Archive for February, 2008

Digging out

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I’ve been so bogged down with our site redesign, this blog has gone sorely ignored over the past three months. That and my upcoming panel presentation at SXSW, entitled Pimp My Non-Profit:

Monday, March 10th
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

are weighing heavily on my mind.

I’m having a phone meeting with Beth Kanter today to talk about our 15 minute presentation. We’re working together to compare/contrast fundraising/nptech strategies – mine from the intra-organizational perspective and hers from the extra organizational activist perspective. I actually think we’re going to agree more than disagree, and ultimately I find myself strongly in favor of everything she writes.

I’m coming at this panel with a “reality check” mentality. I am 150% for the use of new technologies within non-profits – from fundraising to marketing, to delivering services and sharing knowledge – however, my experience working within non-profits has been eye opening. Regardless of how in favor of technology an organization is, it doesn’t necessarily equal success. There are a lot of other factors necessary that contribute to or inhibit the long-term sustainability and efficacy of these technologies. Some I just brainstormed include:

  • Buy-in by staff members and senior management (techy AND non-techy folks). This ensures proper funding
  • Technical resources in-house or contracted to make changes, provide tech support, update software
  • Human resources and interest in the technology (to keep content fresh)
  • Access to broadband and any internet connection – not so much an issue with my current organization, but when using these types of technologies in developing countries, fast connections are limited thus inhibiting the types of technology that can be used regularly, such as video or audio. Even in our recent student blogging project, participants found it difficult to get regularly connected to the internet and post entries.
  • Proximity to constituents/participants – a lot of technology training can be handled remotely, but organizations/universities that have better success with their blogging projects have had face-to-face contact with their participants, creating a sense of community and ownership over the software. I don’t think this is necessary ALL the time, but definitely can help.
  • Replicable – staff leaves, contingency plans? Can others take over? Have the same interest/stake in the technology doing its job?
  • Empowerment – Can owners be successful with the technology? Are they truly owners of the software and can they share their excitement for its potential?

These ideas aren’t totally fleshed out, but very near and dear to my own experiences as an intra-organizational techy.

Leopard slacks

I’m hoping to get some more concrete presentation ideas after our meeting, and maybe even chat about the choice of “Pimp clothes” that the group is planning to wear. Personally I’m hoping for something in pink and leopard print. Maybe some large blingy chains and or rings with obnoxiously large plastic stones …

And we’re live!

World Learning webpage

I’ve been greatly remiss in posting to this blog over the last couple of months as I’ve been deeply mired in the redesign of my organization’s website. Truly an adventure in patience, flexibility, and unbelievable hard work, but we FINALLY went live this morning. Our web team was incredible, and this amazing site wouldn’t have been possible without the work of each of them going above and beyond the call of duty. Thanks everyone, and enjoy the new look of World Learning.org!