and practice is further described in a paper and MIT study that asks “Are You Feeding or Starving Organizational Memory?

According to that study there are two important pieces to relationship-based memory that can be captured:

  1. Social capital: Time spent interacting on work tasks establishes a sense of reciprocity and trust among colleagues. This social capital encourages employees to turn to colleagues to get useful assistance or advice about future initiatives.
  2. Knowledge mapping: By working closely together, colleagues build an understanding of each person’s particular knowledge and skills. This understanding allows employees to seek out the right peers for information in the future.

My colleague, Eugene Eric Kim recently wrote a wonderful mini-rant, “Documenting Isn’t Learning.”  Documentation and learning are the treatment for organizational amnesia. He makes the point:

“Today, too many of us are fixated on digitally capturing our knowledge. That is the wrong place to start. We shouldn’t be so focused on externalizing what’s in our head in digital form. We should be looking at the problem the other way around — figuring out how best to get knowledge into our heads. That is the much more challenging and important problem.

How do we do that?

The number one thing we can do to help groups learn is to create space and time for reflection. How many of you take the time to do that with your groups?”

He went on to ask a provocative question, “What if, instead of spending so much time, energy, and money on trying to get people to share more information digitally, we assigned people learning buddies? What if we incentivised time spent in reflection and with each other?  What if we created systems for shadowing each other and for practicing the skills we need to be effective?  Wouldn’t those be better first steps toward facilitating effective group learning? ” Dave Gray called Eugene out to say that “The process of documenting is one of the most powerful ways of catalyzing learning.”  In response, Eugene set up a Google Hangout to discuss the question of learning today at 12:30 PST.

Accountability Buddies

This is one of the points of serendipity because during the workshop I did on using content curation for professional learning, Jen Bokoff shared the tip of having an “accountability buddy” – a trusted colleague who she checks in on about what they will accomplish each day or week. Would be easy to also add learning to this as well.

Just shared the value of having an accountability buddy like @Samuel_Hansen. Great way to stay motivated and focused! #GMN2014

— Jen Bokoff (@jenbo1) March 18, 2014

We also discussed ways that individuals could carve out time for more reflection or do what Eugene is suggesting above – to get more knowledge into our heads. Finding the time to reflect and learn is hard – and digital information isn’t the only challenge. One participant shared that it is difficult to work in open office spaces and they are trying the above cards to help minimize physical distractions. During the session, participants discuss some ways they plan to get more focus:

  • Don’t use mobile phone as an alarm clock to avoid checking e-mail or social first thing in the morning or last thing before sleep
  • Incorporate more movement into the day
  • Separate the “seeking and sharing” of digital information from the sense-making piece


During the keynote Q/A, there were many questions related to an organization’s social media policy and all staff participation and of course related to legal compliance. Although some questions can’t easily be answered with compliance or written policy as this recent presentation from the Nonprofit Technology Conference called “50 Shades of Social Media” by Debra Askansae, Farra Trompeter, Ashley Lusk, and Carly Leinheiser points out.

Finally, my colleague, Nathaniel James of PhilanthroGeek did an excellent session on social giving and philanthropy.



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