Headlines: After the 11NTC (Nonprofit Technology Conference)

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Panelists from the "Free Agents" session. Photo via Beth Kanter (Flickr/Creative Commons).

Elise and I went to NTEN‘s annual conference in Washington, DC last week. It was great to meet many of you there! Here are some of the takeaways we’ve spotted thanks to the still-buzzing #11NTC Twitter stream

Change doesn’t have to be scary

Online fundraising

Kudos for transparency

Be nice to your tech people

  • Maybe I just have it easy? (Bailey Kasten, Wish You Worked Here). At the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, muses Kasten, “operations and technology have a voice.” She offers some advice to the folks in workplaces where that’s not true.

Storytelling through specific channels

  • DoGooder Video Awards Announced at NTC! (Maddie Grant, SocialFish.org). Thinking of incorporating video into your organization’s communications strategy? Check out the winners of “best thrifty organization video,” “best small organization video,” and more categories.
  • Using Location Based Services for Your Nonprofit (John Haydon, SocialBrite) recaps a session about how services like FourSquare can be included in your strategy to raise awareness and money.

And these are just the beginning!

Are you blogging about your 11NTC experience? Leave a comment below with a link!

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What Does Foursquare Have to Do with Nonprofits?

From Flickr user Walter Elly (Creative Commons)

Foursquare is a web and mobile application that allows its users to share where they are—down to the specific building, park, business, etc.—with their friends. Users earn points and badges for locations that they frequent, and can even become the Foursquare Mayor if they have “checked in” to that spot the most. For many users, it’s like a game (or scavenger hunt?) that helps them explore their city.

So what does all this have to do with nonprofits? At first, I was skeptical, too. But then I read a post on the Nonprofit Tech 2.0 blog and began to see the connection. Heather Mansfield recommends that organizations that are visited frequently by the public (like museums, theaters, libraries, parks, and zoos) should be sure to have a presence on Foursquare. Makes sense.

But Mansfield also lists some types of organizations I wouldn’t have thought of: food banks, homeless shelters, health clinics, hospitals, gyms, schools, and religious institutions. Think how valuable it could be to have Foursquare users effortlessly sharing information about how they’re dropping off donated goods, showing up for their volunteer shift, or making use of your organization’s services.

For tips on how your nonprofit can make the best of Foursquare, see these blog posts by Big Duck, Kyle Lacy, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Seeing Foursquare’s catch phrase, “unlock your city,” I couldn’t help but think of the project going on in New York City right now called Key to the City. Thousands of New Yorkers received actual keys that they can use to unlock 25 rooms, boxes, and spaces that have been set up throughout the city. The hosts of the locked surprises include museums, parks, community gardens, religious institutions, a library, a school, and a community development organization. It’s like an on-the-ground version of the online game, and offers a fun and creative way for organizations to interact with and educate the public.

Has your organization been a part of any location-based activities like these? Please share your experiences!

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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