Thanks to Holly Ross and the entire Nten staff for last week’s annual Nonprofit Technology Conference, held in New Orleans. With so many worthwhile sessions taking place during the three days, the hardest part was choosing which sections to attend. I was also fortunate to receive what was clearly the most valuable prize at the Sponsor Fair, a $1000 donation to any nonprofit of my choice, generously contributed by Jay Frank of Nice Touch Communications and Telecom for Charity.
Kudos also to Beth Kanter who organized the Day of Service to assist local nonprofits in New Orleans on the first day of the conference. Working with Nancy Schwartz, (who writes Getting Attention to help nonprofits with marketing tips), I gave a quick ephilanthropy tutorial to Casa New Orleans.
I also participated in two conference sessions:
Tug of War or Pulling Together? Building Teamwork for Better Online Campaigns, David Hollender, Jed Cohen and I reviewed strategies for how an organization can work collaboratively instead of in silos. Sharing information regularly can help, as well as a current intranet site and ‘lunch and learn’ where departments are invited to learn about each other’s projects. While it is helpful to build relationships with those in other departments before you are assigned to work on a project with them, it’s also important to make sure that your own department’s goals are met.
The Joy of CMS: Implementing Sustainable Content Management Systems (The Painless Way to Keep Your Web Site Current): I moderated a panel of three CMS experts: Andrew Cohen, Nathan Gasser and Jeff Herron. Instead of focusing on available products (of which there are many), we discussed how the idea of content management can be successfully deployed. Having a current web site is easier when the responsibilities are shared throughout the organization, and when management accepts this as part of everyone’s job. We also discussed work flow – how web pages are reviewed and released, and how to insure that web content is consistent with other communication vehicles.
I also want to commend Laura Quinn and Dahna Goldstein who moderated two sessions on data integration which I attended. Since most of us have data in many locations, it is always challenging to share information between multiple products. Memorable takeaways: when evaluating products, data integration must be on the list of requirements, and it may be best to consider vendors who have been ‘open’ from the start rather than those who have changed mostly due to market demands Let’s keep this discussion going on Nten’s Data Standards & Integration affinity group!
It was also wonderful to return to New Orleans, which clearly is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. My wife and I were serenaded one night by a couple who lost their home and were struggling to make ends meet.