Utterz-ly Amazing

I had my first experience with the new tool Utterz at the 08 NTC. I was standing with Holly Ross and she asked if she could get a quote from me and use Utterz. Holly made a call on her iPhone, we recorded a brief interview, she then took a picture of me and attached that to her message. She explained that the title of the picture would become the title of her blog post. With a phone call, she is able to send the .wav audio file that the services creates and send it along with the picture. The service then updates the NTEN blog, sends it her MySpace page and more! Minutes later I could see it on the blog – wow! Here is the result:

My wonderful colleague Beth Kanter also Utterz-ed me:

The service describes itself like this: "Utterz mashes together the voice, video, pictures, and text you
call or send in and creates an ‘Utter’ that can immediately update your
existing web pages on sites like Blogger, WordPress, Facebook,
LiveJournal, MySpace and more." See more on the Utterz website.

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08NTC New Orleans

Most of this week I spent at NTEN’s National Technology Conference (NTC) in New Orleans. I participated in
the Day of Service, providing free consulting to a nonprofit, participated in a panel on nonprofit consulting with my distinguished colleagues Beth Kanter, Robert Weiner and Eric Leland (we missed the original moderator Michael Stein, who was absent due to illness), then presented two session, one onNtc08holly online engagement and the other with Beth Kanter on Web 2.0 options and techniques. As always I learned a lot from my co-presenters and the audiences. This is a great event that I encourage any nonprofit technology professional to consider attending. In 2009 it will be in my neck of the woods, San Francisco.

I really enjoyed New Orleans, seeing and hearing about how the rebuilding and reconstruction efforts are progressing. I toured parts of the city that were hard hit and a lot of work remains. I am not alone in feeling that the government reaction to this disaster was generally a disgrace. A consistent theme I heard from people here is how great the impact has been from all of the volunteers who have come and donated their time, expertise, equipment and skills. It is a tribute to the volunteer spirit that still thrives in the US. So even if I am disheartened by the lack of government action, I am encouraged knowing that ordinary citizens of all backgrounds and beliefs will pitch in and help people in need.

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Draft of NP Tech Professionals Principles

Please join the discussion on these in the NTEN Affinity Group NP Tech Professional Principles

[To encourage all discussion and comments to occur in that forum I will not be accepting comments on this particular post]

Principles/Code of Conduct

We, as nonprofit-focused technology professionals, pledge to:

1.    Do No Harm to Data or Devices Containing Data

2.    Appreciate and Respect an Organization’s Character and Adapt Our Approaches Appropriately

3.    Focus On Solutions Appropriate to An Organization’s Culture, Context and Resources

4.    Explain Technology Tools And Strategies In Clear, Non-Technical Language

5.    Communicate Applicable Legal And Best Practice Requirements Related to Our Work

6.    Engage in Continuous Learning Practices to Maintain Our Skills and Knowledge

7.    Regularly Participate In and Share Our Knowledge With Our Community

8.    Maintain Ethical Practices and Declare Any Conflicts of Interest

9.    If We Charge For Our Services, To Be Transparent About Pricing and Costs

When commenting please remember:

  • This
    is just a baseline – version 1.0. There will likely be future editions,
    so this doesn’t need to be perfect for all time, just a solid start.

  • The
    principles need to be applicable to all nonprofit technology
    professionals, including nonprofit staff, consultants, technology
    support organizations, vendors, and volunteers.

  • The principles need to be applicable across areas of focus, US geographic region, specialty, services and tools.

  • Further details will be articulated by the community in “What These
    Mean to Me” documents in the Affinity Group library. So these need not incorporate all the details they


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Nonprofit Tech Professionals Creating Principles

Imagine our community of nonprofit technology professionals having a set of principles to guide our work and let other communities know us better.

Most groups of professionals have principals or codes of conduct
that their members agree to abide by – except nonprofit technology
professionals (NTPs) in the USA. We would like to facilitate our
community generating and agreeing to a set of principles/ code of
conduct. The UK Circuit Riders have already articulated and presented a
set of principles appropriate for them, that many have signed on to follow.
Now we think it’s our turn.

We are presenting a draft set of principles as a starting point for
discussion. NTEN has agreed to host the discussion through an online
affinity group. Over the next 90 days, we ask all of you to review our
draft, comment, contribute and discuss (see process schedule below).

At the end of ninety days we will put all of the feedback and
discussion together into a set of principles built by the community. We will then encourage all nonprofit
technology professionals to sign on to the principles and abide by them.

We are looking for basic principles applicable to the broadest range of nonprofit technology professionals – staff, consultants, vendors, professors and others who identify with our community.

Sign up for the discussion forum where you can view the initial draft, comment and discuss.

We look forward to the conversation – including in-person discussion
and input at NTC – and we will contact this list again when the final
draft is ready.

We hope you will  join us in taking another step to professionalizing what we love to do.

Beth Kanter, John Kenyon, Michelle Murrain, Marc Osten

Process Supporters (organizations for identification purposes only):

Sue Bennet, Project Director, CompassPoint Nonprofit Services
Peter Campbell, Earthjustice & TechCafeteria
Teresa Crawford
Center, Institute
Jeff Forster, Robert Morris University, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management
David Geilhufe, Philanthropy Program Manager at NetSuite
Dave Greenberg, CiviCRM
Mary Gross, Director of InfoTAP, a program of Nonprofit Management Solutions
Allen Gunn, Aspiration Tech
Cheryl Hanback, Web & Graphic Design
Phil Klein, Pen & Pixel
Eric Leland, Leland Design
Sheldon Mains, Nonprofit Tech Consultant
Ryan Ozimek, PICnet
Laura Quinn, Idealware
Jon Stahl, ONE/NW
Michael Stein, Internet & Media Strategist



3/13 – Initial email to the community
3/19 – 3/21 – Opportunity for discussion at NTC
3/11 – 6/11 – Comments and discussion via NTEN Affinity group
6/11 – 6/23 – Comments incorporated, last draft up for comments
7/7 – Final draft posted, ready for adoption

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Interviewed by David Wilcox

While attending the UK Circuit Riders Conference 4.0 last month, I was interviewed by David Wilcox, a consultant, writer and trainer specializing in community engagement and cross sector partnerships. He writes about social media, engagement and collaboration.

We talked about the importance of online presence and how it relates to funding opportunities. See the video interview below or on YouTube and read David’s blog post about it.

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A Revolution in Faith-based Organization Websites

On March 1st, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, California Province, launched their new website – www.snddenca.org. This is the result of over two years of work on their part, during which I consulted with them on strategies and best practices. I have seen so many websites of faith-based organizations and religious communities that are not effective that to me this is a revolutionary new standard to which similar organizations can aspire.

Some elements that I think make it particularly effective: this website includes inviting language that people outside the community can understand, interactive elements for viewing the schools the Sisters founded or are working in, a way to find out about current and former educators connected with those learning communities, a place to submit requests for prayers (and see others requests), even a quiz to see if religious life might be right for you, titled "Got Vocation?". Of course you can also sign up for enews and make an online donation.

I think sites like this can go a long way to dispelling the misconceptions many have about those in religious communities and specifically about nuns. These are not women in habits trying to "convert the heathen". This is a community of intelligent, caring and motivated people, working in our communities to promote Social Justice & Peace, environmental awareness and education as well as spirituality. Their ministries are involved in educating as health care providers, social workers, justice and peace coordinators among other things. They work around the world supporting and educating the poor and disadvantaged.

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Effective Technology Advising Workshop

There were some great discussions in the Effective Technology Advising workshop I facilitated on March 1, 2008 in Birmingham, UK sponsored by lasa. These ranged from contracting to insurance to getting clients. The attendees came from all over the UK from Edinburgh to Wales and Greater London.

It was exciting to hear about the different experiences of these consultants with nonprofit/charity organizations. As always when meeting with nonprofit consultants I am struck by the thread of commonality that connects us all. We all face similar challenges in communicating and marketing our services, creating work agreements, doing investigations, collecting data, determining the best intervention and helping organizations with managing change. Our clients also face similar challenges with internal capacity, improving their capabilities and especially in getting funding for technology initiatives.

I’ll be hosting a dinner and participating in a panel about nonprofit technology consulting at NTEN’s National Technology Conference in New Orleans March 19 – 21.

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What use are the online tools Twitter.com and Digg.com?

I learn something new from my students every time I teach, as well as
from Beth Kanter whenever I am fortunate enough to work with her. This
week in the last of my seven-session NTEN Leadership Series, I
co=presented with Beth on “The Next Latest Things: The Future of Tech
in Nonprofits”, mainly focused on Web 2.0®  and Social Networking.

I finally learned what Twitter was about as Beth gave a great live
example of how she was able to make a “tweet” – Twitter language for
writing a short update on what you are doing, where you are or what you
are thinking about – about  doing the training. She has over 600 people
who listen to her tweets, so within just  few minutes people were
sending “replies” about what she wrote.

How can a person listen and talk to hundreds of people in virtually
real time? I was really impressed about the immediacy and using the
technology to tap into the wisdom of the group, but I still have a hard
time wanting to do it myself. I think many like me already feel
overwhelmed just with email and other things we want to read, so
getting involved ins something like this seemed like something for
which I am not quite ready.

My other learning was about digg.com. One of the students in the
session mentioned that he goes in to see sites that people “dig” and
then they post it on the website. As more and more people agree that
they too “dug” the site or a story, its ranking goes up higher. The
student shared that he often reads about news days before he reads it
in the mainstream press and that is one of the things he likes about it.

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Birmingham, UK – National Circuit Rider Conference 4.0

I’m thrilled to be attending and presenting at England’s Circuit Rider Conference 4.0 this year. Mine is one ofUkcircuitriderlogo
three sessions dealing with online engagement. My presentation focuses on telling stories digitally using the internet and Web 2.0 tools. The others are on helping npo’s understand and plan for use of Web 2.0 tools and Online Community Building and Engagement. There are also speedgeek sessions – short updates, often product- or product category-specific – on web-based tools, healthy computing, basic open source software options and Ubuntu.

In addition, I will be presenting my full-day Effective Advising Training which helps nonprofit technology staff and consultants build better practices.

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Kids Count Conference

In collaboration with Idealware, I presented their session on Google Analytics at the Kids Count NetworkIdealwarelogo conference here in San Francisco. This is a wonderful program of the Annie E. Casey Foundation facilitating information sharing and collaboration among 53 member organizations who focus on a wide range of
children’s issues.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that helps you make better decisions about your website content and navigation by tracking activity. I’d recommend contacting Laura Quinn at Idealware if you interested in engaging in consulting or training on this important part of online strategy.

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