The Nonprofit Technology Conference 2011 Sessions Are Up To You

1 Comment 22 September 2010

The very best conference in nonprofit technology, the Nonprofit Technology Conference, will take place on March 17-19, 2011 in Washington, D.C. This is a not-to-miss conference for nonprofit organizations – you can’t afford to NOT think about how your organization can take advantage of social media, video, online fundraising, hardware and software, and trends in technology. The best part of the conference? Everyone else who attends. The combined knowledge in that room could easily solve all of the world’s problems.

NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network, invites its stakeholders to vote for the sessions that they want to attend at the conference. The voting results, combined with their discretion, shape the agenda for the conference. This year, they received 75% more workshop submissions than last  year, so there are a lot of wonderful sessions proposed by the NTEN community.

How voting works:

Choose a session you’d like to attend (you can find all of them here) and click on the number of stars at the bottom of the session description that reflects your enthusiasm for the session. NTEN staff added their personal touch to the voting with these helpful phrases: one star is “not even if you paid me,” two stars are “ehn,” three stars are “niiiice,” four stars are “now that’s what I’m talkin’ about,” and five stars are described as a “double rainbow!” If you click on the session title, you can also add a comment about the session.

It can be hard to choose from among so many options this year, so you can also search through the session by your area of interest: program, leadership, IT staff, communications, and fundraising. I’ve had the privilege of working with incredibly talented colleagues to craft five session proposals, which I hope you’ll consider voting for. If you have comments about the sessions, I’d love hear them, either on the NTC voting page or in the comments of this blog post.

1. Building a Community Across Platforms

This session was developed jointly with Amy Sample Ward.  In this session, we will explore the idea that of building a cohesive online community for your nonprofit or cause across several online platforms (Linkedin Group, Ning Group, Facebook Page, etc.). We will also address the unique challenges to this approach.

This is the description:

As a catalyst, your organization does not need to force community into a hole, but adapt to managing the cross-platform dynamics that community members use. However, the real challenge is creating community across platforms. In this session, we will explore the meaning of community across social media channels and how to choose and manage the strategic direction of multi-channel community building. Join us to examine where your community resides online using a mapping exercise, think about cross-channel best practices, and talk about examples of successful cross-platform community building.

2. Unleashing Community Evangelists: Developing Online Communication Volunteers

This session was developed jointly with Jessica Kirkwood, of the Points of Light Institute/HandsOn Network. We created this session as an answer to the question: how can nonprofit organizations build into their online strategy a plan to develop and utilize its most enthusiastic online fans? We are calling these fans “online program ambassadors.”

Here’s the session description:

In this session, we will present models for sourcing and finding online ambassadors and evangelists for your cause. We will also present case studies from nonprofit organizations that are utilizing online communication volunteers to move their causes forward and benefit the entire organization. During the last part of the session, we will leave time for everyone to assess and develop a plan to unleash the power of your online communication volunteers on behalf of your cause.

3. The Social Website: Integrating Social Media Website Design and Function

This session was developed jointly with Seth Giammanco of Minds on Design Lab, an interactive design and development studio. The website is now the social website. We developed this session to answer: what are the best ways to integrate the conversations that are happening in your nonprofit’s social media spaces with one’s website, and how does that benefit the organization? We’ll present case studies and an on-site “social site clinic.”

Here’s the session description:

This session will offer a unique combination of prepared case presentations and an interactive social website clinic.

In the first part of the session the presenters will showcase a collection of examples where social media/network outreach activities are integrated into the core websites of the organization. Each example will be presented and discussed by the co-presenters to share their thoughts on visual, experiential and strategic design decisions made as well as the technologies used to create them. In the second half of the session we will offer a “social site clinic” – opening the session up to attendees that want to volunteer their organization’s websites for discussion. During the clinic, the presenters and audience will evaluate the social integration of the website and consider (with the attendee) how to best integrate their community activities with the website to meet their organizational goals.

4. Using Community Organizing for Effective Campaigns

This session is an update of the session that Ivan Boothe, Amy Sample Ward and myself presented at this year’s NTC.

Here’s the session description:

We believe traditional community organizing helps to inform an effective online campaign for social change, and will lay the groundwork for a sustainable, long-term movement. We’ll present some specific tools you can use, drawn from community organizing, that will help you identify targets, hone your strategy and engage activists to prevent burnout.

Participants in this workshop will get their hands dirty planning an online campaign for social change that integrates traditional organizing theory and practice. We’ll invite three participants to serve as case studies, break up into small groups and collectively map out an online strategy. Each group will present its campaign strategy and tactics to the entire workshop, and facilitators will offer feedback and additional ideas.

5. Social Media and Contact Relationship Management: The New Mix

This workshop was developed with Steve Backman of Database Designs. This workshop was developed to address the question: what is the best way to integrate contact relationship manager with social media? We will also explore the concept of “social CRM” and why it is the future of CRM.

Here’s the description:

Social CRM is a combination of the tools and processes that encourage better, more effective customer interaction and leverage the collective intelligence of the stakeholder community in order to increase intimacy between organizations and its stakeholders. The goal of social CRM is build a public ecosystem to better understand what your stakeholders want and how they interact with the various company touch points like volunteer opportunities, donations, sales, customer service, and more. While CRM strategies seem more internal and staff driven, new concepts like “social CRM” suggest convergence in exciting ways.



Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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