Archive for the 'Blogging' Category

Fundraising and outreach in a changing economy

This past week I had the chance to attend the Convio ‘08 Summit with my colleague Andrew at Forum One. The conference was held in Austin, Texas and provided a few days to meet-up with other NP Techers (so great to see all of you!), catch up on some of the latest trends in the industry, and of course, eat GREAT food :o).

Since I spent most of the time during the conference chatting with non profits and standing at our organization’s booth in the exhibit hall, I didn’t have a lot of time to attend panels. When I did have the opportunity, most of the discussions were fairly similar to those I participated in at NTC ‘08. The one discussion that did feel new was the keynote by Tony Elischer, Managing Director of UK-based consulting firm THINK.

Elischer broke the stigma barriers and actually talked about non profit technology through the lens of the recession. While I think a lot of us were hoping that this economy stuff is really just a bad dream that we’ll wake up from in a few weeks, I think it was good to acknowledge the situation and actually talk about realistic expectations and tactics.

I wrote up my impressions from his Tony’s presentation on the Forum One Influence blog, and hope it can be of some inspiration (and comfort) to organizations who are nervous and vigilant during these changing times.

Pressure to blog - an awesome webchat from today’s NTEN office hours!

Inspired by a great blog post from Johanna on this very topic, I decided to focus today’s office hours on the pressures of blogging professionally when your life is already very very full!

Kenneth Cole Awearness blog features global changemakers

Lucky me, I got to be one of them!


The folks at Kenneth Cole Awearness approached me several months ago, after viewing some of my Cambodian photography on Flickr. The photograph they chose to feature is one that means a great deal to me. It was taken during one of my first field visits to speak with women participating in our micro finance program and this woman’s particular story (and the image that was burned into my memory) kept me awake at night. Like so many other Cambodian women (and women globally), this grandmother has lost her daughter to HIV/AIDS and is now primary caregiver for several grandchildren. She is overburdened physically and financially and is trying to keep hope alive where there is virtually none. The work that Pact’s WORTH program was doing in Cambodia offered this woman possibility - a chance to lift herself out of poverty. I’d love to go back and find her to see if our work had an impact. I’m praying it did.

The Awearness blog is a great place to get inspiration on a daily basis. View my full Awearness blog posting here, and thanks again to Kenneth Cole!

Pimp My Non Profit panel at SXSW 2008

Pimp My Non Profit photo

Our panel on Monday night went fabulously, and thanks to all who contributed and made this the most widely attended non-profit panel at SXSW! Special thanks to Ed and Katie for taking a chance on including a newbie like me, and for picking great pimp gear for us to wear, and to Rachel, Agent Handy, and Beth for being an awesome crew to “pimp” with.

Although I still have a lot of blogging to catch up on, the nasty cold/flu that I picked up in Austin is encumbering my efforts a bit. However, I did want to make sure that my notes (see below) and slides were available online in case folks had any follow-up questions (and I am happy to answer those via email too). I promise that write-ups from panels and more formulated thoughts will follow soon (and hopefully before I make it to NTEN next week!). Continue reading ‘Pimp My Non Profit panel at SXSW 2008′

Promises, promises

What was it I said a few weeks ago about being back in the blogosphere? Yeesh. I didn’t expect to fail so quickly. But one thing I’m sure most of you would agree with is that making the assumption that your workload will lighten up once you launch an enterprise-sized website is foolish, and that if anything, the work has only *just* begun. So that’s where I am - in the midst of post-launch updates and planning for future interactive modules. There’s a lot of fun work down the pike, but for now, we need to make sure the basics are covered and most importantly, that stakeholders are happy with the new site.

All this, and I get to take a few days away from the daily grind to congregate with other geeks at this weekend’s SXSW Interactive festival. I’m stoked to return to this event - a year after I first attended - and this time as a presenter on non-profit technology. I had an amazing time in 2007, but felt there was very limited discussion about NPTECH and how non-profits can leverage the same tools as for-profits, and how big those results could be. I’m speaking with Beth Kanter, Erin Denny, and Rachel Weidinger, on a panel moderated by Ed Schipul, where we hope to impart some wisdom to both non-profits and vendors on how best to kick ass with technology. I’m most excited about the discussion time after the panel as it will be a good pulse check to understand where folks are struggling most and what issues we need to focus on more as an industry.

I’m also eager to meet all the great folks I’ve been networking with for over a year, including my fellow panelists! Last year I attended with a group of colleagues from graduate school and I was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, and fairly lost in the techno-whirr of the festival. There were long lines of folks waiting to chat with geek rockstars - mostly people I had never heard of. There was constant twittering about good and bad panels, the best parties to attend - a veritable smörgåsbord of SMS diarrhea - and I wasn’t quite sure how to take it all in. This year there won’t be an absence of that fire-hose guzzling phenomena, but I’ll have a bit more context to apply, a lot more friendly faces to look for in the crowds, and new technologies and strategies to be inspired by.

I also can’t wait to enjoy a decent enchilada, margarita, and barbecue platter :o).

I hope to continue my blogging from the conference (I am really trying to keep this promise), but please disregard the fact that I’ll be using my work PC. Obviously I’d rather use my Macbook Pro, but toting along my work computer makes the most sense for a number of reasons. The good folks at EchoDitto promised to bring me an Apple sticker to plaster over that hideous Gateway logo, and hopefully, that will keep several of you from thinking I’m a techno-hypnocrite :o). Because I swear I’m not.

Reaching out: University lessons-learned from student blogging

In the quest to perfect our study abroad blog pilot - which seems to be going very well these days - I’ve been reaching out to several universities that are doing a fantastic job with their student blogging projects. Most all of these blogs would be classified as “admissions blogs” and give the reader an insider perspective about what it’s like to be a student on their university programs - whether it’s a student attending math classes on home campus, or spending a semester studying in Spain. The content is engaging, the design fantastic, and it’s clear that these universities have a strong handle on producing strong, reliable, and authentic content.

Giving up some of the university’s control of content and decentralizing it to students is an intimidating prospect for most organizations, yet the content created in these venues can be the most compelling for perspective students. As I’ve said before, it’s a fine line to walk between being too controlling and encouraging bloggers to user their own voice. Here are some of the tips in my running list of good techniques to employ when setting up a student blog: Continue reading ‘Reaching out: University lessons-learned from student blogging’

Free Burma

Free Burma!

Help Free Burma too.

Web 2.0 - it’s not just for kids

And I’m not saying that because I spend a good chunk of my day trying to understanding the nuances of the changing web 2.0 environment or how people are harnessing the power of the net in fun and creative ways. I’m also not saying that to defend my professionalism or my age - which despite my youthful looks - is pushing up against the 30-something mark. Whether I’m presenting on this type of information in the workplace, or responding to lectures or presentations about web 2.0, oftentimes I get skeptical looks when I share what I feel to be the power of these interactive and community-driven tools. But then these skeptics give me a once-over, do a double-take, and then they have their “Ah Ha” moment. Silly girl. She only finds these tools exciting because she’s just a kid!

I spend time using these tools NOT because I’m young, but because it’s part of my job. Maybe I just happen to be well-educated in the work that I do and I consider it imperative to know what’s out there and at least be semi-versed in it. Would you believe a year ago when I was living in Kenya I had little to nothing to do with these sites? I determined last fall that this was the kind of career I wanted and therefore I needed to go about learning the industry. And I did.
Continue reading ‘Web 2.0 - it’s not just for kids’

More on Myanmar…

It only took a day after I wrote my last post before the ruling junta in Myanmar shut down the internet and disabled several cell phone networks to prevent the free-flow of messages, video, and photographs streaming out of the country.

According to the Guardian:

The Burmese government apparently cut internet access today in an attempt to staunch the flow of pictures and messages from protesters reaching the outside world.

An official told the Agence France-Presse news agency that the internet “is not working because the underwater cable is damaged”.

In Bangkok, in neighbouring Thailand, an official at a telecommunications firm that provides satellite services to Burma said some internet service inside the country had been cut.

The London-based blogger Ko Htike said: “I sadly announce that the Burmese military junta has cut off the internet connection throughout the country. I therefore would not be able to feed in pictures of the brutality by the brutal Burmese military junta.”

Mr Htike said he would try his best to feed the Burmese junta’s “demonic appetite of fear and paranoia by posting any pictures that I receive though other means … I will continue to live with the motto that ‘if there is a will there is a way’.”…

But people are still talking about Burma - probably even more now that most of these message channels have been disabled. Webpages are plastered with articles, videos fill up pages on youTube, and several of my colleagues and friends are wearing red shirts in support of the Burmese dissidents.

Empowering Myanmar, one blog at a time

In 2002 when I was in graduate school, I did research on “hactivism” in Myanmar - the expanding practice of using internet channels to promote political ideology in opposition to the ruling totalitarian regime. You can download this paper if you want to read more.

Back then, the focus was on getting information into Myanmar through peer-to-peer networks - using connections to bases like Napster to transmit controversial and banned information on the state of the country, including international reaction. Burmese expatriates the world over secretly gathered in chat rooms to determine their messaging, and then used creative technology to educate and empower those activists in Myanmar who were quietly and secretly waiting for signs that the regime was growing weaker or for a specific call to action.
Continue reading ‘Empowering Myanmar, one blog at a time’