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Date: Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 13:43

 Change, September 2014The 15th issue of the NTEN: Change journal is out, focusing on Advocacy and Visual Communications: How to Rise Above the Noise.

This issue is packed with actionable ideas, intriguing interviews, and impactful case examples that'll help you show what your mission means, and why it's important.

>>Read the September 2014 issue! (read it on your desktop, mobile device, or Issuu app)

Articles and interviews in this issue examines visual communications and advocacy across a range of angles. Features include:

We also go behind the scenes with the Ad Council, Global Voices, Forward Together, and Free Geek, and both Coalition for a Livable Future and the Westchester Children's Association demonstrate how they transformed heaps of data to put their mission priorities on the map. Also, meet Omar Vulpinari, the man behind some of the most provocative visual campaigns.

Plus, learn how to use Storify to capture insights at your next event, discover low-cost tools for visual communications, and tips on how to build a compelling visual library.

>>Enjoy, and subscribe! Get this journal for free every quarter in your inbox by subscribing today. 

Author: "Joleen Ong" Tags: "change journal, Leadership, Leadership, ..."
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Date: Friday, 26 Sep 2014 05:28

There's a lot happening at NTEN, and we want you to get involved! In this weekly roundup, you'll find the full list of NTEN events, opportunities, and deadlines for participation. Whether it's in-person events, such as NTEN Labs or 501 Tech Clubs, online Communities of Practice or webinars, or deadlines for contributing content or applications - this weekly round-up has you covered. Also, are you attending an NPTech-related event this month? Check out this page to see where NTEN will be in the community this month; we'd love to link up with you. 

In-person Events

Online Events


Author: "Joleen Ong" Tags: "agenda, deadlines, local events, weekly ..."
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Date: Thursday, 25 Sep 2014 23:57

A monthly roundup of our favorite nonprofit tech resources and other goodies. Read more posts on our blog.

  1. Here’s a Thing We Love: Ash Shepherd is NTEN's new Education Director! We’d welcome him to the party, but he’s been rocking the NTEN party for a good long while already. Drop him a line at his new email address: ash@nten.org.
  2. Makers of the world united digitally this summer to host 2,513 events in 86 countries. But “just because Maker Party 2014 is over doesn’t mean that the party has to end.” Truer words …
  3. If you feel like (re)making history, the British Museum is looking for help to create its own digital clone in Minecraft.
  4. Speaking of remakes, we at NTEN HQ have been recently enthralled with Puddles the Clown’s video remake of Lorde’s “Royals.”
  5. Enthrall others with your own video via PM & Co.’s “Shoot. Win. Inspire” video contest. Shoot an awesome video, get a brand makeover.
  6. Give others the gift of an inbox makeover by following this Email Charter. Make the Internet (and your email) more human-friendly.
  7. Meowbify seeks to make the whole Internet more cat-friendly. Could the Internet be more cat-friendly, you may well ask? It’s certainly a challenge!
  8. Here are 7 challenges inspired by the Icebucket Challenge, the viral campaign that sparked wild card success. Disclosure: we like any opportunity to link to the “Nonprofits with Balls” blog, because it’s wondrous.
  9. In an effort to challenge wild card success, 14LCS keynote speaker Matt Groch and colleague/CEO Jason Saul introduced the Impact Genome Project (or “Moneyball for social impact”).
  10. Could laser-etched produce have an impact on raising food access awareness? Experiment coming live to a zucchini or watermelon near you.
  11. Should the Internet be more easily available to cable companies than nonprofits and individuals? The Battle for the Net is raising awareness of net neutrality.
  12. Raise your glass for the RFP drinking game if you’re frustrated by proposal guidelines.
  13. Finally, in honor of today’s first #WomenInTech Community of Practice call, we raise our glasses to Emma Watson's recent speech in support of the HeForShe Campaign.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "Community, NTEN Connect, Things We Like,..."
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Date: Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 23:02
"Data can create real value for your organization, but it isn’t pixie dust you can just sprinkle down for magical results."
Author: "Steph" Tags: "Data, data culture, process improvement,..."
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Date: Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 19:21
Marketing Specialist
You can’t take it with you. And by "it," we mean all of your legacy data, of course.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "constituent database, Data, data migrati..."
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Date: Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 00:23
Director of Solution Development
Data sets come in many forms ... and go to many places in the average nonprofit. What's happening with your nonprofit's data?
Author: "Steph" Tags: "CRM, Data, data mining, spreadsheets"
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Date: Monday, 22 Sep 2014 23:31

There's a lot happening at NTEN, and we want you to get involved! In this weekly roundup, you'll find the full list of NTEN events, opportunities, and deadlines for participation. Whether it's in-person events such as NTEN Labs or 501 Tech Clubs, online Communities of Practice or webinars, or deadlines for contributing content or applications - this weekly round up has you covered. Also, are you attending an NPTech-related event this month? Check out this page to see where NTEN will be in the community this month, we'd love to link up with you. 

In-person Events

Online Events


Author: "bethany" Tags: "Community, local events, nten"
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 21:42
Senior Manager, Online Fundraising
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas Edison
Author: "Steph" Tags: "data, Data, Leadership, learning from fa..."
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 21:13

“Ash ShepherdWe are excited to welcome longtime NTEN Member, Ash Shepherd, to the NTEN team. As the Education Director, Ash will be responsible for overseeing and designing programs for the NTEN Community to help them transform technology into social change. 

For many of you, no introductions are needed! Ash has been a go-to resource for NTEN staff and members for years. From a Tech Club organizer, to NTEN Lab facilitator, to NTC speaker, to Editorial Committee member, he has demonstrated his commitment for nearly a decade. 

Learn more about Ash's journey through the NTEN Community, lessons learned along the way, tips, and something that might surprise you about him. 

1. Describe yourself in three words
Eager, Translator, Empathetic.

I am constantly driven to see the world become a better place with a knack for making connections as I speak both fluent nonprofit and technology. I am also continually grateful for the value I get when others share their insights and point of view.

2. How did you first get involved with the NTEN Community?
My first introduction to the NTEN Community was through the 501 Tech Club here in Portland, PDXTech4Good. I was initially asked to present but quickly worked my way into co-organizing with a couple of amazing women. After doing that for a number of years, I got the opportunity to be one of the initial members of the Editorial Committee for the NTEN: Change Journal. I was so proud to serve a full three-year term and get a chance to work with such an impressive group of folks to see that effort get off the ground and thrive like it is today.

I couldn't just leave it at that. I jumped on every opportunity I could find to support the NTEN Community from volunteering at NTC conferences, facilitating NTEN Lab events about data, and most recently, participating in the Leading Change Summit. If NTEN was doing it, I wanted to support it.

3. What are some of the lessons you've learned from your previous roles focusing on the intersection of technology and community?
How easy it is to forget that the role of technology in building community is that of simply a tool to support better connections and relationships. It is easy as a staff member trying to stay on top of everything, or for a member of the leadership team trying to sign off on a strategy, to simply focus on the technology, features, and cost. "Does this support our community and the mission?" should be the first question, not an unspoken one.

4. What about lessons learned from being a former Tech Club leader? Any organizing tips?
The biggest danger as a volunteer running an all volunteer group is taking too much on and burning out quickly. We tried to remember that in addition to being super fans of nonprofit technology, as organizers we were people with other things going on in our lives. We tried to always have 3-4 folks carry the main load, and some opportunities for others to have a role that was between organizers and participants. Some ownership and contribution, but not quite the same level of steady commitment.

The other main lesson learned was just to keep it really focused on the experience for the community. Sometimes the topic, presenter, or format just doesn't work (I have been a part of a few bombs for sure) but as long as the conversation is open about what was learned and how to improve, it can remain a positive experience.

5. What are you most excited about as you transition into your new role on staff?
I am truly fascinated by what happens at the "intersections" of things. From how people interact with their environment, how they interact with each other, to how those interactions can be enhanced for social good through the use of technology. Working at NTEN is an opportunity to contribute to the amazing work already underway to evolve the intersection between building community and empowering nonprofits in their use of technology.

Put simply, there is nothing that could be more exciting than being a part of this community as my actual job.

6. Tell us one thing about yourself that might surprise people.
I can juggle.

I know, it doesn't seem very surprising to me either, but the other day my wife walked into a room and saw me juggling for our kids. We have been together for more than a decade and she never knew I possessed that skill. The look on her face indicated it was, in fact, a pretty surprising thing to learn about me.

Author: "Joleen Ong" Tags: "Leadership"
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 21:02
Director of Security Consulting
How can a nonprofit protect the data it holds in the cloud?
Author: "Steph" Tags: "cloud back-up, compliance, Data, IT Staf..."
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 15:00

We kicked off September by launching the 2014 Leading Change Summit...and we couldn't have done it without you.

All of us all NTEN are amazed (but not too surprised, really) by the degree of engagement at the 14LCS, and by the movement of individual ideas into actionable projects during the Idea Accelerator. We're grateful for the articles, blog posts, videos, photos, and more from the 14LCS community. Relive the experience and learn what attendees absorbed during the four days at 14LCS through this content round-up.

Did we miss anything? Please let us know in the comments.

Also, check out the #14LCS experience on Twitter and Instagram, along with the hashtags for each track: Impact Leadership (#14LCSImpact), Digital Strategy (#14LCSDigital), and Future of Technology (#14LCSFuture). Also, check out the #14LCS community discussion forum.

Blog Posts

Media Articles




  • 14LCSPhotos, Trav Williams, Broken Banjo Photography (Official 14LCS Photos)
Author: "Joleen Ong" Tags: "14lcs, idea accelerator, lcs, leading ch..."
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Date: Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 23:36
Communications Specialist
What do the Beverly Hillbillies theme song and data science have in common?
Author: "Steph" Tags: "big data, Data, data science, Program"
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Date: Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 21:55

This year's inaugural Leading Change Summit brought together an amazing group of attendees: passionate people who know they aren’t alone in believing there’s another way to tackle a social issue, who see the world in a multichannel network, and who are looking to flip our cycle of adopting new technology on its head.

As part of 14LCS, we at NTEN were excited to recognize a few individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond to push the limits, redefine the way we approach social impact, and help chart a course for all of us to follow. Based on nominations that came in from the community, we had the challenging task of narrowing it down to just three winners. Here they are, the recipients of the Leading Change Award, the Campaign of the Year Award, and the Technology Impact Award.

The Leading Change Award recognizes an outstanding individual whose leadership has made a significant contribution to positively change their organization, their community, and the sector. Jim Nickerson of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) was this year’s obvious choice.

Jim is a passionate trend starter, and knows the social media scene like the back of his hand. He is a teacher and steps up to be of service in bringing his special brand of brilliance and enthusiasm. Through his superb ability to convey big ideas into a shared vision, Jim forged a cultural identity for SFGMC, and their social media efforts would not be where it is today if not for Jim leading the way.

The Campaign of the Year Award highlights a specific campaign that utilizes an integrated model for technology-supported outreach, communications, and action. We were thrilled to give this award to TeenSource.org.

In 2014, California Family Health Council (CFHC) launched its TeenSource Multi-Media Peer Educators program so that teens themselves could educate their peers in California on safe sex, relationships, and their health rights. They used online trainings in multi-channel communications, and provided substantial support to equip youth leaders with the skills and confidence they needed to talk to their peers about deeply personal sexual and reproductive health topics.

The inaugural class of diverse and passionate teens, hailing from all over California, was trained in how to produce shareable video, create social media content, write compelling blog posts, and even take their outreach offline, speaking in person in their community. 

The Technology Impact Award honors either a technical solution or innovation, from a vendor or nonprofit, that demonstrates the power of technology to connect people with resources, and create a more just and equitable world. Code for America (CFA) has succeeded in accomplishing great things in communities across the nation.

As an organization, CFA focuses on utilizing technology to drive access to government services for people across the US. In 2013, CFA tackled a range of community problems through technology while keeping people and users at the center. CFA Fellows gave South Bend residents a say about what happens to properties in their neighborhood, made public records more accessible in Oakland, and provided judges in Louisville with a better insight into population management in the justice system. Brigades made city budgets easier to understand and put real-time public transit information in the hands of riders. These open source applications are helping to make government work better for everyone.

Kudos to this year’s winners, and many thanks to everyone who works to use technology for social change.

Author: "Steph" Tags: "14lcs, Community, Leadership, leading ch..."
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Date: Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 00:25
Equity Program Manager
How interactive maps can be used to start conversations about equity.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "Data, interactive maps, regional equity,..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 23:46
Director of Insights and Analytics
Organizational data siloes may be the culprit.
Author: "Steph" Tags: "Data, data culture, donor cultivation, F..."
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 15:16

We are all so excited that Julia Smith has found a new opportunity to advance her career that allows her to work offline, in a real office, with other humans in Chicago. We are, of course, sad that it means the NTEN office hasn’t moved to Chicago to be with her. In her time at NTEN, Julia shared many lessons that we will continue to learn from and laugh about for years to come. She will continue to be an active NTEN Member, so it’s not goodbye!

Have any special “Julia” moments? Leave a comment below! Here are just three reasons why Julia will be missed at NTEN:

Julia Smith celebrates CommBuild's fourth birthday

#1 Teleportation

As a remote staff member in Chicago, being 2,000 miles away can have its drawbacks. But true to NTEN’s mission, Julia really put technology to work by stretching the limits (and functionality) of video chats so that we could really understand how she felt about things. If anyone is close to making teleportation happen, it’s Julia.

#2 Herding cats? #NBD

Herding cats, no big deal

When was the last time you tried to organize a group of people? How about over 300 speakers? Julia’s patience, thoughtfulness, and focus on community are unparalleled. She taught all of us that one extra deep breath can never hurt. She also encouraged us to end meetings by asking the question, “what are you excited about?” And herding cats? Just another day in the life for her!

Photo credit: poppet with a camera via Compfight cc

#3 Shorthand Specialist:

In order to get as much done each day as she did, Julia had to be a skilled multitasker, whether that meant taking notes in a live document while leading a conference call, relaying information in one meeting while asking questions via online chat, or simply sending a text message en route to the next event. And she did it with often the kind of internet shorthand that makes us all feel like we were in on a secret operation and events were unfolding all around us. She brought us in on the story, every day. Roger? Over and out.

Photo Credit: freddiefraggles via Compfight cc

We are glad to have had the chance to call Julia a teammate even if it was over the air waves from Chicago. We are so excited she has the opportunity to dig in locally and get out of her apartment every once in a while. She’ll still be around, so be sure to keep giving her high fives and wish her well on Twitter at @juliacsmith!

Author: "Amy" Tags: "education manager, julia smith"
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 00:03
Director of Marketing
You put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into your fundraising event. How can you use data to get the most out of it?
Author: "Steph" Tags: "CRM, Data, event fundraising, Fundraisin..."
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Date: Friday, 12 Sep 2014 16:06

NTEN Members never fail to inspire us. Here's the latest news and events from our Members that has us smiling.

  1. There's a terrific schedule of sessions and an all-star lineup of speakers (including NTEN Members, Steve McDonell of ACHIEVA and Beth Kanter) planned for the Bayer Center for Nonprofits' upcoming Tech Now Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Make sure to register by Sept. 30 to get early-bird pricing.
  2. Going to Salesforce's annual Dreamforce in San Francisco this October 13-16? Make sure to RSVP for Idealist Consulting's free Engagement Party on October 15 for social changemakers like you. Two words: photo booth.
  3. Online fundraising is on the rise, and Nonprofit Tech for Good has 10 Online Fundraising Best Practices to help guide you, complete with examples from nonprofits doing it right, like NTEN Member, MercyCorps.
  4. Congratulations are in order for Cloud4Good, who made the Inc. 500 list this year!
  5. Is "teacher" on your future job list? Teach.org has a new video sharing 7 reasons why being a teacher is awesome.
  6. Speaking of video and things that are awesome, See3 shares their top tips for making video work for your organization.
  7. Before you purchase that shiny new software, Norman Reiss lets you know what to ask your next software vendor to help ensure a smooth transition.
  8. Are you using mobile apps for social change? Zero Divide is hosting a series of TweetChats on mobile for social impact this month, so mark your calendar and join in the Twitter discussion.
  9.  Feeling overwhelmed already by a busy fall calendar? MomsRising has 6 ways to help you stress less and simplify.
  10. Even a 5 year-old volunteer can make a huge impact. Points of Light profiles an inspiring volunteer making a difference from an early age.

If you've got some happenings and news of your own to share, let us know and we'll feature it in an upcoming Member Roundup!

Image credit: Yumi Kimura from Yokohama, JAPAN (so happy smiling cat) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Author: "Megan" Tags: "community, Community, member news, membe..."
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Date: Friday, 12 Sep 2014 14:39

[Photo credit: Idea Accelerator contestants high five after practicing their pitches at the Microsoft evening reception, Sept. 5. Credit: Broken Banjo Photography]

It takes a lot to jump onstage and pitch a brand new idea in front of a new group of people. Will they laugh at you, start to cheer, or be intrigued? On September 5-6, during the Microsoft evening reception and Idea Accelerator finale at the 2014 Leading Change Summit, 24 brave individuals and teams pitched ideas for social good. It was an incredible testament to the commitment and dedication of the nonprofit sector to put words to action - identifying needs and proposing concrete solutions.  

The program was designed by LimeRed Studio’s Emily Lonigro Boylan, Owner and Creative Director, and Demetrio Cardona Maguigad, Director of Strategic Design, who teamed up with NTEN to carry out the event. Also essential to the day were 12 coaches, whose areas of expertise ranged from digital media to business analysis, and three judges: James Rooney, Microsoft; Deena Pierott, iUrbanTeen; and Sonya Watson, Tides Foundation. The task of narrowing the 24 teams down to three winners was a challenge, but for the 21 ideas that did not win the awards, the journey is not over yet.

You can learn about the three winners here. Right now, though, we want to share the 21 other fresh ideas that were pitched. They didn’t make the final cut at the Idea Accelerator, but we are still rooting for them. Interested in any of these ideas? Want to learn more? Leave a comment below and we’ll connect you to the masterminds (and note that the ideas written here are just the initial starting pitches from the opening reception on September 5; they may have evolved and morphed throughout the day on September 6).

  1. Redefining Philanthropy - Dwayne Rice
    Build a Salesforce application to facilitate a culture of philanthropy around education reform by providing a platform to track constituent engagement to lead people up the engagement ladder.

  2. Starter Google Analytics Dashboard for Nonprofits - Kerry Meyers
    Prepare a simple dashboard for nonprofit metrics -- acquisition, cultivation/engagement, solicitation, retention; Explain in easy steps who to set goals and implement snippets in donation forms of leading providers.

  3. Virtual Parent/Family Education - Richard Wollenberger
    This tool will provide video chat help for parents with children aged P-5/6; Trained parent educators will provide research-based support for specific early childhood issues via video chat.

  4. Personalized Healing and Support Plan - Elaine Walters
    Online research-informed health and wellness assessment and planning tool for people who have experienced adversity and trauma.

  5. Come Out to Play? - Christine Gilmore
    Playgrounds are where our youth develop socially, emotionally, and physically; Conflict-resolution, sharing, and relationships are all formed on playgrounds; Safe, clean playgrounds allow children to just be children in a world where they are often forced to take on adult responsibilities

  6. Tech Know Leader - Jana Byington-Smith
    Weekly video/sound round-up of fresh ideas, techniques, and developments to spark innovation and change in nonprofits.

  7. Impact Circles - Birgit Pauli-Haack
    Executive Directors meet to open the Pandora's Box of technology and take the beast to serve their organization's mission and save time and money.

  8. Find Your Parks & People - Ed Goodell
    An app that helps New Yorkers find their parks and programs.

  9. Simple Phone - Jason Shim
    A centralized control panel that allows an organization to provision phone numbers to staff, eliminating need to issue second cell phones and allowing for bulk pricing; Useful for frontline workers who don't want to carry two phones--and affordable.

  10. Data Translator - Lisa Stegman
    Pets are dying unnecessarily; We can solve this and big data is key to insights into communities and nationwide trends; Most shelters use a shelter management system of one kind or another; A simple tool that would translate this data into basic usable data that can be shared and aggregated will unlock the door for those working in this space to increase efficacy and successful outcomes.

  11. The Engagement Dial - Spencer Windes
    Replace the unsubscribe link with an email engagement dial to let your list turn down email frequency without opting out. The goal: greater open rates.

  12. Nonprofit InfoSec - Spencer Bolles
    Compliance awareness  (PCI, HIPAA, FERPA) tools for measuring risk management and mapping of resources to meet organizational needs. (Data, fraud prevention & legal responsibility)

  13. Public Digital Media Center - Sarah Francis
    Public Digital Media Center in a local underserved community. Includes computer labs, classrooms, video recording studio, and current technology accessible to the community.

  14. Silo Busters - Adam Rasmussen
    Nonprofits hire separate consultants for operations initiatives. These consultants work in silos, often unaware of how their work might be affected by each other. This leads to missed opportunities to have one initiative support and enhance another or even obstruct each other. Solution: Guidance to help nonprofits connect the dots among their initiatives.

  15. I.T. Everywhere - Emilie Valentine
    Moving away from IT being a stand-alone department. Looking for a business process/model for moving tech to each department.

  16. Stones Worldview Tango - Richard Cirille
    Empowering learning for students world wide. Using scalable technology to access leadership and learning a minimal cost. Collecting data on all user learning activity. Design solutions for collaboration, empowerment, global views, and self awareness.

  17. Text, Talk, Act - Rebecca Reyes
    Way for people, especially young people, to talk and think about action ideas around a certain issue. It’s a one-hour conversation with 3-4 people. Questions/conversation prompts are sent via text. Participants also text in some answers so others around the country can see responses.

  18. Conference Match - Ritu Sharma
    “Tinder 4 Nonprofits.” Modify and adapt 2-3 matchmaking apps like Tinder to democratize nonprofit to nonprofit, nonprofit to sponsor (for profits), nonprofits to consultants matches.

  19. The Guide to North Carolina Citizen Engagement - Nancy Rose
    Maps processes, guidebooks, tours, citizens’ guide, lobbying registration effectiveness, and influence rankings; Online community around topic-connecting employees with each other.

  20. The Un-Network - Emily Squires
    Nonprofit organizations more often see each other as competition, rather than as a resource for sharing failures, challenges, and successes. The Un-Network is a space for peer-to-peer real talk-no funders allowed--to intentionally find each other and map our ecosystem.

  21. Volunteer recruitment platform - Shannon Paine
    Many neighborhood associations are looking for more people to get involved with the community; Not all associations make it easy for caring citizens to get involved. Proposed solution: An online community portal that would allow associations to post events or projects that need volunteers.

Author: "Joleen Ong" Tags: "14lcs, idea accelerator, lcs, Leadership"
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Date: Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 22:10

[Photos from left: Yee Won Chong; Ann McAlpin; Jeric Kison; Ashish Sinha. Check out their videos on NTEN's Instagram: @NTENorg]

On September 6 in San Francisco, over 250 attendees at NTEN’s Leading Change Summit (14LCS) convened for its finale event: the Idea Accelerator. After three days of exploring ideas, gathering feedback on projects and concepts, and thinking critically amongst nonprofit peers, the Idea Accelerator gave participants the chance to switch gears and think about how to put their ideas into action.

“When we were planning for the inaugural LCS, the key outcome from our perspective was that it should be a unique space for people to connect and share ideas, of course, but also to feel like those ideas weren’t simply a conversation at a conference reception - that those ideas could turn into real projects, programs, campaigns, or applications,” said NTEN CEO, Amy Sample Ward. “In order to ensure the work and concepts that emerged throughout the workshops had a launch pad, we created the Idea Accelerator as the final day’s focus, pushing those ideas into possibilities.”

Designed by Emily Lonigro Boylan, Owner and Creative Director, and Demetrio Cardona-Maguigad, Director of Strategic Design, both of LimeRed Studio, the Idea Accelerator offered the chance for partners who might not have met otherwise to connect on common ideas, and work with coaches to refine the project to meet shared goals. The goal was to surface ideas to create real, world-changing impact that make people’s lives better.

“We wanted to give nonprofits a chance to propel their world changing ideas, especially as they are often overlooked in the tech community,” said Emily. “We wanted to create a fun and collaborative environment to pitch an idea, help them think strategically, and find like-minded individuals to work through their ideas together.” 

Out of the 24 ideas that were pitched at the Idea Accelerator, only eight could advance to the final round. The final eight pitched their ideas onstage to three judges — James Rooney, Microsoft; Deena Pierott, iUrbanTeen; Sonya Watson, Tides Foundation — and attendees, who scored the pitches across five categories: Community, Creativity, Technology, Collaboration, and Sustainability. 

Yee Won Chong took home both the Community Choice and First Place prizes, which included a Microsoft Surface Tablet and passes to both the 15NTC and 15LCS events, for the project: “Say This, Not That.” Supported by teammates Zenzel Lewis, CSRA EOA Inc. Head Start, and Kristen Thompson, Center for Reproductive Rights, this project aims to create a platform that will identify harmful phrases and words in order to avoid perpetuating harm onto others. Yee Won, a Strategist, Trainer, and Consultant for social justice, and former Development and Communications Director at the Western States Center, was inspired by a conversation at 14LCS, which led to the initial project pitch.

“I wanted to connect technology to my interest in nonviolent communication and to educate people about how our words can cause unintended harm,” said Yee Won. “Words matter, and it’s surprising how certain acceptable, everyday words convey violence. This platform we pitched addressed topics such as violence, racism, classism, sexism, and ableism."

The second prize went to “Connections – Aged-Out Foster Kids and Caring Adults,” a concept put together by Ann McAlpin, Executive Director of CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County, and teammates Jill Beasley, Aptify; Ken Goldstein, Benevolent; and Kait Steele, 826 National. The project aimed to support people who came of age in the foster care system after they turn 18 and are declared "independent," to point them to resources and to measure the results of their work with court-appointed special advocates and other mentors.

The third prize went to “Campus Light,” a project by Ashish Sinha, Program Director at the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, and Jeric Kison, Digital Marketing Specialist at the Canadian Cancer Society, that aimed to deploy a website that facilitates peer-to-peer communication & resources for specific colleges, and provides support for students struggling with depression & psychological disorders.

The concepts that were pitched for programs, platforms, and more—from a centralized control panel that would revolutionize the way that nonprofits issue phones and numbers to frontline workers, to a networking app that acts as a matchmaker to conference goers with similar interests—demonstrate that if social change professionals are given time and space to incubate new ideas, they can come up with innovative approaches to meet needs that have not yet been met by technology. Each winner was asked: “How does your project transform technology into social change?” To learn what they had to say, check out the link to the Instagram videos via the @NTENorg account. All Idea Accelerator participants will be encouraged to continue to refine their pitches, work on their projects, and document their progress going forward on NTEN’s blog.

For the full list of project pitches, visit: http://mylcs.nten.org/eventdetails/accelerator/pitches.  

Author: "Joleen Ong" Tags: "14lcs, idea accelerator, Leadership, lea..."
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