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Date: Friday, 15 Aug 2014 23:15
Director of Technology and Operations
If your mission includes an educational aspect, a learning management system could be your cup of tea, but which flavor is right for you?
Author: "Steph" Tags: "Program"
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Date: Friday, 15 Aug 2014 19:15
Co-Founder, Director of Business Development
With so many shiny tools to choose from, how can your organization choose which is/are best for you? Here are some questions to get you started.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "Open Source, open source tools, Strategy..."
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Date: Thursday, 14 Aug 2014 16:52

It’s summer here in the States, but we aren’t taking any vacations from our website relaunch project! We’ve been working away at this for a few months now and figured it was about time to send you a postcard.

Here’s a quick status update from our content team—inspired by the three daily scrum standup questions used in Agile development—about how things have been going and what’s next.

Progress made over the past six weeks:

  • Card sorting exercise at staff retreat. It was good for everyone to do this exercise in order to see and analyze the results, but also to refine the list of cards and approach when opening the exercise to the general community.
  • Community card sorting exercise. We are wrapping up the community card sorting exercise in August and will use the results to refine and inform the new information architecture of the site.
  • Content audit: We have started a content audit and have begun to feel overwhelmed by the amount of content currently available on the site. Not coincidentally, we have discovered a need for a content expiration strategy.
  • Dreamt: It’s not all a tired slog – we’ve been dreaming up some great features! Our IT Director Karl says he's most excited about "a streamlined profile creation and management process, clear engagement paths for site visitors, and a consistent and mobile friendly feel across our entire web presence."
  • Built our team: We hired a content strategist, Gwydion Suilebhan, to help us work through our many, many issues. And Philip Krayna, our long-time partner in design, will be aided in the graphic redesign by the brilliant design minds at Cornershop Creative. We're very excited to have their help!

What we plan to do by mid-September:

  • Finish content audit and have our plan for archiving/migrating
  • Send our proposed site architecture to designers for use in wireframing/usability validation

Possible roadblocks:

  • With over 8,000 pieces of content, the biggest challenge we're staring down right now is how to manage that content audit.

While this has been happening, our community feedback team has invested lots of time in surveys and interviews. We'll have an update from them soon. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who responded to our RFP and participated in the card sorting exercise and survey. We can’t wait to launch this and appreciate your interest in this process. Happy August!

Author: "Julia Smith" Tags: "content audit, content strategy, design,..."
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Date: Thursday, 14 Aug 2014 14:56

Last week I got to attend the National Alliance for Media and Culture (NAMAC) and Alliance for Community Media (ACM)'s first-ever joint National Conference: State and Main 2014 (#StateMain14) in Philadelphia, PA. The beautiful murals you'll find throughout the streets of Philadelphia provided a perfect backdrop for this gathering of nonprofit arts professionals.

I took part in the panel: Multiple Platform Social Media Strategies, which explored ways nonprofits can use social media more effectively, and sought to answer the proverbial question: "If a tree falls in the social media forest, how can you make sure anyone hears it?"

NTEN Member and Social Media Strategist, Lyndal Cairns, moderated the panel, and helped put together this blog post. In addition, we were joined by fellow panelists, Felicia Pride, pride collaborative, and Nickey Robare, St. Paul Neighborhood Network.

Each panelist explained how they used social media to further their mission and then shared their experience with finding and telling their organizations' stories, goal-setting, and developing strategies for engagement. We explained the differences between networks and the communities that reside there, how to develop your organizations' "voice," and how to turn social media interest into ticket sales and donations.

The best part was the input we received from attendees about tools to help social media managers get organized and develop content without straying from their mission. Some of the tools highlighted include:

Content curation

  • Feedly: a news aggregation app that pulls feeds from news sites and social media.
  • Evernote: a note-taking app and program that helps you "remember" and categorize links and notes.
  • FlipBoard: a content curator that brings you content based on your interests with a newspaper look and feel.
  • Storify: a content curation tool that allows you to create a timeline of social media posts, video, slide decks, and other online media.
  • NTEN Member, Beth Kanter, has a primer on content curation that's a useful guide for getting started.

Community engagement

  • Attentive.ly: a social relationship manager, which links with a constituent relationship manager (CRM) to track and target messages to social media "champions" and prospective donors.
  • Sprout Social: a social media management software that gives high-end monitoring and reporting services, as well as incorporating some CRM features so managers can identify and write notes on social media engagers and assign project management tasks.
  • Mobile Commons: a platform that helps nonprofits reach their communities through text message.
  • If This, Then That: a task management tool to automate program processes like sending social media posts, creating lists, and staying on top of tasks.


And it wouldn't be a social media panel without social media from the social media panel (how very meta)! Check out the Storify from Lyndal highlighting the social posts from our session.

Do you have tools to recommend? Add them to this list by posting in the comments!

Also, if you're a NAMAC or AMC member, don't forget to take advantage of your NTEN benefits! Learn more on the NAMAC or ACM partner page. 

Author: "Megan" Tags: "ACM, Community, NAMAC, nptech, Policy, s..."
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Date: Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 23:50
Find your portal to better Board engagement.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "board collaboration, Leadership, nonprof..."
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Date: Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 23:27

Just when you thought you missed the boat, here's your second chance!

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Event360, we now have 10 extra scholarships available for individuals interested in attending the 2014 Leading Change Summit this September 3-6.

The deadline to apply is next Friday, August 22, but scholarship applications will be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis, so apply as soon as possible. Note: These scholarships cover the the cost of LCS registration, but excludes travel and lodging.


Eligibility Requirements
The eligibility requirements are a bit different from the 10 scholarships provided by TechSoup Global, so please review before applying. 

  1. Applicants must be an employee of a 501(c)(3) organization in North America.
  2. Applicants must be able to describe a technology project or strategic goal related to technology that they plan to design and develop further at LCS and implement in their organization.
  3. Following the LCS, applicants must be willing to be featured in an NTEN case study on how organizations are using technology to improve their work.

To apply, visit the LCS Scholarships page on the 14LCS website. 

And while you're at it, Tweet your thanks to Event360 and TechSoup Global on Twitter: @Event360 & @TechSoup.

Author: "Joleen Ong" Tags: "14lcs, event360, lcs, san francisco, sch..."
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Date: Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 21:36
Fundraising Consultant
If mobile devices are becoming consumers’ Swiss Army Knife, why aren’t we raising more money with them?
Author: "--" Tags: "Fundraising, Mobile, mobile apps, Fundra..."
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Date: Monday, 11 Aug 2014 21:46
Take a sneak peek behind the curtain of the Future of Technology track planning for 14LCS.
Author: "Julia Smith" Tags: "14lcs, Community, future of technology, ..."
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Date: Monday, 11 Aug 2014 18:00
Senior Fellowship Manager
The joys of "airplane mode," or how to begin reducing distractions and instead allow focus to thrive.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "cell phone, Strategy, work-life balance"
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Date: Wednesday, 06 Aug 2014 22:52
Director of Digital Strategy
What do words and phrases like Webmaker, Maker Parties, and Thimble have in common? They are keys to web literacy and innovation.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "free tools, mozilla, Open Source, webmak..."
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 21:58

Last week I met some rock stars of the data visualization world (yes, it’s true, there is such a world) at the Data Visualization Knowledge Summit hosted by Periscopic in Portland. The Summit featured a panel discussion with guest speakers: Alberto Cairo, Professor/Author; Kennedy Elliott, Web Developer, Washington Post; Scott Murray, Author/Coder; and Sarah Slobin, Visual Journalist, Wall Street Journal. Although this was a pretty wide-ranging discussion, they all had in common one thing: a high comfort level with uncertainty (not in the strictly statistical sense, however). That was the most inspiring and comforting thing of all.

Here at NTEN, I often get incredibly frustrated with getting a data set and spending what seems to be eons trying to figure out how to wrestle it into charts and graphs that make sense. But it seems that the ‘wrestling’ is actually a critical step in the process. These folks call it “data exploration.”  And no matter how much experience you have, the data will almost always yield something you didn’t expect.

Of course a good tool for exploration also makes life easier. And because my data exploration has heretofore involved a lot of four letter words, the bleeding ears of my office mates will welcome the entry of Tableau 8.2 into my world. I have yet to see a nicer tool for dragging and dropping my way to data insight. Hooks directly to Google Analytics! No programming needed! Results are pretty! And, for the growing league of data storytellers out there, it actually has ‘Story’ as one of the top menu options. Last, but not least, the Tableau Public version is free.  

The key takeaway from the Summit: Don’t zip through the data exploration step, and make sure to build time into the project plan to explore – this is precisely the part of the process that truly yields insight.

Author: "jessica" Tags: "data, Data, data visualization, Infrastr..."
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 18:29
The internet might be everywhere, but where are you? Amy makes the case for making your website your digital home.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "integrated digital strategy, Web Sites, ..."
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 18:00

We are excited to release the 8th Annual Nonprofit Technology Staffing and Investments Report! This research provides valuable benchmarks to help you assess and plan your technology budgets and strategies, and considers the nonprofit sector as a whole to gauge the maturity and effectiveness of technology strategies and use.

With NTEN's theory of change in mind, this report examines technology staffing levels, technology budgets, and overall organizational approaches to technology decisions, as well as technology oversight and management practices. We have a number of key findings this year, including:

  • On average, our respondents have 4.4 technology-responsible staff
  • When looking at Per-Staff budgets, we see that Very Large organizations may be spending the same — or even less — than small organizations on technology
  • The median technology budget as a percentage of the organization's total operating budget, across all organization sizes in our survey, ranges from 1.4% to 2.0%
  • We continue to see a positive trend in terms of formally including technology in strategic plans, with 64% of all respondents indicating this practice

>> Download the full report!

To gather the data for this report, we rely on the generosity and participation of respondents who completed the survey, as well as the collaboration of sector partners who helped distribute the survey. Thank you to The NonProfit Times, Network for Good, TechSoup Global, Idealware, and NPower. We also offered survey respondents the chance to enter a drawing for an Amazon gift card. The winner, selected at random, is Gwen Campbell from People Serving People — ongrats, Gwen!

Author: "Amy" Tags: "investments, report, Staffing, survey, t..."
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 16:55
Web Design & Development Lead
Here's a listicle that breaks down some trends and can help you help your website produce greater impacts.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "search engine optimization, Web Sites, C..."
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Date: Monday, 21 Jul 2014 20:38
Chief Information Officer
From website to interactive content space and digital strategy hub: Reggie Henry from ASAE tells all.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "integrated digital strategy, Leadership,..."
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Date: Monday, 21 Jul 2014 19:44
Software Analyst
A silky smooth donation page can make the difference between a gift from a new supporter and a missed opportunity.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "fundraising strategy, online donations, ..."
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Date: Monday, 21 Jul 2014 18:51

At NTEN, we're all over the Internet: we've got a community platform supporting online discussions and local events; microsites for both the Nonprofit Technology Conference and the Leading Change Summit; monthly email newsletters highlighting guest articles and new research on the blog; and social media profiles where we engage with the community regularly, including on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. For all this effort to create content and spark conversations, we won't be successful if our online presence didn't have a home. Our website is that home, and being a home is a difficult but important role.

It's not an easy job being the home for everything you do online. Here's what it means for NTEN.org:

Create the content we want.

When you treat your website as the starting place and the central aggregator of all that you do online, you have a go-to publishing platform. Length, style, graphics—you don't have any limitations on your website. You can create the content you want and then share or repurpose on other channels when it makes sense. While it's true that you'll only be able to share a single sentence on Twitter, you can always link to the full story on your site. You may push compelling pictures or infographics to Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, or Tumblr, but you can still link to the story behind those images on your website. 

Connect content and community.

Think about how you use the Web each day. In one moment, you may have a number of windows or tabs going at once, clicking on a link in a news story and then sharing it on a social network. You might then visit a friend's blog where she shares a list of articles she's come across lately. A moment later, you could be checking your email where you're pointed to various websites and social platforms. It can feel scattered. So don't think that your supporters know all the best places to find you and your content. NTEN's website helps us connect content with community so that wherever you found us, you can easily link back to the website and then click back out to the channel of your preference. 

Support diversity and longevity.

You've probably seen many different blog posts, infographics, and reports that show the various demographic make-ups of specific communities within the vast expanse of the internet. At NTEN, our online content is primarily created by and for our community: guest articles each month, features and case studies in the quarterly journal, and webinars and conference sessions designed and led by members. It doesn't make sense to think we'd be reaching the entire community if we only shared content or engaged with people on Twitter. Or LinkedIn. Or only on our blog. By using the website as the home base for all content—publishing in full there first—we are able to support and highlight the most diverse voices and ensure their content is searchable and findable much longer than a tweet.  

Content overdose.

Of course, there's always going to be thorns with the roses. In this case, creating and posting so much content means your home can get a bit messy. Or, hoarder-like, actually. You may have seen some of our recent posts talking about our website redesign and overhaul. A huge contributing factor and influence to our process is our website's role as our home base. We know we are a content-heavy organization, and the website has suffered because of our lack of features to ensure we are updating the content that should be updated while getting rid of or archiving content so it stops confusing visitors looking for the best resources they can find. We need to ensure that, while the website is the home base, we enforce some rules to keep it clean and welcoming for friends and new visitors. 

What role does your website serve for your organization? What other tips would you add to the list?

Author: "Amy" Tags: "integrated digital strategy, Web Sites, ..."
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Date: Friday, 18 Jul 2014 23:13

NTEN is pleased to offer 12 scholarships to attend LCS with thanks to the support of TechSoup Global, who is generously providing 10 of these scholarships!

Scholarship covers the the cost of LCS registration (excluding travel and lodging) and they are available to nonprofit staff working in specific areas of the nonprofit sector. NTEN is happy to announce two scholarships for organizations in the following categories:

  • Arts
  • Digital Inclusion 
  • Domestic Violence 
  • Faith-Based 
  • Human Services 
  • Youth Development 

Eligibility requirements:

  1. Applicants must be an employee of a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission that includes programs in one of the above six categories. 
  2. Applicants must be able to describe a technology project or strategic goal related to technology that they plan to design and develop further at LCS and implement in their organization. 
  3. Following the LCS, applicants must be willing to be featured in an NTEN case study on how organizations are using technology to improve their work. 

>> Fill out the short online application for LCS scholarships today!

Applications must be received no later than Friday, August 1, 2014. Scholarship applications will be reviewed and scholarship recipients will be notified of acceptance no later than Friday, August 8, 2014.

Know someone who wants to participate in the new Leading Change Summit but doesn't have the budget? Please share this scholarship opportunity with them today!

Author: "Amy" Tags: "14lcs, announcement, lcs, scholarships"
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Date: Friday, 18 Jul 2014 20:13
Director of Integrated Marketing
Daniel Loftus shares how SOS Children’s Villages Canada put its website back on the SEO map, without adding any new content.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "online donations, search engine optimiza..."
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Date: Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 23:24
Here's a website design process guide for those weary of the by-the-seat-of-your-pants planning approach.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "technology planning, Web Sites, website ..."
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