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NTC: Here, let me write you a charitable receipt

NTC: Here, let me write you a charitable receipt published on No Comments on NTC: Here, let me write you a charitable receipt

One of the sessions I toonblogged at the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference was Beth Kanter’s I found my free agent. Now what?

In The Networked Nonprofit, the book she and Allison fine wrote about effective nonprofits in the era of the social web, we hear about “fortress organizations”: nonprofits that work assiduously to keep their supporters and members at a distance. Volunteer activity, if it’s tolerated at all, is directed into narrow, well-policed channels.

“Free agents” are people who work outside an organization to communicate, raise funds and mobilize support for it. Their relationship isn’t the traditional get-a-zillion-fundraising-appeals-and-a-nice-annual-calendar relationship that fortresses prefer; free agents are more like peers of the non-profit they support.

Of course, some of their activities may not be the kind of things organizations are used to seeing done on their behalf. (Which gave rise to the suggestion I wound up making: manage your doubts, not your free agents. Maybe this mantra can help: “It’s not like they’re robbing banks.” Unless they are, in which case a word or two with them is probably in order.)

It was a fascinating workshop, and there were several great reports on it:

(Found more? Let me know!)

 

NTC: It’s not you. Or you. Or you. It’s me.

NTC: It’s not you. Or you. Or you. It’s me. published on No Comments on NTC: It’s not you. Or you. Or you. It’s me.

One of the sessions I toonblogged at the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference was Beth Kanter’s I found my free agent. Now what?

In The Networked Nonprofit, the book she and Allison fine wrote about effective nonprofits in the era of the social web, we hear about “fortress organizations”: nonprofits that work assiduously to keep their supporters and members at a distance. Volunteer activity, if it’s tolerated at all, is directed into narrow, well-policed channels.

“Free agents” are people who work outside an organization to communicate, raise funds and mobilize support for it. Their relationship isn’t the traditional get-a-zillion-fundraising-appeals-and-a-nice-annual-calendar relationship that fortresses prefer; free agents are more like peers of the non-profit they support.

It was a fascinating workshop, and there were several great reports on it:

(Found more? Let me know!)

 

NTC: Fortress organizations

NTC: Fortress organizations published on No Comments on NTC: Fortress organizations

One of the sessions I toonblogged at the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference was Beth Kanter’s I found my free agent. Now what?

In The Networked Nonprofit, the book she and Allison fine wrote about effective nonprofits in the era of the social web, we hear about “fortress organizations”: nonprofits that work assiduously to keep their supporters and members at a distance. Volunteer activity, if it’s tolerated at all, is directed into narrow, well-policed channels.

“Free agents” are people who work outside an organization to communicate, raise funds and mobilize support for it. Their relationship isn’t the traditional get-a-zillion-fundraising-appeals-and-a-nice-annual-calendar relationship that fortresses prefer; free agents are more like peers of the non-profit they support.

It was a fascinating workshop, and there were several great reports on it:

(Found more? Let me know!)

NTC: Dan Heath

NTC: Dan Heath published on No Comments on NTC: Dan Heath

This was simply smashing. And their central metaphor is – I’m sure you’ve noticed – definitely made to stick.

NTC: In which we call a trade show a science fair

NTC: In which we call a trade show a science fair published on 1 Comment on NTC: In which we call a trade show a science fair

I spent last week in Wash­ington, DC, cartoon-blogging NTEN’s 2011 Non­profit Tech­no­logy Con­fer­ence. These are some of the highlights.

One of the parts of NTC I find the most appealing is how the trade show is called the Science Fair:

The Science Fair isn’t like a typical conference exhibit hall. Instead of running throughout the entire conference – and competing with everything else on the agenda – the Science Fair takes place only on the first day of the NTC, and it’s the sole focus of the conference at that time. It’s also the setting for the conference’s Opening Reception. As a result, the room is full from start to finish, so come prepared to talk to dozens of exhibitors and meet hundreds of conference attendees. Reflecting this event’s unique nature, we call it the “Science Fair” so that everyone realizes it’s an integral part of the NTC and not just another boring exhibit hall!

I’d love to see them take the metaphor one step further. If this is a science fair, then how about having science projects?

It doesn’t have to be mandatory (so vendors won’t phone in some token effort just to qualify), but it could be a chance to show off some fun tech application, an intriguing experiment and its outcome, or an inspiring case study. Have participants vote for their favourites (hola, QR codes) to select finalists, and enlist a panel of distinguished judges to choose the winner.

NTC: The usual WiFi hiccups

NTC: The usual WiFi hiccups published on No Comments on NTC: The usual WiFi hiccups

I spent last week in Washington, DC, cartoon-blogging NTEN’s 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference. These are some of the highlights.

You can’t have a tech conference without WiFi becoming an issue, unless you take extraordinary measures. It really doesn’t help if the venue is underground, as a lot of large convention centres are, making it a lot harder to connect even to a cellular signal – my own Internet-of-last-resort. (Although it’s actually getting pretty tolerable. I’m tethered right now, and while there’s no question it’s slower, I can definitely get stuff done.)

Was it a blessing in diguise? Maybe. It freed us to look at the people right next to us, to really look at them, and to talk with them. To share our hopes (“Try deleting your network preferences”), our dreams (“I’ve heard of a conference where the WiFi was actually pretty good”), even our innermost spirituality (“Maybe the IP address gods will smile on us”).

(a passenger deliberately bores her seatmate with stories of a frustrating executive director, to prevent him from boring her with stories about his grandkids)

Pity whoever’s sitting next to me on this flight

Pity whoever’s sitting next to me on this flight published on No Comments on Pity whoever’s sitting next to me on this flight

Actually, the guy who sat next to me on the first leg of my flight was an avalanche rescue student, and we had a fascinating conversation (well, I had a fascinating conversation – his mileage probably varied, especially once I started going on about Flash restaurant menus).

I learned that avalanches have a five-stage scale of size: 1 can knock you over, 2 can bury and kill you, 3 can wreck cars, 4 can take out a railway car and 5 can wipe out towns. I learned about the fracture line, where the avalanche separates from the rest of the snow pack. And I learned that it would be a very good idea if I never travel east of, oh, Burnaby ever again unless it’s a safe distance from anything snow-capped-mountain-y. (30,000 feet ought to do it.)

Off to the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference!

Off to the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference! published on 1 Comment on Off to the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference!

There’s nothing like getting up while dawn is still having that weird dream where it’s back in high school and completely naked during a surprise math test… and stumbling bleary-eyed from shower into clothing up stairs out the door into taxi and into an airport…

…only to realize the first leg of your flight is domestic, and you could have slept for another hour.

Ah, well. What’s an hour’s sleep when NTC 2011 lies ahead?

Nonprofit tech types convene in DC. Me, too.

Nonprofit tech types convene in DC. Me, too. published on No Comments on Nonprofit tech types convene in DC. Me, too.

The Nonprofit Technology Conference is an annual gathering of the nptech community: technology practitioners who work with nonprofit organizations, helping them to organize, communicate and work more effectively.

It’s put together by the Nonprofit Technology Network, and this year, they’re meeting in Washington, DC… and I’ll be with them as the official NTC cartoon-blogger. (By which I mean this sort of thing.)

I’ll post the cartoons here, but you can see them first on the NTC blog – where I’ve drawn a bunch of pre-conference cartoons that they’re posting in the runup to the conference’s launch next Thursday.

If you’re going to NTC, by all means look me up. And if not, you can follow the proceedings on Twitter via the #NTC11 hashtag (and the NTC11 tag everywhere else).

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