NTEN

2014 NTC Report: The Wins, The Fails, The Ideas for 2015

I can't believe that just one month ago we were wrapping up the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C. In the last month, NTEN staff have rested and recuperated (Jessica even traveled to China!), launched into planning and logistics for the inaugural Leading Change Summit (coming this September 3-6!), and debriefed a whole lot of the NTC. We also read through all of the NTC evaluations! Today, I have a full report back about what went well and what we want to improve, and even what we want to flat out discontinue.

I apologize in advance for the length of this post. We didn't want to split up these post-NTC conversations so have sacrificed brevity in the hopes of completeness. I'm excited to hear your feedback!

14NTC By The Numbers

We know you love data. Here's a run down of some of the numbers we were interested in about this year's NTC:

  • Registered Attendees in DC: 2,120

  • Speakers: 276

  • Online NTC Attendees: 71

  • Countries represented: 21

  • 14NTC tweets during the conference: 20,344

  • Karaoke songs with NTEN staff embarrassing themselves: At least 3

  • Links shared: 870 (on Twitter at least)

  • Photos: 1,145 Twitter photos, 190 Instagram photos, 66 Hootsuite photos

  • Videos: 25 Vine videos

  • Evaluations submitted: 422 conference evals, 1,473 session evals

  • Number of educational sessions: 108

  • Number of events in the agenda that were added to attendee schedules that were meals, beer, salons, awards, or plenaries: 42

The Wins and The Fails 

Spoiler alert: many of these topics and conversations can't be separated as simply a win or a fail. We found wins even in big fails and found opportunities for further improvement even in some of the big wins. So, we're sharing these with both/all angles together.

You: The Community

The community will never NOT be #1. Talk about generosity. From the legacy of volunteers who have created a separate note-taking doc for every single session, to those of you who agreed to be on camera in between sessions and say hello to the OnlineNTC participants, to the number of you who gave constructive feedback through our conference and session evaluations (and via phone call...and Facebook thread...and over cotton candy at the Geek Games…), the generosity of NTEN community members is almost overwhelming.

Part of our decision making process when thinking about the NTC - from the name badges to the menu to the signage to the microsite - is finding ways for all those who've been in the NTEN community for a while and even been to the NTC before to meet up and have fun, as well as create just an inviting and welcoming space for those fresh to the community and the conference. We don't always succeed. It is inevitable that we say something that sounds a bit too "had to be there", or includes components to the agenda that aren't fully explained to a new attendee. We hear this feedback and will continue to work on improvements.

As one of you noted in the survey:

My favorite thing about the conference is how open to sharing everyone there is. As a consultant working for an agency, sometimes there can be some issues with sharing "institutional knowledge" but all of the presenters I saw -- orgs and agencies alike -- were totally open and honest and it is a delight to be in that kind of company.

Side note: This is one reason we feel comfortable asking the speakers to share their slides publicly ahead of time. We know this is a little unusual, but so many people walked up to us to thank us for this. “I couldn’t decide which session to attend!,” they’d say, or “I can’t wait to share the slides from the breakout I just attended with my team back at the office.” You can find most of the session materials here: http://bit.ly/14NTCresources.

Science Fair

For the first time, we stretched the Science Fair over two days, giving you the chance to speak with more than 152 organizations and vendors. We heard from so many people about how they found their dream vendor at the NTC, or weren't even sure how to get started on a critical project until they had a conversation at a booth. We expanded the Science Fair to be over two days with the intention that it would enable both attendees and exhibitors to attend sessions together, start a conversation, and then head back to their booth to keep talking. We totally failed in delivering a clear enough message to exhibitors that they really could leave their booths and enjoy the rest of the conference, whether in sessions or meals or just simply walking the hallways. We've already made notes in our agenda planning, exhibitor resources, and other communication templates to make these options and times as clear as possible.

We also heard and very much experienced ourselves the frustrations and limitations of the physical space housing the Science Fair. Although many attendees reported enjoying a larger venue and especially having the NTENer Center in the middle where they could find people and walk the aisles from, it was an underwhelming experience for many exhibitors to say the least. Please know that we take this feedback extremely seriously, have already voiced your and our feedback with the hotel, and want to do all that is in our power to make the Science Fair, well, awesome - for everyone.

Despite some of the restrictions of the Science Fair reported, when asked about your favorite moments of the conference, here were just two replies of several:

As always, the Science Fair is tremendously helpful for our organization to hear ideas and start forging/reinforcing relationships.

Visiting all of the trade show booths. It was interesting to see the wide variety of technology companies and what they offer.

Guts and vulnerability

With all of that generosity on display, we’d have to be robots not to show a little emotion. We took time as a group to remember the irreplaceable Bob Russell, we cheered for all of the other award winners, and we laughed and cried watching the finalists for the DoGooder Video Awards.

And as we read through the evals, we lost track of how many people gave Sue Anne Reed props for her deeply personal Ignite talk. Here’s just one:

Sue Anne's Ignite. I knew she had worked long and hard on it, and it was a huge leap for her to do it. She rocked it, and it rocked me. I was so proud of the community for being a place that she felt comfortable sharing her story and that it was a place of support for her.

Whew...for a “technology conference,” this certainly is a heart-fest. On the flip side, we recognize that so much personal story telling and familiar sharing can be a lot to take in at a conference, especially as a first-time attendee. Although it can be a difficult balance, we are dedicated to listening to your feedback and creating a conference that provides opportunities for all the ways we want to talk about our work and ourselves.

Ignites

In 2013, you told us loud and clear that these talks were placed too late in the day and stacked against too many other offerings. We also wanted to build a plenary line-up that showcased diverse voices and ideas throughout the conference. So this year we placed these during our plenary kickoff on Day 1, with six community members sharing their five-minute talks instead of a single presenter. We are so happy we listened to you, and from the responses to the eval, it looks like you were, too:

I enjoyed the ignite sessions - something for everyone, delivered in a manner which differing individuals could absorb in their own way.

The opening plenary was wonderful - a big surprise for a tech conference. I realized that NTEN focused on people, not just technology, and I felt very welcome.

Want to re-live the magic? Watch Rich Dietz, Steve Heye, Leanne Pittsford, Craig Sinclair, Sue Anne Reed, and Cheryl Contee light up the room. We are also always interested in your feedback and suggestions for creating valuable conversations and sparking new ideas during the plenaries, some of the only times that so many in the community can be in one room together. 

Presenter Combinations

One bucket of feedback we've heard and felt in the past is that the NTC is a valuable platform for many voices in this community - from people that have never had an opportunity to professionally present but have lots of great ideas and experience to share, to community leaders who many are eager to hear from. We are constrained to some extent by the physical venue's room numbers and the recognition that the more sessions we offer at each time slot the more frustrated attendees are that they can't clone themselves. In an attempt to provide both returning speakers and new voices to the NTC stage a chance to present this year, and as a response to the vast number of session submissions by different people that were incredibly similar (for example, there were 5 that even used the same words in the title!), we accepted sessions with the clause that they collaborate. 

In some instances, this didn't work. Flat out, fail. But in many instances, it brought together people who hadn't otherwise known each other or at least hadn't worked together to create a more dynamic session, where attendees were able to hear from more than one experienced presenter, and really create a valuable addition to the agenda. We heard great feedback about the successful sessions and critical feedback about those that didn't go well. 

We still believe that sessions with more than one viewpoint are important, especially on the topics covered at the NTC. We will be working with the steering committee to have clear suggestions and context in the session submission form for 15NTC, and will have a much closer touch with all speakers well in advance of deadlines this year to support collaborations and help presenters design great sessions.

Registration

Can I take this opportunity to share, again, that this year's NTC was the biggest one yet? We had 2,120 attendees - that's a lot of name badges, tote bags, and "welcome to the NTC"s. Even with opening registration the day before the conference started, we were absolutely blown away by the number of people who were onsite and ready to check in. Usually, there are people who skip a day or two on either end of the conference so registration is heavy on the first day and then slows over the next two days. This year, we could have basically closed registration on the second day! 

We've heard great feedback about the ability to scan, print your badge, and head off to sessions or food or networking. So, in 2015, we'll be setting up kiosks to allow attendees to walk up, self-help style, and be on their way. We will also separate the stations for name badges, totes bags, and questions or support to make those long lines disappear (or try to make them much, much shorter!). 

Scholarships

At the risk of repeating one word too often (ahem – starts with “G” and rhymes with “schmenerous”), the NTEN community contributed over $33,000 to our NTEN Challenge fundraising campaign, which, in part, allowed us to help make the conference more affordable for 50 attendees. This is just a start, of course, and we are very much interested in other ways to create accessible entry points for all those that want to participate.

One recipient wrote to us after the conference:

Wanted to thank the NTEN community for providing scholarships to the NTC. Because of which I was able to attend, connect with peers and subject experts, as well and refresh my perspective leaving with some pretty awesome tools and resources.

In case you’re feeling moved, you can always donate to support conference scholarships and membership access to those who would otherwise not be able to afford to participate.

The OnlineNTC

This year, with the generous support of Salsa Labs, we were able to broadcast all three plenary sessions and 13 breakouts, along with several exclusive interviews. We had over 70 people tune in live from offices and homes near and far, and were lucky to have BJ Wishinsky, Beth Johnson, and our own Bethany Lister (who’d started on staff one week prior!) co-hosting.

By streaming sessions and scheduling interviews while those onsite are mingling in the hallways, it is our hope that those joining online can have a chance to connect and network, and benefit from some of the great content in the sessions. We recognize, though, that we can continue to improve here. We would love to be able to stream (and thus record) all of the sessions! That comes with a pretty big price, either offset with additional sponsors or many more registrations. We'll be working on plans for 15NTC to investigate options for expanding the streaming/recording capacity. 

The Internet, Always

You've broken it every time. With all of your check-ins and photos, work email and online agenda checks, there's never enough bandwidth. This year, we had more than double the bandwidth (plus a backup reserve!) as last year. We thought we'd finally have an NTC with perfect wifi (though, to be fair to ourselves, we had a fear it wasn't achievable). Despite our best efforts, the wifi still went down a few times during the conference. It also was down for the computers at registration (though not the badge printers!). Staff and contractors were ever vigilant on the uptime status and even when it went down, they were already working to get it back up. We have tons of data from this year's usage and you can bet that it is a huge part of our conversations with future venues.

The Conference Guides

If you’re going to bother spending money and using paper to print a guide, you want it to be really, really useful – almost to become an extension of someone’s arm throughout the event. And if you’re going to spend time investing in a new tool for your online schedule and integrate it with your conference community platform, you want that to become everyone’s mobile phone home screen for the week. Overall, we were proud of the print guide, with its handy pull-out map and chronologically ordered sessions—shout-out to our Marketing and Publications Director, Joleen Ong, and our talented, thoughtful designer Philip Krayna!—and pleased with Sched.org, which we used for the online guide.  

We kept a close eye on the data for the MyNTC microsite (looking at how many people activated their profile, connected with other attendees, posted messages) and Sched.org (looking at how many people created an account, managed their schedule, which sessions were getting RSVPs) and think we have some data-informed insight into areas that were hurdles, including the fact that Sched.org required a separate account from an attendee's NTEN profile credentials. We also heard from many attendees about ways to better highlight certain aspects of the agenda and feature valuable content about logistics on the site. 

The Unsung Heroes

There are a whole bunch of humans behind the scenes who help the staff stay on track, the meals start and end on time, the name badges print with attendees’ titles of choice, and so much more. Huge thanks to Steph Routh and Max Ward, both of whom were behind the tech table during the plenaries each morning; NTEN Colleague Emeritus Mimi Cook, who can juggle tasks and sing "Sweet Caroline" like nobody's business; our A/V contractor Mike Towers; the good people of Brede (one attendee wrote in her eval: "Brede service desk was very helpful - especially given that we were not using them!"; Dave from ExpoLogic (who made sure your name badges were printed swiftly and who fielded tons of questions unrelated to his job, by virtue of being placed behind the registration desk); Trav Williams, our photographer; Brady Richards, a friend of the NTEN family who designed that awesome Nerd Bingo shirt; and the staff at the Marriott Wardman Park.

The fail on our part here? Making sure we find as many opportunities as possible to thank everyone contributing the NTC's success as often as possible, in real-time, and very publicly. This post is the least we can do, and we will keep saying thank you!

The Opportunity to Move Forward...Together

It’s always a little wistful to pack up the boxes and head back to our offices, but we find inspiration and enthisasm knowing there's so much more we can do together the rest of the year and beyond!

And, that's not even all. We have gathered so much great feedback from the evaluations, our own experiences, and from many post-conference calls and emails. We are so thankful that we have the opportunity to work with and serve such a passionate and engaged community. Thank you! We can't wait to see you all soon!

Volunteering in (Belated) Honor of National Volunteer Week!

On April 16, the NTEN team in Portland spent the afternoon volunteering at Schoolhouse Supplies, in belated honor of National Volunteer Week. Schoolhouse Supplies is a nonprofit based in northeast Portland that helps to serve classrooms in need by operating a volunteer-run Free Store for Teachers, which is stocked with donated supplies.

Working with Schoolhouse Supplies’ Volunteer Coordinator, Sara Yellen, and Free Store Coordinator, Barb Burwell, we rolled up our sleeves, sorted through the boxes of donated supplies, and helped to tally it all up. For accountability purposes, Schoolhouse Supplies counts every single product that is stocked on their shelves (down to the last pencil cap eraser) and every product that goes out.

It was a trip down memory lane to see all of the colorful, glittery (and small!) supplies that are used by grade schools today. A lot of the items we unpacked came from big department stores like Fred Meyer, where the packaging might have been slightly worn and deemed unsellable. Here are some photos of favorite finds:

Photos clockwise from top left: A Justin Bieber composition book, held up by Barb Buswell and cameo of Program Coordinator James Sigala; a pen with mechanical cheerleader pop-pop arms, Sponsorship & Development Coordinator Eileigh Doineau’s top pick; CEO Amy Sample Ward tallying up the number of colorful pencil cap erasers; 4) "Having a laugh," as they say, with James Sigala and Operations Director Jessica Holliday.

Of course, it wouldn’t be any fun at NTEN if we couldn’t dish on some data. Collectively, we tallied thousands of school supplies. These were the top items we tallied:  

  • 605 pencils
  • 545 pens
  • 165 folders
  • 157 Sharpies markers
  • 153 boxes crayons
  • 113 dry erase markers 
  • 113 eraser caps
  • 103 spiral notebooks

If you’re based in the Portland area, we strongly recommend you volunteer at Schoolhouse Supplies: www.schoolhousesupplies.org

Our remote NTENners also volunteered on Wednesday! NTEN’s Education Manager, Julia Smith volunteered at Upwardly Global in Chicago, where she did mock interviews. Upwardly Global helps immigrants to rebuild their professional careers in the U.S.  Julia was paired with another "interviewer," who was a woman transitioning from an IT background into nonprofit program delivery, and together they interviewed a former professor from South Africa who was trying to get more involved in curriculum design and research in the U.S.

If you’re in the Chicago, New York, or San Francisco are, check out volunteer opportunities at Upwardly Global: http://www.upwardlyglobal.org/

NTEN’s Membership Director Megan Keane in San Francisco helped to manage the One Brick volunteer event at a small nonprofit called At the Crossroads (ATC), which does outreach to homeless youth. Megan’s volunteer group was divided into different stations to help with supplies that the counselors use for their clients: folding clothes, putting together snack and candy bags, toiletry kits, and more.  We put this photo of Megan doing a hand stand post-volunteering because… it’s so Megan!

If you’re in the San Francisco area, you should volunteer at ATC or with One Brick. One Brick also has volunteer opportunities across the U.S. – check it out: http://www.onebrick.org/.

 

NTEN’s IT Director Karl Hedstrom had the most challenging task of all – childcare! Karl “volunteered” after his nanny had called in sick to take care of his son, Parker. Luckily his yellow lab Nali, pitched in. Hope you all enjoy this gem of a photo.

Also, in case you missed it, check out the blog posts from last week where we tipped our hats to the volunteers that make NTEN's work possible: Community of Practice (CoP) leaderscommittee members501 Tech Club leaderscommunity champions, and of course, our board members. Thanks again to all of you who make NTEN's work truly valuable to the entire community!   

How to Plan a Mobile App Project

Matt Blair Software Developer Independent What are some of the major things to consider when designing a mobile app? From determining whether to do a native app or mobile web, to defining content, to thinking through revenue and donation options - learn what your nonprofit should be thinking of if you're planning to create an app in the near future.

Over the past four years, I've worked on more than a dozen native apps for iOS. In this article, I'll share a few insights gained through my work on three nonprofit apps:

Connecting Healthcare to Underserved Communities with Crowdfunding & Mobile

In Nepal, an estimated 75 infants and 12 women die in childbirth every day, many of them needlessly due to inadequate care. The problem isn’t care. It’s coordination. Hope Phones by Medic Mobile and Samahope are working together to bridge that gap.

In Nepal, an estimated 75 infants and 12 women die in childbirth every day, many of them needlessly due to inadequate care. The problem isn’t care. It’s coordination. Learn how Hope Phones by Medic Mobile and Samahope are partnering to further One Heart World-Wide's mission to ensure that more women give birth safely.

Mobile for Good: How Mobile Wallets Will Transform Fundraising

Heather Mansfield Blogger Nonprofit Tech for Good What is the potential for mobile wallets on processing payments and fundraising? It not just the convenience of swiping. Learn more in this excerpt from the new book, "Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits."

More than any other mobile payment processing technology, mobile wallets have the greatest possibility for transforming fundraising, but the technology and its implications are not well understood in the nonprofit sector. Learn more about opportunities for nonprofits in this excerpt from the new book, Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits

Thank you for your 14NTC feedback!

Thanks again to everyone for being a part of the 14NTC! It’s our community that made the conference such a rich experience—and it’s your feedback that will make the 15NTC even better. We take all feedback seriously and appreciate the time you took to give it. Thank you.

Shouts out to Lauren Girardin and Jen Newmeyer, our randomly selected winners from the pool of submitted conference and session evaluations. They both will receive shiny new Surface Tablets generously donated by Microsoft. And, hooray to Shumway Marshall who won the speaker raffle for free 15NTC registration.

Is it “Mobile First” or “Content First”?

Kristina Halvorson CEO Brain Traffic Mobile is simply one more way to connect to your audiences through content. Without powerful, useful, usable content, channels don’t matter. Mobile doesn’t matter. You have to get your content right, and that requires content strategy.

“Mobile first!” It’s a phrase we often hear … but what exactly does it mean for your organization? Do you redesign your website to be responsive? Build a standalone mobile app? And—no matter what—how can you execute “mobile first” without compromising your messages and calls to action?

Last-Mile Impact Measurement: Mobile is the Way

Heather Franzese Executive Director Good World Solutions Four nonprofits are leveraging mobile technology to measure the impact of their programs, and hear from their remote beneficiaries that may not have access to the internet. Learn how they're implementing this technology, and the five lessons learned so far on how to maximize participation.

Why use scissors to cut the grass when you can use a lawn mower? In the world of impact measurement with remote beneficiaries, mobile is the new lawn mower. Four nonprofits are leading the way in leveraging mobile technology to hear directly from remote beneficiaries. While each has a very different mission, all have the shared goal of hearing directly from their beneficiaries about whether their work is working, and mobile enables them to do it. 

Is it Mobile-Friendly or Mobile-Optimized?

Dale Knoop CEO RAZMobile Getting donors to support your cause is the hard part! Make sure you don't turn donors off by having a donation form that isn't user friendly on all devices.

There is a huge difference between “mobile-friendly” and “mobile-optimized” sites.  An easy-to-complete donation form experience allows users to give again–and hopefully become loyal, repeat donors, while a frustrating experience could lead them to never try again. Ever.

How Women Lead the Trend Towards Social Media Use via Mobile

Alex Hillsberg Journalist FinancesOnline A new infographic on how women use social media provides statistics on how they lead the way.

The latest studies on social media demographics show what we’ve already known for a long time: women dominate social media use. Consolidating data from the studies by Pew, Nielsen, and Burst Media, a recently published infographic compared how men and women are changing the social media landscape. Two critical things caught our attention: more women access social media via mobile and they drive more traffic to visually-oriented social websites.

NTEN Celebrates National Volunteer Week: So Many Thanks to Our Board Members

This week is National Volunteer Week! You've probably seen the posts all week on the NTEN blog as we recognize and appreciate the tremendous amount of energy, passion, and action that SO many individuals in the NTEN community contribute to help us as an organization and to ensure that this is a thriving community for all. To round out our full week of gratitude to all those that support us, I want to share a very heartfelt thank you and virtual hug to those individuals helping us stay true to the needs of the community, set high goals for our work, and ultimately set the course for all that we do: the NTEN Board of Directors.

You may have met board members at the recent NTC, or at a monthly Tech Club meeting. You may know them from their work and contributions to the sector. Or, maybe this is the first time you're seeing their name. Whether they are old friends or new ones, please join us in thanking all of them for their volunteer service year-round in support of NTEN!

NTEN Board of Directors

Thank you all for your dedication and service:

  • Agnes Zach, Executive Director, Willamette Valley Development Officers
  • Almin Surani, Chief Information Officer, Canadian Red Cross
  • Amy Borgstrom, Associate Director of Policy, Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Edward G. Happ, Global CIO, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • Eileen Twiggs, Healthcare, Information Technology, and Legal Consultant
  • Gayle Samuelson Carpentier, Chief Business Development Officer, TechSoup Global
  • Jereme Bivins, Digital Media Manager, Rockefeller Foundation
  • Katya Andresen, CEO, ePals
  • Maddie Grant, Digital Strategist; Lead Editor, SocialFish
  • Miriam Barnard, Organizational Development and Fundraising Strategist
  • Nancy Schwartz, President, Nancy Schwartz & Co.
  • Rusty Burwell, Vice President, Data and Technology, American Lung Association
  • Steve MacLaughlin, Director of Internet Solutions, Blackbaud

Science Experiment: A Semi-Technical Lowdown on Working with iBeacons

Shane Russell Software Developer Consultant ThoughtWorks iBeacons are the first mainstream technology to provide indoor location information to phones. Check out the experiment that the team at ThoughtWorks did to test the performance of iBeacons, and learn about its potential applications for nonprofits.

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Low Energy Bluetooth Beacons, also known as iBeacons. They’re the first mainstream technology to provide indoor location information to phones, and they’ve opened up an explosion of possible applications for nonprofits. We wanted to share our experience with how well they perform, and how best to work with them.

NTEN Celebrates National Volunteer Week: Kudos to Our Community Champions

This week is National Volunteer Week! To recognize the tremendous work of volunteers that support the nonprofit sector, we’ll be publishing a blog post every day this week to celebrate their contributions. Today we give a huge thanks to our mighty team of NTEN Community Champions: you helped to collectively raise over $30,000 for the greater good of the #nptech community!

These donations primarily helped to provide 50 scholarships to the 14NTC to nonprofit staff who would otherwise be unable to participate. It also went towards bringing in new members that may not be able to cover the cost of NTEN Membership; supporting our worldwide Tech Clubs with more materials to enhance their experience; and developing new programs and resources for NTEN’s growing community.

So today, we tip our hats to you. Thank you for your ongoing support and effort to make nonprofit technology accessible to a wider audience!

  • Debra Askanase, Founder & Social Media Strategist, Community Organizer 2.0
  • Jereme Bivins, Digital Media Manager, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Miriam Cook, Marketing Assistant, Ploughshares Literary Journal       
  • Maddie Grant, Lead Editor, SocialFish
  • Steve Heye, Manager of Technology, The Cara Program
  • Beth Kanter, Author, Beth's Blog
  • Allyson Kapin, Partner, Rad Campaign
  • John Kenyon, Nonprofit Technology Educator & Strategist, John Kenyon Consulting
  • David Krumlauf, Chief Technologist, Pierce Family Charitable Foundation
  • Andrew Means, Manager, Impact Measurement & Data Storytelling, Groupon
  • John Merritt, Senior Vice President & CIO, YMCA of San Diego
  • Laura Norvig, Online Community Manager, ETR Associations
  • Birgit Pauli-Haack, Co-Founder, Relevanza
  • Norman Reiss, Project Manager, Center for Court Innovation
  • Ash Shepherd, Strategy & Process, Minds on Design Lab
  • Jason Shim, Digital Media Manager, Pathways to Education
  • Farra Trompeter, Vice President, Big Duck
  • Chris Tuttle, Principal Consultant, Tuttle Communications
  • Cary Walski, Technology Education & Outreach Coordinator, MAP for Nonprofits
  • Robert Weiner, Owner, Robert L. Weiner Consulting
  • Richard Wollenberger, Director of Information Technology, Parents as Teachers

4 Strategies from 4 Mobile Trends

Kristen Gramigna Chief Marketing Officer BluePay Online giving is on the rise: how can you use the boost in mobile activity to its advantage? Learn four strategies to consider based on four trends in mobile.

In a world where almost everybody has a smartphone, it’s harder and harder for nonprofits to ignore the idea of mobile fundraising. Online giving is ever on the rise, according to research published in Blackbaud’s 2013 Charitable Giving Report, which showed it increased 13.5 percent in 2013, compared with the 4.9 percent increase in charitable giving overall. What strategies could you take advantage of in 2014? Here are four specific strategies to consider, based on four hot trends in the mobile realm today.

NTEN Celebrates National Volunteer Week: Appreciation for 501 Tech Club Leaders

This week is National Volunteer Week! Points of Light, the organization that established this program in 1974, says "National Volunteer Week is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference."

To recognize the tireless work of volunteers that support the nonprofit sector, we’ll be publishing a blog post every day this week to celebrate their contributions. Today we give a hearty THANK YOU to our 501 Tech Club leaders.

501 Tech Clubs are informal local groups that meet regularly to get to know their colleagues, develop a professional support network, and talk shop. Tech Club leaders not only organize and implement everything for their clubs, they ultimately help local organizations use technology skillfully and confidently to create greater social impact and meet the needs of their communities. This is a wonderful thing.

Dearest Tech Club leaders, we wholly appreciate your friendship and your service. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wish there was a Tech Club in your neighborhood? Read NTEN’s page on starting a new club and then email us at community@nten.org.

Report release: The 2014 Nonprofit Benchmarks Study

There comes a time in every online organizer and fundraiser’s life when they ask themselves: is this normal? Our response: what does the data say?

Published today, M+R and NTEN’s 2014 Nonprofit Benchmarks Study returns for the eighth year. We've crunched the numbers from 53 nonprofit organizations to define this year's industry standards for online fundraising, advocacy, and list building.

What did the findings reveal? 2013 really raised the bar for online fundraising. Nonprofits received an estimated 1.7 cents for every fundraising message delivered, and 60 cents for every website visit. Even though response rates for nonprofit emails continued to slide in 2013, online giving was up as email and social media audiences and web traffic kept climbing.

Here are 8 big trends that emerged from the nonprofits we surveyed: 

  1. The average one-time online donation amount to a nonprofit was $68 in 2013.
  2. Nonprofit organization email lists grew significantly – up 14% in 2013.
  3. Online donations were higher than ever before. Online giving was up 14% in 2013, with monthly giving revenue up 25% compared to 2012. Monthly giving accounted for 16% of all online revenue.
  4. Nonprofits received $17 for every 1,000 email messages delivered. Overall, email accounted for about one-third of nonprofits’ online fundraising revenue.
  5. Nonprofits received $0.60 per website visitor.
  6. Key email metrics, including open rates and response rates, declined in 2013. Email open rates were down 4%. Response rates were down in 2013 for both fundraising emails (down 11%) and advocacy emails (down 25%) compared to 2012 levels. Interestingly, the response rates to advocacy emails from Environmental nonprofits were more than two times higher than overall response rates for advocacy emails.
  7. More people visited nonprofit websites. Monthly website traffic for the nonprofits in the study was up 16% in 2013.
  8. Nonprofit social media audiences grew faster than nonprofit email or website audiences. Facebook fans were up 37% and Twitter followers were up 46% in 2013. Despite this rapid growth, for every 1,000 email subscribers nonprofits had just 199 Facebook fans and 110 Twitter followers.  

> Download the 2014 Nonprofit Benchmarks Study (and share it with your peers!) 

Also, check out the infographic that we release yesterday in Mashable!

If you're interested in learning more about this report, and how to establish benchmarks in your own organization, register for our free webinar next Wednesday, April 16 at 12:00pm-1:00pm PT.

Grassroots Advocacy in the Mobile Age

Ximena Hartsock & Jeb Ory Cofounders Phone2Action Advocacy as an industry exists because of people’s desire to improve the world. How can advocacy initiatives reach their goals by leveraging technology?

Technology advances are opening up new methods of digital grassroots advocacy that are changing online and offline organizing. Learn the methods that still exist, and important ones that have emerged that are profoundly impacting the popular “mix” of grassroots advocacy.

NTEN Celebrates National Volunteer Week: Honoring NTEN Committee Members

This week is National Volunteer Week! Points of Light, the organization that established this program in 1974, says "National Volunteer Week is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference."

To recognize the tireless work of volunteers that support the nonprofit sector, we’ll be publishing a blog post every day this week to celebrate their contributions. Today we're giving a big thank-you to the dedicated members of NTEN's committees.

NTEN committee members are the volunteers who work behind the scenes, contributing their expertise, time, and advice to help shape NTEN programming. Their service is invaluable to helping us develop and improve our offerings to the nonprofit community.

A big thanks to all of our committee members:

Editorial Committee

The NTEN Editorial Committee is a group of committed professionals that meet monthly to discuss content and strategy for the NTEN: Change Journal, our quarterly digital publication for nonprofit leaders. 

  • Jeanne Allen, Program Coordinator, Duke University Nonprofit Management Program
  • Chris Bernard, Editorial and Communications Director, Idealware
  • Melanie Bower, Client Services Manager, Social Accountability Accreditation Services
  • Tobias Eigen, Executive Director, Kabissa - Space for Change in Africa
  • Sophia Guevara, Independent 
  • Wiebke Herding, Managing Director, On:Subject Communications
  • Josh Hirsch, Director of Development and Marketing, The Weiss School
  • Sunny Kapoor, Director of Digital Marketing, Sanford Health
  • Nicole Lampe, Digital Strategy Director, Resource Media
  • Cindy Leonard, Consulting Team Leader, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management
  • Bonnie McEwan, Assistant Professor and Consultant, Milano - The New School & BonnieMcEwan.com
  • Rebecca Reyes, Communications Manager, Everyday Democracy

Membership Committee

NTEN’s Membership Committee helps grow volunteering and engagement opportunities, increase NTEN membership retention, and engage new and returning members and connect them with each other as well as NTEN resources and programming. 

  • Annie Lynsen, Marketing Director, Small Act
  • Carolyn Appleton, Director, Carolyn Appleton Inc.
  • David Krumlauf, Chief Technologist, Pierce Family Charitable Foundation
  • Debra Askanase, Director of Outreach, National Brain Tumor Society
  • Gregg Swanson, Founder and Executive Director, HumaniNet
  • Jason Chmura, Membership Director, Society for Nonprofit Organizations
  • Martin Dooley, IT & Operations Manager, Center for Resource Solutions
  • Michaela Hackner, Project Director & Content Strategist, Forum One Communications
  • Norman Reiss, Project Manager, Technology, Center for Court Innovation
  • Robert Weiner, President, Robert L. Weiner Consulting
  • Sean King, Director of Youth Education in the Arts, USBands
  • Steve Heye, Manager of Technology, The Cara Program
  • Wendy Harman, Director, Information Management and Situational Awareness, American Red Cross

Leading Change Summit Steering Committee

The Leading Change Summit (LCS) Steering Committee is the advisory board for our inaugural conference that we're launching September 2014. This invaluable bunch works with NTEN to design core curriculum tracks, conference structure, and thematic focus.

  • Dahna Goldstein, Founder, PhilanTech
  • Kivi Leroux Miller, President, NonprofitMarketingGuide.com
  • Laura Quinn, Executive Director, Idealware
  • Jane Meseck, Director, Microsoft
  • Rob Wu, Founder/CEO, CauseVox
  • Yvonne Harrison, Assistant Professor, Nonprofit Leadership Center/Seattle University
  • David Neff, Digital Strategy, Consultant, PwC
  • Londell Jackson, Director of Education and Programs, Colorado Nonprofit Association
  • Lauren Hasey Maher, Program Manager, National Center for Family Philanthropy
  • Richard Dietz, Founder, Nonprofit R+D
  • Scott Geller, CTO & President, Points of LIght Digital
  • Paula Jones, Director of Technology, North Carolina Center for Nonprofits
  • Beth Kanter, Consultant, Beth's Blog
  • Veda Banerjee, Director of Communications, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
  • Tracy Kronzak, Senior Cloud Consultant, Cloud for Good
  • Michael Stein, Senior Account Executive, Donor Digital
  • Lynn Labieniec, CEO & Co-Founder, Beaconfire

NTC Steering Committee

The NTC Steering Committee is integral to the success of our annual conference. This group of committed members share their ideas and perspectives to shape the conference priorities, content themes, and opportunities to improve each year.

  • Jason Shim, Digital Media Manager, Pathways to Education Canada
  • Sue Clement, Senior Web Director, ASPCA
  • Michelle Chaplin, Senior Manager, Online Fundraising, PBS
  • Susan Chavez, Nonprofit Social Media Consultant, Association of Junior Leagues International
  • Alex Kadis, Technology Manager, Repair the World
  • Graham Reid, Information Technology Manager, Catholic Charities Society
  • Jason Samuels, Director of Innovation and Technology, National Council on Family Relations
  • Matt Koltermann, Client Advisor, Acquia
  • Richard Wollenberger, Director, Information Technology, Parents as Teachers
  • Steve Heye, Manager of Technology, The Cara Program
  • Dan Michel, Digital Marketing Manager, Feeding America
  • Laura Quinn, Executive Director, Idealware
  • Sue Ann Reed, Project/Production Manager, The Engage Group
  • Lauren Girardin, Marketing and Communications Strategist, Lauren Girardin Consulting
  • Farra Trompeter, Vice President, Big Duck
  • Yesenia Sotelo, Web Developer, SmartCause Digital
  • Jeremy Foreman, Executive Director, Georgia Serves
  • Eva Penar, Director of Marketing & Communications, The Chicago Community Trust
  • Jennifer Price, Philanthropy Services, RML Specialty Hospital
  • Robert Weiner, Owner, Robert L. Weiner Consulting
  • Tracy Kronzak, Senior Cloud Consultant, Cloud4Good
  • Andrea Berry, Director of Partnerships and Learning, Idealware

Sustainability Committee

The Sustainability Committee helps us to meet our goals to make our events more sustainable. Starting with the 14NTC, the committee helps to plan and take action on our sustainability measures. We look forward to working with them to help us make the LCS more sustainable as well!

  • Jeff Yin, Founder & Google Grant Ad Strategist, Sustainable Clicks
  • Marian Casey, Executive Director, Answers for Special Kids
  • Kelley Atwood, Development Applications Administrator, UT Southwestern
  • Heather Marsh, Director, Digital Marketing, ABD Direct

NTEN Research Committee

Members of the NTEN Research Committee serve by sharing ideas for new projects, providing feedback on existing research and analysis, and support outreach for surveys, report launches, and research partners.

  • Michael Dardis, Director of IT Strategies & Operations, P.E.A.C.E., Inc.
  • John Cluverius, Teaching Assistant/Graduate Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Ann Emery, Associate, Innovation Network, Inc. (InnoNet)
  • Amelia Abreu, Senior Usability Analyst, Con-way, Inc.
  • Ioannis Saratsis, Assistant Marketing Manager, RobbensKersten Direct
  • Ariel Dekovic, Senior Programs Manager, The Collaborative for High Performance Schools
  • Alexandra Saavedra, Marketing Programs Manager, Greater Giving
  • Susanna Murley, Director of Digital Media, Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Emily Weinberg, Nonprofit Blogger
  • Carolyn Klotzbach, Marketing/Sales Support Specialist, SofTrek Corporation
  • Joseph Klem, Vice President, Online Strategy, Urban Land Institute
  • Jo Miles, Online Engagement Strategist, Food & Water Watch
  • Dave Leichtman, Vice President, Salsa Labs, Inc.
  • Jason Shim, Digital Media Manager, Pathways to Education Canada
  • Russell Feldman, Data Systems Manager, Community Resource Exchange
  • Balaji Mayreddy, Consultant, Reverse Mortgage Funding, LLC.
  • Nick Ellinger, Vice President of Strategic Outreach, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
  • Sue Ann Reed, Project/Production Manager, The Engage Group
  • Conor Barnes, Advisor, Investor, & Student
  • Ash Shepherd, Strategy & Process, Minds on Design Lab
  • Rose Olea, Director of Information Technology, American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
  • Mark Reyer, CTO, Xerox Business Services
  • Kristi Phillips, Account Manager, Education Practice, Exponent Partners
  • Kirk Schmidt, Director of Professional Services, Method Works Consulting
  • Chris Lundberg, CEO, Frakture
  • Andrea Chempinski, Associate Director of Online Services, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
  • Debra Askanase, Director of Outreach, National Brain Tumor Society
  • Randall Smith, Digital Strategist, Power Labs
  • Martin Dooley, IT & Operations Manager, Center for Resource Solutions
  • Derek Duncan, Senior Business Intelligence Analyst, University of Denver
  • Melissa Campbell, Campaign Associate, Casey House Foundation
  • Elizabeth Pope, Director of Research and Operations, Idealware

Check Out the 2014 Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference


The 9th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference is coming this July 9-11 to the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. We're proud to partner with the Bridge Conference, and encourage you to take advantage of special registration rates for NTEN community members. Here are the details:

Do you want the power to succeed?

Gain the skills you need to succeed and achieve the results you want at the 9th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference, coming this July 9-11, 2014 at the Gaylord National Hotel & Conference Center.

The power to succeed comes through knowledge! At Bridge, you will network with the best minds in direct marketing and fundraising, and be inspired by amazing speakers and innovative ideas. With over 70 sessions, 3 pre-conference workshops, and 3 inspiring and motivating keynotes — you will walk away with the techniques and tools you need to succeed.

As NTEN is a Bridge Conference Program Partner, NTEN community members are eligible to receive the member rate! Early bird registration ends May 18, so take advantage of the Early Bird Member RateAlso available is a great hotel and registration package — take the package and you save another $100 on the registration fee! Don't miss out - last year's Bridge Conference sold out! 

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