Friday, May 1, 2009

People are more important than tools - #09NTC wrap up

The 2009 Nonprofit Technology Conference hosted by NTEN was an amazing experience. This was my 6th year and was by far the best. Here are some highlights to convince how crazy you are for having missed it.

First, Holly Ross, who I deeply admire for her ability to act as the gentle hand that conducts the symphony that is NTEN. Hollyonce stepped up and fullfilled her promise to reinact "All the Single Ladies". YOU HAVE TO WATCH THE VIDEO! In my opinion, Holly's smile, adorable daughter and genuineness make her better than Beyonce anyday!

People! It was awesome to have 1,450 people there to learn all about Nonprofit Tech! I felt so inspired and part of a real community. Our hashtag #09NTC was lit up all over twitter, we were only second behind the stupid Swine flu, cough cough, uh oh. Here is a great analysis of our traffic on Twitter via the #09NTC hashtag.

Clay Shirky was fantastic, the room was a buzz with quotes, thoughts and everyone pulling out their credit card to buy his book, Here Comes Everybody. I would take time to tell you what I learned, but this post with 15 Qutoes from Clay Shirky already did.

But here is one Shirky thought I would add these two:
  • Technology doesnt just allow you to do the same thing faster, it allows you to rethink how you do everything.
  • Use of social tools & application is more important than the design. so dont ask how to use socnet, ask why & what do you want 2 happen?
Eben Moglin, (learn more at this talk was very intellectual and deep in thought. At times I was having a hard time keeping up because I was a little distracted with his slower presentation style. However, there were some real nuggets and deep insights to this talk:
  • Lets make knowledge something we share, not something that someone else owns.
  • Future is free software, free hardware and free bandwidth
  • "You can't stop people from thinking, you can only stop them from sharing"
  • Profit is not evil, but it is easy to do evil when your eye is on profit. Money isn't the problem, it's the love of money. Greed gets in the way.
  • Its not about intellectual property, it should be free speech
IT Alignment
I had the pleasure of presenting a session all about IT alignment with John Merritt from the San Diego YMCA, it was fantastic! We based the session on the IT alignment chapter from the NTEN book Managing Technology to Meet your Mission. But rather than cover what is already on the book, we went on a couple tangents, Role of the CEO and a conversation where IT Strategy comes from.

The role of the CEO presentation focused on what decisions the CEO has to make versus the IT Director. We also talked about John Merritt's favorite acronym, the ART of Technology. ART = Alignment, Relationship and Transparency. Align technology with mission, relationship between IT and all staff with a solid foundation of transparent technology (meaning it works so well you dont know its there).

We also stepped back in time t0 1993 to talk about this diagram from Venkatraman. This diagram demonstrates how many technology strategies get created. The key to this is understanding that there are many different ways that your IT initiatives will get started and your planning should include all of them.

Optimizing Landing Pages to convert more donors - Donordigital
Here are some ideas from the session (just some not all)
  • People read about 25% slower on the internet than on paper, so need less words
  • Things to test, headline, header image, gift strings, copy under headline and form layout.
  • Does your copy explain you mission, list how money will be used, is it tax deductible?
  • Are you asking for useless information on your donor form? like surname? middle initial, daytime number, suffix? I mean really are you going to use it?
  • Multivariate is testing multiple variables (page elements) on a landing page at the same time? How well do the elements work together?
  • Amnesty example talks about spending soo much of there times with interactive tools and widgets but they missed the point that people were getting lost at the landing pages because of content and layout. Traffic is only good if it stays and converts which was getting lost on widget focus.
Knowing where your constituents are online - Michael Cervino - Beaconfire
Steps to find online constituents:
  1. Outline key objectives of site and establish baseline
  2. Understand what to track - know what direction to go
  3. Understand cross channel performance
  4. Continually monitor trends
Other notes
  • You need to think through how to keep online donors, they are easy to loose and may have a tendency to not return. How will you engage and retain them?
  • Trends are more important than snapshots of activity
  • Target and communicate more with those that are most active. And downgrade those that are less active.
  • What is it that measures success for you on the web? What is your key outcome?
  • How do you find out who is already talking about you on a social space or a blog? and are they worth trying to recruit to speak on your behalf? and are they able to help? Google search with technorati can find top blogs using key words. is a good resource to find blogs on similar topc/interest.
  • Find methods to get people to talk about you, dont push messages, build relationships and arm your supporters with tools.
  • One of the greatest predictor in a fundraising event is your campaigners getting that first gift.

Unleashing the Ultimate Cool Factor: Case Studies of Conferences Energized Through Social Media - big panel with Maddie Grant

  • Talking about an event and building the hype should be a year round activity.
  • Build a community around the purpose of the event
  • Rally to build knowledge and sharing even before you get together in person
  • dont do anything in social media unless you have a goal and you can measure it
Effective Online Communications - John Kenyon (Awesome NPTech Rockstar)
  • build your online coummincation for your audience, not what your staff or board wants.
  • Create a calendar of communication plan, but think message not tool (who will write, what, when) then match tool 2 audience
  • Content, cultivation, credibility and clickability - 4 Cs of a
  • Volume of email subscriptions is not useful if they dont really want to hear from you.
  • Hilarious="if sister margaret can maintain a website at 87 and learn HTML at 74, then you can too."
  • Email should be personal, targeted, integrated with web/direct mail, trackable
  • good content=1. highlight keywords 2. use bullet list 3. one idea per pargph 4. cut txt in half twice 5. use links
No Country for old media - David Neff (American Cancer Society=ACS)
Click here to see the full presentation or here are a few highlights:
  • Help your supporters take the Lead – The frozen pea fund was a very successful fundraising campaign that was hatched by a Cancer survivor. She needed an ice pack in recovery, but didn’t have one, so she used frozen peas. Then decided to post that and share it and the concept caught on to a group. Then ACS heard about it, contacted them to provided support and tools.
  • ACS decided not to use YouTube because of possible negative & stupid comments, like "dude, that video sucked"
  • Everyone should be thinking about some sort of mobile giving campaign, use of mobile tech is exploding
  • google analytics,,,, google blog alerts beta, facebook, good search tools to monitor conversations
  • ACS gave access to secret special videos if someone raises enough money for their org
Well anyway, it was an awesome conference, mad props to the staff at NTEN! Can't wait for Atlanta NTC, April 2010.

No comments: