NTEN: Change | March 2014

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CHANGE A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders · March 2014

The Future

of Technology


by Willa Seldon


15 Minutes to Better Website SEO PAGE 33 by Andrew Garberson

PETA vs. SeaWorld PAGE 22 by Bonnie McEwan


Ashoka Empathy Initiative PAGE 36 BEHIND THE SCENES:

Ask Big Questions PAGE 27 Text, Talk, and Act PAGE 30

Unlocking Your Data’s (Life-Saving) Potential PAGE 39 by Shubha Bala






Scaling Up Social Change by Jesse Littlewood, EchoDitto

The 2014 Digital Teams Report by Communicopia

Connect | Community Buzz by Julia Smith

Start listening! The largest and most successful civic organizations focus on making themselves relevant to their membership base.

What did nonprofit digital teams look like in 2013?



The Three Elements Behind Successful Technology Change by Michael Reardon, Blackbaud & Andi Sobbe, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Nonprofits must always strive to be as advanced with their internal structure and technology as society is. Unfortunately, sometimes those attempts to upgrade fall flat. Learn how you can avoid this.

The Evolving Role of IT on Leadership by Steve McDonell, ACHIEVA


The Big Shift: Moving the role of technology from a non-existent or reactionary service, to a valuable asset that helps you meet your mission.



Community | Becoming a Community-Driven Organization by Amy Sample Ward PAGE 48

Cindy Leonard & Tobias

Eigen Q&A: The seven questions we always ask about nonprofit technology.

Sustainability | Our Bumpy Road to Sustainability by Eileigh Doineau PAGE 50


by joleen ong

ference (NTC). Many of the guest authors featured in this issue also led discussions at the NTC. True to its name, the Change journal is changing. We’re proud to welcome new EditoWhen the words of our quarterly theme, “innovative rial Committee members, and introduce Ashley Paulisick, the artist behind the cover and competitive” come to mind, I think about what painting. we can learn from farmers. The cover portrait is a tribute to Juanita Baltodano, President of the APPTA Fair Trade To enjoy the fruits of our labor, we need to be flexible and cacao and banana cooperative in Costa Rica. She is the real responsive to external conditions, and have the patience to farmer that brought inspiration to this issue – even age-old see it through to harvest. You can’t rush nature, but you can farming practices can be revitalized for broader community set yourself up for success. impact! Learn more about the cover image from Ashley’s The articles in the March issue of the NTEN: Change perspective on page 4. journal capture stories of nonprofits in transition; they’re transforming from one stage to another, using technology Joleen Ong, NTEN Marketing & to fuel their campaigns, initiatives, and to optimize their Publications Director and Editor of the day-to-day work. NTEN: Change Journal, joleen@nten.org Feature articles by Jesse Littlewood, Michael Reardon, COVER PAINTING INSPIRATION: Juanita Baltodano, President of and Andi Sobbe describe important lessons on how nonthe APPTA Fair Trade cacao and banana cooperative (left). I’m on the right, a starry-eyed college student, circa 2006. Juanita profits need to listen, grow, and scale up to achieve the demonstrates that you can innovate anything for the greater good, even age-old farming practices. change they want to see. The articles from Willa Seldon and Steve McDonell zoom out and examine the “future of techTHE R IN TH E NO ISE OF “D nology,” and the “evolving role of IT on leadership.” N P RO FIT SE ATA CULT URE” CTOR The March issue also goes behind the scenes with two Discover initiatives, Ask Big Questions and Text, Talk, and Act, and Q: NTEN: Change Bonnie McEwan explores the campaign tactics behind Discover a wealth PETA’s campaign against SeaWorld. We also converse with Q: of valuable the team behind the Ashoka Empathy Initiative, and DataKind demonstrates how data can, in fact, save lives. information for Q: It’s no coincidence that we’re releasing this quarter’s nonprofit leaders issue on the heels of our annual Nonprofit Technology Con-

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2013 · PAGE


CHANGE A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders · March 2014

The Future

of Technology


behind the Scenes: Ask big Questions (p. 27)


by Willa Seldon


15 Minutes to Better Website SEO PAGE 33 by Andrew Garberson

PETA vs. SeaWorld PAGE 22 by Bonnie McEwan


Ashoka Empathy Initiative PAGE 36

Unlocking Your Data’s (Life-Saving) Potential PAGE 39


by Shubha Bala

Ask Big Questions PAGE 27 Text, Talk, and Act PAGE 30

The Future of Technology by Willa Seldon, The bridgespan group (p. 5) Nonprofit leaders can use technology to learn from their constituents how to deliver more and better services. To do this, they need to consider technology to gather valuable information from their constituents, learn how to use the information gathered, and put technology in place to measure, learn from, adapt, and share results with constituents.

Scaling Up Social Change by jesse littlewood, echoDitto (p. 9) The secret to scaling up your organization starts by listening to your members. From “netroots” groups like MoveOn, to “functional organizing” groups like AARP, the largest and most successful civic organizations focus on making themselves relevant to their membership base. The Three elements behind Successful Technology Change in organizations by

Michael Reardon, blackbaud & Andi Sobbe, The University of n.C., Chapel Hill (p. 14) Nonprofits must always strive to be as advanced with their internal structure and technology as society is. Unfortunately, sometimes those attempts to upgrade fall flat. This article identifies three key elements of a successful CRM adoption process, and uses examples from a major university that went through the same process.

The evolving Role of IT on leadership by Steve McDonell, ACHIeVA (p. 18)

Change is constant. Technology accelerates the pace of that change. Learn helpful tips on shifting the role of technology at your organization from a non-existent or reactionary service, to a valuable asset that helps you meet your mission.

PeTA vs. SeaWorld (p. 22)

Using a wide array of tactics and technologies, the animal rights group, PETA, reaches different target audiences across a range of channels to generate support, and spark policy change at both the public and corporate level. PETA’s 16-year SeaWorld campaign is a lesson in creativity, tenacity, and the power of good timing with the documentary, “Blackfish.”

Infographic: The 2014 Digital Teams Report by Communicopia (p. 26)

What did nonprofit digital teams look like in 2013? Check out this infographic from Communicopia that summarizes key findings from its 2014 report, and also reports on the influence and impact of digital teams.

In this interview, learn how the “Ask Big Questions” project is creating a better culture of conversation on campuses around the world, how they measure impact and success, and what channels they use to engage with audiences.

behind the Scenes: Text, Talk, and Act (p. 30)

On December 5, 2013, hundreds of people took part in a nationwide, text-enabled discussion to talk about the importance of mental health. In this interview, learn how this 100% volunteer-run initiative is strategically using technology to drive engagement.

Tech Support: 15 Minutes to better Website Seo by Andrew garberson,

lunaMetrics (p. 33) Check out this 15-minute competitive search engine optimization (SEO) audit to determine your organization’s current online position, where it can be, and how to get it there.

Project Spotlight: Ashoka’s empathy Initiative (p. 36)

The power of the changemaker must be based in empathy to ensure change for the good of all. In this interview, learn more about how empathy is a critical trend behind sustainable and systemic change, and how they’re working to cultivate empathetic capacity in schools across the nation.

Unlocking your Data’s (life-Saving) Potential by Shubha bala, DataKind (p. 39)

Despite huge strides in providing people around the world with life-saving vaccines, many still die because vaccines will spoil if not kept within a cool temperature range. Learn how the partnership between two nonprofits, DataKind and Nexleaf Analytics activated the power of data to track vaccine preservation with ColdTrace, as well as five tips to get started on your own data science project.

editorial Committee Profiles: Cindy leonard & Tobias eigen (p. 42)

Cindy Leonard from the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management & Tobias Eigen from Kabissa the seven questions we always ask about nonprofit technology.

nTen Voices: Connect | Community buzz (p. 47)

Check out recent tweets from our community about nonprofit technology and innovation, collected by NTEN Education Manager, Julia Smith.

nTen Voices: Community | becoming a Community-Driven organization (p. 48)

At age 15, NTEN is gearing up for a purposeful and thoughtful transition to become a community-driven organization inside and out. NTEN’s CEO Amy Sample Ward reflects on this transition, including shifts in policy and strategy, tactical plans, and even branding.

nTen Voices: Sustainability | our bumpy Road to Sustainability (p. 50)

With a community of over 50,000 members, how is NTEN doing its part to be sustainable? NTEN Sponsorship & Development Coordinator Eileigh Doineau shares her candid reflections on establishing the internal “green team.”

nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe

ABOUT THE COVER Introducing the Artist Behind NTEN: Change’s cover, Ashley Paulisick

A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders


“After years of creating illustrations for a myriad of nonprofit organizations, and even attending NTEN’s annual conference myself, it was a pleasure to have NTEN commission this artwork for the Change Journal. The process of visually narrating the editorial work of such bright nonprofit professionals was an exciting challenge. The final result is this playful representation of innovation and growth. I hope it inspires fresh thinking and brilliant ideas.” –Ashley Paulisick, March 2014

About Ashley: Ashley Paulisick graduated from the University of Dayton in 2003 with a B.A. in illustration. She then began her career as a freelance artist in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. After years of primarily working as an illustrator for nonprofit clients including Oxfam America, she moved to London in 2010 to earn her masters degree in art business at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art. While in Europe, she studied with accomplished painters such as James Horton, President of the Royal Society of British Artists. Ashley moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2011 where she currently paints in an old schoolhouse retrofitted with artists’ studios. She also serves as the Vice President of the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators. Learn more about her work at www.ashleycecil.com.

cHaNGe Editor Joleen Ong

Design Philip Krayna

Marketing & Publications Director, NTEN

NKD - Neuwirth/Krayna Design www.nkdesigngroup.com

Editorial Committee Members Josh Hirsch Jeanne Allen Program Coordinator, Duke University Nonprofit Management Program

Director of Development and Marketing, Weiss School

Chris Bernard

Director of Digital Marketing, Sanford Health

Editorial and Communications Director, Idealware

Melanie Bower Client Services Manager, Social Accountability Accreditation Services

CHANGE A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders · March 2014

The Future

of Technology


15 Minutes to Better Website SEO PAGE 33 by Andrew Garberson

PETA vs. SeaWorld PAGE 22 by Bonnie McEwan


Ashoka Empathy Initiative PAGE 36 BEHIND THE SCENES:

Unlocking Your Data’s (Life-Saving) Potential PAGE 39 by Shubha Bala

Ask Big Questions PAGE 27 Text, Talk, and Act PAGE 30


Nicole Lampe Digital Strategy Director, Resource Media

Cindy Leonard

Tobias Eigen

Consulting Team Leader, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management

Executive Director, Kabissa – Space for Change in Africa

Bonnie McEwan


Assistant Professor and Consultant, Milano-The New School & BonnieMcEwan.com

Wiebke Herding

Rebecca Reyes

Managing Director, On:Subject Communications

Communications Manager, Everyday Democracy

Sophia Guevara


by Willa Seldon

Sunny Kapoor

Cover Art: Ashley Paulisick – www.ashleycecil.com Advertising: Learn more about sponsoring NTEN:Change at nten.org/advertising/reserve Permissions & Inquiries: Please give credit to all referenced or re-published content according to the Creative Common license: Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported. Example Attribution text: “First published in NTEN:Change (http://nten.org/NTENChange), MARCH 2014, CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-sa/3.0/).” More information about the journal can be found at http://nten.org/NTENChange/Press

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the Future oF technology how nonprofits can use technology to Better Serve People in need

by Willa Seldon The Bridgespan Group nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe

or a short time, I worked on the cutting edge of technology, investing in tech companies and putting technology to use in ways that were ahead of my peers. But honestly, today I find myself more focused on maintaining and deepening human interaction rather than technology interaction.


While I can’t predict the future of technology, I do know that we must get better at balancing technology and human interaction. In the nonprofit sector where I now work, I see some trends with implications for how this balancing might play out. Donors and nonprofit watchdogs, for example, increasingly demand that nonprofits interact with their clients or beneficiaries—let’s call them constituents—to deliver services more effectively and with greater impact. And technology has a big role to play. Constituent engagement is a challenge for most social sector organizations, perhaps in the same way that listening is a challenge for most people. For nonprofits, it is often unclear what the best strategies are for eliciting useful input, much less how to take action based on it. Moreover, few can imagine involving constituents in deeper ways, like developing and redesigning programs. However, there is increasingly good evidence from education, healthcare, and neighborhood revitalization that

the future of technology constituent perspectives (“local knowledge”) blended with research (“technical knowledge”) can lead to better programs and greater impact. Let me cite two examples. Friendship Public Charter School

Friendship Public Charter School, a $72 million charter management organization that runs six charter and four turnaround schools (previously non-charter public schools converted to independent public charters designed to achieve a dramatic and comprehensive intervention in a low-performing school) in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, demonstrates how integrating technical knowledge with local knowledge can help overcome big challenges.1 Friendship initially drew upon research-based strategies to increase student achievement: longer school days, double doses of math and reading, team teaching. By 2006, student achievement gains had flatlined, prompting COO Patricia Brantley to search for new ways to get better results. Friendship ultimately decided to enlist its primary constituents – students and parents – as well as teachers, to serve as co-developers of a new approach to performance management that would enable continuous improvement. Friendship gathered input from students and parents to cre1 The paragraphs that follow are derived from two sources: an essay by

Patricia Brantley in Leap of Reason: Managing to Outcomes in an Era of Uncertainty, by Mario Morino, 2011; and a Bridgespan interview of Patricia Brantley, February 8, 2013.

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the future of technology CommunityBased Knowledge (Bottom-Up)

Breakthrough Impact

Technical Knowledge (ExpertDriven)

ate a list of leading indicators that promote student achievement. It then built a system that allowed teachers to see this data in real-time. But, according to Brantley, Friendship realized that to “truly enable breakaway performance required making the data useful for students and parents.” So teachers posted simple scorecards of classroom performance, including measures such as attendance and discipline, and offered incentives that motivated students to work together to improve. Additionally, they taught students how to track their own data and use it to set more ambitious goals for themselves, then shared progress at parent-teacher “Data Nights.” The new performance management system has helped to move achievement at Friendship schools upward again: 90 percent of the schools have seen sustained gains in reading and math scores, as well as attendance. Family Independence Initiative

Technology also can create opportunities to help people to help themselves. “Poor people are broke, not broken,” says

Maurice Lim Miller, founder and CEO of the Family Independence Initiative (FII). In bestowing a 2012 “Genius Award” on Miller, the MacArthur Foundation lauded FII for partnering with, and learning from, low-income families. Programs for poor families typically use case managers and social workers to direct and help their clients. FII observed that this approach prevents families from setting their own priorities and goals, so the organization turned this paradigm on its head. Unlike most nonprofits, it has no standard “program” for participants. It works only with groups of families who know each other and have chosen to work together, permitting them to establish their own goals and use each other as resources to solve problems. Ongoing measurement is an essential element of FII’s work, but it’s the families – not the evaluation staff – who collect and report monthly progress. FII tracks about 200 data points for each family and compensates them for time devoted to reporting data on FII-provided computers. The data not only helps inform the organization’s overall efforts, but also functions as a self-help tool for families to monitor progress and change course when needed. The groups “there is increasingly meet regularly to reflect on good evidence that what they are learning and to constituent connect with other families perspectives blended across the country using social with research can lead networking technology on FII’s to better programs community-building website. and greater impact.” nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe

The aforementioned examples demonstrate that nonprofits can realize tangible benefits from using technology to engage and empower their constituents, including: more effective programs, greater reliance on the constituents’ own knowledge and capabilities to address the problem at hand, and more sustainable change. I have three pieces of advice for how to leverage technology to explore constituent engagement: 1. Start with input: Listen to your constituents and understand the knowledge they bring. Consider technologies like social media, and smartphones that can make engaging with constituents easier and less expensive. 2. Once you’re comfortable with constituent input, experiment with co-creation and ownership: Go beyond constituent input and take advantage of opportunities for co-creation and ownership by examining where constituents can become more involved and which decisions they can help you make or make on their own. For example, enable constituents’ ability to become data collectors and analysts for setting and achieving their goals. 3. Learn from measurement: Nonprofit leaders should seek to continuously improve their constituent engagement, putting technology in place to measure, learn from, adapt, and share results with constituents. Too often, constituents are forgotten partners in advancing the missions of nonprofits. We believe that many organizations will find that, when properly tapped, the knowledge and assets of the people they serve will prove a resource in getting the job done. And technology can help get results.

the future of technology key takeaways nonprofit leaders can use technology to learn from their constituents how to deliver more and better services. here’s how: consider technologies like social media, mapping and smartphones to gather valuable information from to your constituents. use the information you gather and your technology capabilities to let constituents cocreate and even own the programs that serve them. Put technology in place to measure, learn from, adapt and share results with constituents.

1) 2) 3)

Willa Seldon joined The Bridgespan Group in 2011 as a partner in the San Francisco office, bringing over 20 years of leadership and management experience from both the nonprofit and for-profit worlds. The Bridgespan Group is a nonprofit advisor and resource for mission-driven organizations and philanthropists. Willa wishes to gratefully acknowledge Matthew Forti, coauthor of “From Input to Ownership: How Nonprofits Can Engage with the People They Serve to Carry Out Their Missions,” on which this article is based. Her colleagues Madeline Haas, Allison Murphy, Bradley Seeman and Daniel Stid also contributed to the research and writing of “From Input to Ownership,” available on bridgespan.org.

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SCALING UP SOCIAL CHANGE Secrets Behind How Best to Grow Organizations and Movements

by Jesse Littlewood, EchoDitto nten: CHAnGe 路 MARCH 2014 路 pAGe


rom climate change to world hunger to inequality, the need has never been greater for social change organizations to have a larger impact. nonprofit organizations need to become bigger, faster, and stronger. they need to scale up, or have the capacity to readily expand programming, to meet the everaccelerating challenges facing our planet and our society.

Every day at EchoDitto, I help organizations use technology to increase their scale and impact. I have yet to find an organization that thinks they have grown as large as they’d like, that thinks they are making enough of an impact, or that would reject additional supporters and donors. Two recent publications by prominent authors have promoted different ideas on how best to grow organizations and movements. Peter Murray’s Stanford Social Innovation Review article, “The Secret of Scale,” describes how some of the largest civic organizations build membership and sway public policy. Dave Karpf’s book, The MoveOn Effect explores the rise of “netroots” organizations, which have grown exponentially in size in just a few years. I recently

scalIng uP socIal change moderated an online discussion with Murray and Karpf about their different perspectives, and throughout the wide-ranging conversation, we found some key points of agreement on how nonprofits can scale up, and where technology can make a difference. Functional Organizing & the “Netroots” Model

Murray’s paper discusses “functional organizing.” Functional organizing takes place when an organization delivers a set of benefits and services for its members that simultaneously drive membership growth and raise money through purchases of those benefits and services. AARP, the NRA, and AAA are three of the most visible examples. These groups provide services to their members that deepen engagement and affinity with the organization. When these organizations engage in advocacy, they can mobilize their members because they have formed a deep connection with the organization. These groups appeal to their supporters as providers of services, not “tHe real as advocacy organizations. This alsecret of scale: lows them to recruit supporters from a wider population than self- a deeper described “activists.” People join understanding AAA for the roadside assistance, of what AARP for the magazine, and the motivates your NRA for the “Accidental Death and membership.”

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Dismemberment” coverage. “tHe Functional organizing isn’t tecHNoloGy without its challenges. First, your to listen to your audience has to have common membership has lifestyle needs that you can acnever been as tively support. Secondly, you have powerful or to be able to run the business functions of providing the beneaffordable as it fits and services while adding is today.” overhead for your organization. Karpf’s book explores what he calls the “netroots” model of organization building. Karpf points out that groups like MoveOn (with 8 million members in the U.S.) and Avaaz (with 33 million members worldwide) show an alternative path to scaling up, one that starts with a redefinition of “membership.” For these groups, membership means that you have engaged with the organization on a campaign, made a donation, or attended an event (online or in-person). What makes these groups successful, Karpf argues, is that while the definition of membership is thinner, the technology that powers these groups enables them to listen more deeply. For example, MoveOn and Avaaz both have extensive email lists and the technology to test new campaigns on small segments of their membership bases. If a campaign or issue appears to be popular, the organization can roll it out to their full membership list. Additionally, both groups have a public petition platform (similar to the Change.org petition platform). When members use these petition tools, they give MoveOn and Avaaz insights into what issues are motivating their audiences.

scalIng uP socIal change How to Find Your Path to Scale

To scale up your organization, your focus should start with what unites these two approaches: a deep understanding of who your audience is and what is relevant to them, and how you can serve their needs. At EchoDitto, we’ve found that one of the most powerful tools for an organization is a powerful constituent relationship management system (CRM). Without a powerful CRM, you won’t be able to effectively test your outreach, and testing is a critical way to listen to your membership. To find your path to scale, the first step is to gather your CRM and membership data, and then clearly define the constituencies you serve. Do they have shared concerns? A common lifestyle? Similar consumer or social behavior? Next, begin to brainstorm tools, services, and benefits in which might interest your members. Are there tangible products that you could provide to your members through functional organizing? Are there low-cost digital opportunities that could provide utility to your members, like a petition platform? EchoDitto has found success when organizations leverage open-source technology (like the code from the Whitehouse.gov’s “We The People” petition platform) to cost-effectively build digital tools. Finally, “get out of the building.” Don’t just sit on your ideas, but run a series of experiments with your members. Create prototypes of new products and ask your members to provide feedback on them. Analyze this feedback and brainstorm again. Rinse and repeat, have faith and you will find some winning ideas that gain traction. nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe 11

The Secret of Scale


This is the real secret of larGest and scale: a deeper understanding of what motivates your most successful membership. With that un- organizations derstanding, you can make make their an educated decision on organizations how to best pursue the path deeply relevant to scale that is appropriate to the lives to what your members want. of their The largest and most suc- membership.” cessful organizations have reached their size and scale because they have found ways to make their organization deeply relevant to the lives of their membership—that starts with deep listening. The technology to listen to your membership has never been as powerful or as affordable as it is today. The organizations that effectively scale up their social change efforts will be the ones that listen deeply, and turn insights into relevancy for their members. Jesse Littlewood is the Project Manager and Digital Strategist with EchoDitto, a fullservice digital strategy and development firm that works with nonprofits and socially responsible businesses. Jesse has developed web, email, and digital campaign strategies for some of the largest nonprofit advocacy organizations in the U.S., including The Public Interest Network, the Sierra Club, America’s Promise Alliance, and others. In addition to his work at EchoDitto, Jesse lectures on social media at Tufts University.

NTEN Lab: Data-Informed Nonprofits Join us in Los Angeles on May 7 for this one-day event! LEARN MORE: NTEN.ORG/EVENTS/NTENLAB

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elements Behind Driving Successful technology change in organizations

by Michael Reardon, Blackbaud, and Andi Sobbe, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill nten: CHAnGe 路 MARCH 2014 路 pAGe 14

drIvIng successful change


s we start to get a bit older, it’s natural to reflect upon how far this world has advanced from even a few years ago. the amount of functionality in most folks’ pockets or purses is mind-boggling. when we went to college, we had a printed freshman directory that was our facebook even before that tool was invented (and trust us—we went to college well before Mark Zuckerberg!). So how does a nonprofit develop and cultivate relationships in this increasingly complex world? Many organizations are utilizing some form of a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) database. These systems permit the integration of information that was historically held in different silos (e.g., events, communications, revenue, etc.) and ultimately give nonprofits a better understanding of their supporters. Understanding leads to more effective communication, increased involvement, and ultimately, better relationships and more generous contributions. What happens, however, when you try to implement a fancy new CRM and nobody uses it? It’s like spending 12 or 18 months planning for a party that nobody attends. You’re

sitting there wearing a silly hat, looking at the other planners, thinking, “We just spent a boatload of our budget on a glorified Rolodex.” So in the end, it comes down to successful adoption of the CRM for it to mean anything, and for your nonprofit to derive value to help you develop those relationships. The research on Change Management/Adoption Readiness is long-standing and diverse. Most folks have heard of Kotter’s 8-step model, Prosci’s ADKAR model, or numerous others, but most models can be boiled down to three areas: involvement, communication, and leadership. To demonstrate these interrelated factors, we’re going to take you through the highlights of a recent CRM adoption at a major university that successfully gained widespread adoption. Involvement

From the beginning of this project, a strong culture of involvement emerged. This culture contained two vital elements: a dedicated and diverse adoption team from the university’s advancement department, and more importantly, individuals recruited from different departments “PartIcIPatIoN across campus who served as sounding boards, “go-to” and involvement points of contact, and early permitted future users adopters. They even gave to help shape the these folks a proud name: change, thus increasing adoption.” “Champions for Change.”

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Having feet on the ground in the majority of departsaid, “leadership is a ments throughout this decontact sport,” and centralized organization was this is absolutely true invaluable. The adoption when shepherding a team heard what folks liked major change like a (and didn’t like), developed a crm implementation. better understanding of key functionality that mattered the leader must give the project more than to each community, and could communicate directly lip-service; he or she with everyone. must make it a The adoption team addipriority and get tionally received ongoing opdeeply involved.” portunities for true involvement throughout the project. The university conducted numerous one-on-one conversations with the Champions, held “road shows” at which they would demonstrate the product and address questions/concerns, presented at retreats and staff meetings, and had several contests and activities (e.g., “name the product”) that encouraged and allowed multiple voices to be heard and to contribute. As Harvard professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter once said, “Change is a threat when done to me, but an opportunity when done by me.” Participation and involvement permitted future users to help shape the change, thus increasing adoption.

drIvIng successful change

“as some have


Widespread involvement supported the maxim that one must communicate the change throughout the process. The

implementation team communicated consistently and constantly with target audiences in several ways. The team established the branding of the system early in the implementation, successfully integrating it into all aspects. In addition to a regular newsletter, they established a dedicated project website where future users could view and monitor implementation progress, including future training dates, contact information, and “WOW” moments for the new software. Individually, each of these efforts would have definitely helped the project. Collectively, they were amazingly effective in raising awareness, addressing concerns, and answering questions. This type of widespread information sharing reduces the “threat” factor that many feel when confronted by such a significant change. Leadership


In addition to involvement and involvement communication, the last ele- supported the maxim ment of leadership really enthat one must compassed the entire project. As some have said, “leadership communicate the is a contact sport,” and this is change throughout absolutely true when shep- the process.” herding a major change like a CRM implementation. The leader must give the project more than lip-service; he or she must make it a priority and get deeply involved.

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In this case, the team had the “KeePING steady support of its vice chancel- focused on the lor. Whether establishing an execu- original project tive steering committee or serving goals, even after barbecue dressed in colonial costume, he was consistently present that important and enthusiastic. Communication ‘go-live’ date, is and involvement opportunities key to increased came from the top, which demon- adoption and strated the commitment and grav- satisfaction.” ity of the project. From a more practical perspective, the project leaders helped to map the project and to plan for potential resistance. They were prepared and willing to address questions and concerns, whether at a formal gathering or an impromptu hallway “conference.” Their participation was tangibly and symbolically priceless, and let users know that the project and its rendered changes were priorities. Project Completion

One final tip: when implementing a large CRM or similar project, remember that the “go-live” or launch date is not a finish line! At this university, the project team is still tremendously active—doing trainings, answering questions, giving updates, providing support—and they are over nine months into active use. Keeping focused on the original project goals, even after that important go-live date, is key to increased adoption and satisfaction. The socially networked world in which we live offers us tremendous opportunities, but in the end, it is still about building relationships with constituents and partnering with them to achieve our mis-

drIvIng successful change sions. We encourage all to take advantage of these opportunities, but remember—it’s only fun to have a huge party if people actually attend! So, as you plan and implement your changes, remember to focus on involvement, communication, and leadership to allow your organization to utilize these concepts for growing and building those relationships.

Michael Reardon, Ph.D., is the Senior Change Management Consultant for Blackbaud. He has over 15 years experience teaching, learning, and consulting on organizational communication projects. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina with his wife and four children. Andi Sobbe is the Director of Training and Support for the Development Office at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A graduate of DePauw University with an MA in Mass Communication from Carolina, she has 35 years of fundraising experience in nonprofit organizations in Venezuela, Los Angeles, and Chapel Hill.

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evolving role oF it on leADerShiP nonprofit it staff needs different skill sets to improve use of tech throughout the organization and change perceptions

by Steve McDonell, ACHIEVA nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe 1


ver the past decade, It has become less technical, more accessible, and more affordable. the role of It staff within the organization, and outside consultants, has changed as well. the explosion of cloud technology over the past five years can put tools in your organization’s hands that were not even options under old software development models. Information technology leadership and staff now spend less time performing necessary technical tasks and more time working with other departments to improve the use of technology within the organization. This last change requires a different set of skills for your IT staff and a different view of technology within your organization. This shift is occurring in the for-profit world and, if is not happening at your organization, it needs to be. How do you get from where you are to where you need to be? Here are a few tips: Make Time to Plan

In the first chapter of NTEN’s 2009 book “Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission,” Steve Heye provides an excellent tool for measuring where your organization is and showing you

evolvIng role of It on leadershIP where you need to be in order to meet today’s IT demands within your nonprofit. Anything you do to stop being reactive and start being proactive is the first step you need to take. Once you reach the upper stages of Steve Heye’s model, things can change pretty quickly. You start thinking about technology with a long-range view rather than getting through the next day, week, or month. This shift of perspective is essential to unleashing the power of technology within your organization. It is not that easy of course, but it is the first step. Once you have the time to think, you have the time to plan and the time to learn. You will also gain time to explore and experiment. Create Spaces for Conversation

If you are a technology person at your organization, it is not enough to know about technology. You need to learn about your organization and how it operates. You need to regularly interact with employees from different parts of the organization to learn what they do, how they do it, and why it is important to “the fundamental role them and to the organization. If of an It leader at a you are not in a technology role nonprofit in today’s in your organization and know world is making things very little about the technology, easier and providing you should become more aware access to information of existing technology as well as on-demand in the other technology available to most cost-effective your organization. manner.” How? Are you aware of how nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe 1

The Five Stages of Managing Technology

evolvIng role of It on leadershIP can learn from one another. Make sure you include staff from differing levels within the organization, as well as staff from different areas. Bill Nye once said, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” There is more truth to this than many IT people like to admit. Teams allow you to create educational conversations about your organization and that’s where true change can occur. Keep Up-to-Date


other departments do the same thing you do? Creating a technology team or committee is a great to way learn more about all of these things. A technology team can help your technical and non-technical staff by creating a space where both parties

You need to be aware of technology trends and keep an eye on what is down the road. Some great ways to stay up-to-date are: actively listening to your colleagues, regularly reading online content relative to what your organization does (in addition to technology-related reading if you are from a technical background), participating in online forums, and networking with peers from other organizations. Interacting with vendors can also be beneficial to both you “Information and your nonprofit. These activi- technology leadership ties benefit all levels of staff and staff now spend within your organization. You will less time performing stumble upon idea after idea. necessary technical Not all of them will be applicable tasks and more time to your organization. Quite working with other frankly, not all of them will be departments to good ideas. All that said, if you improve the use of come across a great idea that will technology within the benefit your organization – do it! organization.” nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe 20


One of the underlying themes that weaves through the previous points is that excellent communication skills are fundamental to the success of IT within your organization. Listening is more important than talking. Keeping staff informed about technology initiatives through regular and various forms of communication is not optional, it is essential. Honest and frank discussions have to become the norm. The days of Nick Burns (comedian Jimmy Fallon’s popular Saturday Night Live character “Your Company’s Computer Guy”) are gone. IT and operating departments must work together to make real change. Work Together

Teams create a sense of community around a topic. Creating an active technology group at your organization allows people to voice their frustrations with existing technology and processes, and to suggest ideas that you or your IT staff have not considered. Additionally, it creates forums that may reveal major issues that might be easily “Keeping staff remedied by introducing new informed about tools or expanding existing techtechnology nology to other areas of the orinitiatives through ganization. regular and various Discussing and then solving forms of problems as a group builds concommunication is sensus and prioritizes projects, not optional, it is essential. Honest and making the implementation of agreed-upon solutions much easfrank discussions ier. Teams give you a two-way have to become the channel of communication benorm.”

evolvIng role of It on leadershIP tween IT and your operating areas, build relationships and trust between them, and help to reduce the barriers between departments. Trust is the key commodity you create if your teams are functioning as they should. Creating a team that includes members of your IT staff and representatives from various departments and across all levels of your organization is a great first step in moving IT from the server room to the boardroom. My first boss told me that a career in any administrative area is a thankless job that is only relevant when things go bad. He had a point, but he was also dead wrong. The fundamental role of an IT leader at a nonprofit in today’s world is making things easier and providing access to information on-demand in the most cost-effective manner. You are unable to deliver on that promise if you are fighting fires every day. Identifying key projects, and moving them from the concept phase to reality in a timely manner, means you can utilize technology to make things better in a shorter amount of time. Technology is a tool and a means to an end. Organizations that see the value in technology understand this, and use many of the aforementioned steps to create an environment where technology flourishes. STeVe MCDonell is the Vice President of Information Technology at ACHIeVA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He works with The Arc nationally on technology issues through The National Conference of Executives of The Arc (NCE). Steve serves on the Technology Advisory Board of Pittsburgh Technical Institute and is a member of The Greater Pittsburgh CIO Group. He works within ACHIEVA and with other nonprofits to implement practical and cost-effective technology solutions. ACHIEVA began utilizing cloud-based systems in 2003.

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PetA vS. SeAWorlD the creative tactics and tech that Drive PetA’s SeaWorld campaign

by Bonnie McEwan, Milano-The New School and BonnieMcEwan.com nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe 22



he chase scene in the documentary, “Blackfish” felt like someone punched me in the stomach. a convoy of high-speed fishing boats races across the sea in pursuit of a baby orca, while the adults in his pod try to intervene. In the end, an orca who will become known as tilikum is netted and hauled aboard ship. the adult orcas cry. even the human crew appears pained. years later one sailor tells “Blackfish” director gabriela cowperthwaite that trapping tilikum was “the worst thing I have ever done.” For PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), “Blackfish” was a gift. Since 1998 it has been campaigning to free Tilikum and others like him. National Campaign Manager Katie Arth says, “Animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” Her organization mixes strategic opportunism and digital technology to promote this view. The “Blackfish” broadcasts on CNN injected new life into the SeaWorld campaign. For 30+ years, Tilikum has lived in a chemically treated tank that in human terms is equivalent to a bath tub. He was

previously the property of Sealand, but is now owned by SeaWorld. While Tilikum’s main role is to perform for human audiences, he has a track record for deadly behavior. In 1991, Tilikum and two other orcas killed 20-year-old Keltie Byrne, a student that was a part-time trainer at Sealand. In 1999, at SeaWorld, he was allegedly responsible for the death of 27-year-old Daniel P. Dukes, who had entered the orca tank after closing hours. In 2010, Tilikum drowned 40-year-old veteran trainer, Dawn Brancheau. Following this fatal incident, OSHA banned trainers from close contact with orcas, a decision that SeaWorld is appealing. PETA maintains that the orcas are driven mad by inhumane treatment. It advocates for a different theme park model – coastal sanctuaries – where people could see the orcas in their natural environment from a whale watching ship. PETA’s initial communications activities generated empathy for Tilikum and other captive orcas, but the message didn’t resonate much beyond committed animal welfare activists. Once PETA began calling attention to “Blackfish,” support soared, with thousands of people visiting the campaign website, SeaWorldOfHurt.com. According to Arth, PETA’s Twitter account set a new record for retweets – 4,190. The hashtags #blackfish and #blackfishonCNN trended, largely the result of PETA’s active marketing team that was live tweeting while watching the broadcast and public discussions. A month later, PETA’s tweet marking the 30th anniversary of Tilikum’s capture from the wild was retweeted more than 4,500 times.

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CHANGE IN ACTION: PROFILES OF SUCCESSFUL ADVOCACY CAMPAIGNS PETA has a tradition of creative opportunism. In 2012, for instance, they sued SeaWorld in federal court on behalf of captive orcas. Tilikum v. SeaWorld argued that five wildcaught orcas deserved protection under the Constitution’s 13th Amendment, which prohibits slavery. They lost the case, but gained media coverage, visibility and more supporters. In 2013, when SeaWorld sponsored a float in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day, PETA volunteers stood along the route to protest. Over 100 were at the Rose Parade this year. At the last Macy’s parade, 12-year-old activist Rose McCoy received national media coverage when she jumped a barricade while holding a “Boycott SeaWorld” sign at both parades. In April 2013, when SeaWorld’s stock went public, PETA became a shareholder, giving it the necessary standing to offer a resolution at SeaWorld’s annual meeting, calling on the company to create a coastal retirement sanctuary for its orcas. This got attention from serious media, including a major feature on Fox Business, an outlet not usually associated with progressive nonprofits. Then, in February of this year, SeaWorld attempted to block PETA’s resolution by exploiting a loophole in securities law. It petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission – successfully, it turns out – for permission to ignore the resolution. This sparked additional media attention from top media outlets, including Reuters. According to a story in the Orlando Business Journal, SeaWorld has deployed tactics such as stuffing the newspaper’s online ballot box for an opinion poll about “Blackfish.”

seaworld caMPaIgn: 6 actIons taken there are at least six major threads to the seaworld campaign: 1) a dedicated website (with rich content) 2) impact litigation (the court case) 3) direct action (street demonstrations, petitions) 4) social media marketing (twitter) 5) corporate pressure (shareholder activism, business partner boycotts) 6) mainstream media attention (driven by cultivating controversy)

PETA contends that SeaWorld also featured misleading copy in a paid advertising blitz designed to discredit the campaign. Never one to pass up an opportunity, PETA posted a video rebuttal on its website, using social media to drive traffic to it. Another tactic PETA employs is to target companies that do business with SeaWorld. At the top of the list is Southwest Airlines, which paints its planes to resemble orcas. Activist Robin Merrit recently presented a Change.org petition at Southwest’s Dallas headquarters, to no avail. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly stated that the airline is not considering changing its relationship with SeaWorld, a response that deeply disappointed Merrit, who noted that many entertainers had cancelled gigs at SeaWorld in response to “Blackfish” and PETA. “I hope Southwest will stop cheerleading SeaWorld’s cru-

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CHANGE IN ACTION: PROFILES OF SUCCESSFUL ADVOCACY CAMPAIGNS elty just like many artists including “Peta identifies Willie Nelson, Martina McBride, multiple pressure and Heart have already done,” Mer- points where it can rit told Eric Nicholson, a blogger make its influence for the Dallas Observer. In turn, felt, then bombards Nicholson ended his story with its target audiences this: “That’s right, Southwest. from every possible Heart has more moral courage than angle – and they you. Time to take a good look in the are very tenacious mirror.” about this.” By using a wide array of tactics and technologies, PETA reaches different target audiences through the media each prefers. Some people respond to video, others are energized through live protests, others read their local newspapers. PETA identifies multiple pressure points where it can make its influence felt, then bombards its target audiences from every possible angle – and they are very tenacious about this. In the case of SeaWorld, PETA has been campaigning for 16 years. “Blackfish” provided a huge boost, that’s true, but part of the reason it had such an impact is because PETA knew how to leverage it. Bonnie McEwan is a member of the NTEN: Change Editorial Committee, a consultant, college professor and writer. She is profiled in the book, “Thriving in 24/7: Six Strategies for Taming the New World of Work,” by Sally Helgesen, and author of “501(c)(3) Nonprofits and Earned-Income Generation” in the textbook, “Social Entrepreneurship,” edited by Thomas Lyons. Earlier in her career Bonnie directed the national communications divisions of Girl Scouts USA and the Planned Parenthood Federation. Find her on Google+ and Twitter @BonnieMcEwan.

A Community Transforming Technology into Social Change With over 50,000 community members, NTEN is the largest network of nonprofit professionals who put technology to work for their causes. Sign up to connect, learn, and get the tools you need to change the world. nTen Member benefits include: > Up to 50% off online training and in-person workshops, and free access to our webinar recording archives > Discounted registration to NTEN conferences, including $300 off our signature annual Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) > Free access to all our research and reports > Full access to all NTEN Community resources, including the exclusive NTEN Member Directory Plus many more, check out: nten.org/benefits


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creatIng a culture around conversatIon HoW ‘asK BIG QuestIoNs’ Is creatING a NeW laNGuaGe for HumaN exPerIeNce oN colleGe camPuses


What is Ask big Questions all about? Imagine a group of college students sitting in a living room listening intently to one another as they reflect on the question, “Where do you feel at home?” What do you see? You see young adults – from a myriad of ethnicities, religions and political orientations on campus – talking about one of the biggest questions in their lives, one that reveals what is most important to their identities. You see a diverse group of people listening to each other and developing trust and respect. You see a community of students reflecting on their lives. Empowering college students to have these kinds of conversations is what Hillel’s Ask Big Questions is all about. Big Questions are questions that matter to everyone, and they are questions everyone can answer. They do not require expertise. They do not lead to debate. Instead, they lead to stories, connections and understanding.

Ask Big Questions frames learning as a conversation about these kinds of questions. It is a simple, bold, and accessible approach to understanding others and understanding ourselves. It gives all students a way to understand their commonality by understanding their uniqueness. Through Ask Big Questions, Hillel is creating a new language for human experience.


Why was Ask big Questions established? Education in the 21st century must extend far beyond classes and books. Universities are challenged to help young people shape their character as well as their minds, and to teach values such as empathy, intercultural understanding, and individual resilience. Yet, despite this imperative, students often lack the opportunities to develop these qualities and communicate across their differences. Ask Big Questions renews university life as it renews Jewish life. It is about having conversations about the questions to which all our lives are an answer. Inspired by the ancient sage Hillel the Elder, Ask Big Questions enables college students to deepen their humanity and their particularity, and to build their capacity to listen to people different from themselves, nurturing healthier communities, a healthier society, and a healthier people.


Who are your target audiences and why? All college students. Universities offers great diversity, yet at the same time studies show that the more diverse a college campus, the more likely students are to cling to people similar to them. We want to help students understand themselves nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe 2


and others. We want students to embrace diversity and build empathy.


What channels are you using to reach out to your audiences? What is your most popular in terms of engagement? We have a variety of methods. Of course we are active on Facebook and Twitter, and have strong engagement with them. We also have an extensive series of email lists to connect with professionals on 550 college campuses, with our 20+ partner organizations reaching well over 1 million young people in North America and with other members of the extended Ask Big Questions community. Our website also features a blog that’s updated regularly with posts by formidable contributors such as education guru Parker Palmer, Craig Newmark of Craigslist, Chief Rabbi of England Jonathan Sacks, feminist Andi Zeisler, Eboo Patel of Interfaith Youth Core, transgender activist S. Bear Bergman, and others, and we have found that the website and blog itself is a destination online. When we sought out to create a better culture of conversation on campuses around the world, we knew we needed to meet students where they were at: online. We use our website and social media to inspire in-person conversations just as we use in-person conversations to inspire online action. The success of our online engagement is linked to how integrated our campaigns are.


Tell us about the conversation guides, and how the monthly question is determined. The format of the conversation guides is inspired by the Passover Haggadah, a common text in everyone’s hands that provides


enough structure and flexibility for an encounter that is both bounded and open at the same time. We aim for the guides to be relatively self-facilitating. We determine our monthly questions a number of ways: soliciting input from our network of fellows and advisors, reflecting and deliberating together and identifying partners we want to work with. When we’ve identified topics or themes we want to address, we spend a lot of time crafting the Big Question in such a way that it resonates with experiences that are common to all human beings and nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe 2


that evoke stories. The best Big Questions are ones that lead you to immediately think of an answer, followed by a story.


Tell us a little more about the Innovation Fund, and the work that you’re doing on college campuses. There are 125 fellows on 30 campuses – 300 fellows total over the last 3 years – and over 35 additional campuses that have benefited from our “Basic Training,” program which offers the tools and methodology of Ask Big Questions to campuses without a formal fellowship program. Fellows and others engage their peers in Big Question conversations at their fraternities and sororities, in their residence halls, with athletic teams, or clubs with which they’re involved and so forth. We launched an Innovation Fund in our first year to which any campus wanting to bolster the culture of conversation could apply. Innovation Fund grantees have created a for-credit course on moral leadership, organized conversations around cultural and ethnic violence that culminated in a trip to a youth village for orphans of the Rwandan genocide, and created volunteer and dialogue opportunities in partnership with President Obama’s Interfaith Community Service Campus Challenge. Currently, our innovation funding is designated for all campuses who are a part of the Fellowship or Basic Training program.


How do you measure impact? We get lots of anecdotal feedback: students telling us, or their campus advisors, or the student newspaper, how meaningful or transformative an experience Ask Big Questions was for them. We survey our fellows and the students they engage, so we get

“ask Big Questions ...gives all students a way to understand their commonality by understanding their uniqueness.”

some hard data. But the real way we know we’re having impact is when colleges and universities approach us with interest in bringing Ask Big Questions to their campus. That’s happening more and more, and it means that we’re creating demand.


Would you say that this project has been a success so far? We’ve succeeded in hatching a really simple and elegant idea, packaging it in a really attractive and inviting brand, and building a network of thousands of college students around the country who understand it, engage with it and, in many cases, change their lives as a result. Colleges and universities are looking for ways to build community and every day we’re finding more and more people are discovering Ask Big Questions can help them address that challenge. SHeIlA KATz is the Vice President for Social Entrepreneurship at Hillel International, where she creates and oversees innovative programs like Ask big Questions. An activist in the Jewish community, Katz manages the social media for Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community, facilitates trainings for the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse and is a trainer for PresenTense. She has been named one of 16 people changing the world by Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and is a recipient of Hillel International’s Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence award. She has served on several White House committees, most recently sitting on a youth roundtable focusing on the Israeli/Palestinian peace negotiations. Previously, Sheila has served as the Assistant Director at North Carolina Hillel and a Teach for America Corps Member in NYC. Sheila earned her M.Ed. degree from Pace University, and is currently a Wexner Foundation Field Fellow.

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BehInd the scenes: text, talk, and act INtervIeW WItH matt leIGHNINGer, executIve dIrector of tHe delIBeratIve democracy coNsortIum (ddc)


What is the story behind this initiative? Why was “Text, Talk and Act” established by Creating Community Solutions? Creating Community Solutions (CCS) is part of the National Dialogue on Mental Health, which was launched last year by President Obama to engage thousands of Americans in addressing mental health issues. We developed “Text, Talk, and Act” (TTA) because we were looking for a way to involve a younger demographic. We wanted to utilize technology that this demographic uses the most in a way that captures national excitement and produces meaningful small-group dialogue. On December 5th, 2013, hundreds of fast facts people took part in aBout tHIs INItIatIve this nationwide, textO year established: 2013 enabled discussion. O Number of staff members: They met in groups 0 (all volunteer) of 4-5 to talk about O operating Budget: $5,000 the importance of for first national text, mental health, their talk and act day on personal experiences, december 5th, 2013 and what they could

do to make a difference. As part of the experience, participants texted in their answers to polling questions along with their action ideas, which were then shared on the TTA site. The next national Text, Talk, and Act day will be April 24th.


Who are your target audiences and why? We targeted high school and college students because that demographic faces significant mental health challenges; at least half of all mental health problems begin by age 14. Students of that age often don’t know where to turn for help and may be afraid to raise issues with their friends and family relating to mental health, and we hoped to spark some discussion and change in those areas. After participation in a TTA event at Rex Putnam High School in Milwaukie, Oregon, one student said, “This exercise has created a more trusting environment in our class. We understand each other better now.”


What channels are you using to reach out to your audiences? What is your most popular in terms of engagement? We used email and social media networks to reach participants for the December 5th event, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Many associations are involved in CCS, including the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Sustained Dialogue Campus Network, The Democracy Imperative, National School Public Relations Association, and the National Alliance for Mental Illness, many of whom also helped spread the word. In turn, TTA had a big impact on the larger CCS effort, producing more hits on the CCS website than any other event. Our use of the #TextTalkAct

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hashtag resulted in over 1.56 million impressions, 456 tweets and 255 unique participants (source: Symplur).


Tell us about the nationwide discussion on December 5. How many people participated, and can you describe the type of engagement? Over 600 phones were used to text in to “Text, Talk, and Act” on December 5th. Many of the participants reported on the significance of their mental health: 59% of respondents said that they “thought about mental health every day” and 69% said that “it was extremely important to them.” During the conversation, participants discussed what schools and communities are doing well to support mental health. “Having understanding psychologists and social workers in the school systems really helps the students feel comfortable talking about their problems,” one participant answered. Other responses included support groups, open discussions, and early intervention. Some participants noted that there needs to be more attention and programs to address mental health challenges: “In our community, no one is really trying anything. We think more legislators who are personally involved in actively caring for those with mental health issues need to be open advocates.” The process also provided an opportunity for participants to discuss actions they can take to strengthen mental health on their campuses and in their communities. Some of the action ideas included starting nonprofits, raising awareness and continuing the conversation on mental health in their school or community. Participants also noted that individual, everyday


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actions can make a difference as well, such as “allowing my actions to show I am someone who you can talk to when people need to.”


Tell us about your discussion questions and the process behind determining what they were. We started the discussion with some polling questions that participants could respond to using their phones, such as, “How often do you think about mental health?” Then we sent discussion prompts for participants to talk about in their small groups, starting with, “Talk about how mental health issues have affected you or someone else you know.” Other questions got people talking about what’s working in their schools or communities and what else could be done. Some of the final questions encouraged participants to text in action ideas they had or commitments they wanted to make. This progression of questions, from personal experience to challenges, and opportunities to personal commitments, is a tried-and-true sequence that has worked in many different kinds of public engagement. Essentially, what we are doing is combining the strengths of “thick” and “thin” engagement. Thick engagement has been a key element of public participation for a long time, though it has proliferated dramatically in the last twenty years. It happens mainly in groups, either face-to-face, online or both, and features various forms of dialogue, deliberation, action planning, and policy choicework. Thin engagement has developed more recently. It happens mainly online, and is easier, faster, and potentially more viral. It is done by individuals, who are often motivated by feeling a part of some larger movement or

cause. Thick and thin forms of engagement both have their merits and their limitations. We wanted to find better ways to weave together these two thick and thin strands. “Text, Talk, and Act” resulted directly from this conversation.


How do you measure impact? The most basic indicator is how many people take part. We’re also tracking the website hits and social media impressions. We’d like to be able to measure more things about this process, but we’re still trying to figure out how to do that.


Would you say that this project has been a success so far? Whenever we initiate a safe, informative, productive conversation about mental health issues, we consider that a success. We’re impressed by the ideas and commitments people made in December, and we’re hoping to provide a bigger, better experience for people on the next “Text, Talk, and Act” date on April 24th. There’s no cost to join the discussion, and anyone can take part. You can find more details about the next national “Text, Talk and Act” conversation at http://creatingcommunitysolutions.org/texttalkact.

MATT leIgHnIngeR is the Executive Director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC), an alliance of the major organizations and leading scholars working in the field of deliberation and public engagement. Over the last twenty years, Matt has worked with public engagement efforts in over 100 communities, in 40 states and four Canadian provinces. Two of his recent publications, Planning for Stronger Local Democracy (National League of Cities), and Using Online Tools to Engage – and be Engaged by – the Public (IBM Center for the Business of Government) provides practical suggestions for aspiring democracy-builders.

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Minutes to Better Website SeO


By andrew garBerson, seo lead, lunaMetrIcs

The word competitor never sounded right in the nonprofit sector. It always seemed too cold, too corporate. It was not until recently that a local nonprofit leader set me straight. “You can call them what you want,” she said. “But at the end of the day there is only so much funding in this town and we have big plans for the upcoming year.” After a smile and a vow that we would be good friends, we got to work on an audit of the organization’s current online position, where it wanted to be in one year, and how it would get there. That third step, how, was the most complicated because it included the competition, which plays an important role in search engine marketing strategy. For those new to the acronym, search engine optimization (SEO) is an online marketing practice that connects digital content consumers with digital content producers. A growing number of people take their questions to search engines so it is valuable for organizations to be there to provide answers. Answers are not limited to dates and definitions. They might include helping people find volunteer opportunities or ways to donate to a cause. The big picture with SEO: make the organization, its mission, and its content more discoverable online.

“On-page SEO” are factors that have an effect on your website’s listing and placement in natural search results. These factors include page titles, copy and other things that marketers and editors can easily control, making it a good place to get started. The 15-Minute Competitive SEO Audit

It is difficult to analyze competitors without first analyzing your organization, so every on-page SEO audit starts with an internal review of your organization’s website. In a blank spreadsheet, write the URL of your organization in the first cell of the second column and the name of the organization in the cell below it.

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Think of three ways to describe the organization in four words or less, and add one of these phrases to each row below the name of the organization. Push back from the keyboard for a moment and envision a person in your target market using the computer to find an organization like yours with a search engine. Then open a browser, go to Google.com and begin typing descriptive words in the search bar. Return to the spreadsheet and review the list. Do they look like phrases that someone might use to find your organization? Remember that the audience may not have the same education or professional experience, so the words they use might be different. For example, in my industry we talk about “non-branded organic search traffic” when everyone else (including potential clients) just calls it SEO traffic. Revise your phrases so they are accurate, yet inclusive. Example: NTEN & UNICEF

This is how I would audit NTEN: the phrases are nonprofit technology, nonprofit technology organization, and nonprofit technology resources. The organiza“a growing tion is far more complex than that, number of but those three phrases capture the people take their overarching principles. Open Google.com in your browser and do questions to a search for site:your-domain.org, search engines which looks like this for NTEN and so it is valuable for organizations the large nonprofit organization, UNICEF: to be there • site:www.nten.org to provide • site:www.unicef.org answers.”


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The results should include a list of “the big pages on the organization’s website, picture with beginning with the home page. Here seo: make the is a look at the NTEN site: search (see organization, the screenshot on page 34). its mission, Flip back and forth between the and its content search results and spreadsheet. Do more any of the spreadsheet phrases ap- discoverable pear in the search results? For NTEN, online.” nonprofit technology appears on the home page. That’s a great start. Write any word or phrase matches in the Title row of the spreadsheet. Click on the home page link and scan the page copy (or CTRL + f to search) for any references to the same words or phrases. Place any matches in the Copy row. Lastly, if the organization serves a local audience, also look for the city and state in which it operates. NTEN has a national audience so they are off the hook, but a local home page title should look something like BRAND | KEY PHRASE + LOCATION. A national brand, like NTEN or UNICEF, would not include a location. Traditionally, the home page format would be BRAND | KEY PHRASE. Let’s take a look at their current titles. • Your Nonprofit Technology Community | NTEN • UNICEF | Children’s Rights & Emergency Relief Organization A quick glance at each home page reveals that NTEN uses nonprofit technology in two headers and UNICEF incorporates children’s rights twice, as well.

Duplicating this SEO audit process for competitors reveals several important pieces of information: • Phrases that are important to the organization • A glimpse at their current investment in SEO • Missed opportunities for your organization to exploit Next Steps

Do competitors have page titles with appropriate phrases? It might be time for your organization to invest in SEO to get ahead or keep up. On-page SEO is the tip of the iceberg. Many other factors influence search engine exposure, but this 15-minute audit is a great place to begin. Continue auditing with this mini SEO audit guide from LunaMetrics, LunaMetrics: bitly.com/15minuteSEO. AnDReW gARbeRSon is the SEO Lead at lunaMetrics. His inbound marketing and public relations background includes leadership in entrepreneurial, nonprofit, and agency environments. Andrew spends much of his free time as a pro bono communications consultant for international grassroots organizations in the nonprofit sector. He has master’s degrees in business administration and mass communications.

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ashoka’s eMPathy InItIatIve INtervIeW WItH daNIelle GoldstoNe, fouNdING dIrector, asHoKa emPatHy INItIatIve


What are the origins of this initiative? How did it come about? Ashoka is the world’s largest network of leading social entrepreneurs, so we can identify global patterns of innovation and trends in the citizen sector. The most profound trend that we’ve distilled from Ashoka Fellows is that everyone must and can be a changemaker – someone with the self-identity and skills to be able to lead change. As the world changes faster and faster, problems become increasingly complex. At the same time, with globalization and technology, power is becoming less concentrated in the hands of an elite. Everyone can be powerful. And they must be if we are to tackle the problems facing us. But another critical trend we’ve seen is that this power of the changemaker must be based in empathy to ensure change for the good of all. We’ve seen a fast facts particularly strong pataBout tHIs INItIatIve tern of innovation in O year established: 2011 transforming the growing up experience to O Number of staff members: 13 globally one in which children develop and practice O operating Budget: $3.5 million empathy and other skills of changemaking.


Why empathy? Why not a trait like “open-mindedness” or “good listening skills”? I would say that empathy requires both open-mindedness and good listening skills, as well as several other sub-skills, such as self-awareness and perspective-taking. But all of these skills are parts of what allow us to understand, care about, and act in response to the feelings and perspectives of others. That is empathy, and it’s critical for a number of reasons, including as a source of innovation. But most importantly, it is a critical ethical foundation in a rapidly changing world. Empathy-based ethics is not new, obviously. Ethicists, theologians, philosophers, activists, and many others have advanced this idea for centuries. But it has perhaps never been more critical as in this era when, in addition to individuals of different cultures and backgrounds interacting at unprecedented levels, change is happening too fast now for the rules to keep up. And where rules are unclear, it’s critical that we be guided by empathy to ensure right action.


Can you give an example of how empathy can help nonprofits address some of the most formidable societal issues out there? Empathy is critical to sustainable and systemic change. When we react to a problem without empathy, we can make it worse or create new problems. The best social entrepreneurs instead empathize with the individuals or institutions contributing to a problem so they can realign incentives to solve it in a systemic, rather than reactionary, way. For example, low-resourced urban public schools in the U.S. have been cutting recess, a reactionary response to academic underachievement, behavioral issues, and nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe


study of Playworks, is a recess program that never set out to be an anti-bullying effort at all.


Can you share any milestones from the initiative? How does Ashoka measure success? For this initiative, we will ultimately measure success by how many parents and educators understand empathy to be critical to children’s success. Schools will look different when this happens because as Roots of empathy founder and Ashoka Fellow Mary Gordon says, “empathy is caught, not taught.” A school’s culture will be equally important as its curriculum. Thus, a major milestone has been the launch of our Ashoka’s Changemaker School network. These are primary schools we have selected because they are committed to a vision of education that cultivates every student as a changemaker, starting with empathy. They know it’s not just about their curriculum but whether these ideas permeate everything they do. And there are teams within these schools that want to help create this reality for all children. As we seek contagion of these ideas, we are now developing ways to track spread in ways such as other schools replicating the strategies of the Changemaker Schools. THE ASHOKA EMPATHY INITIATIVE AT WORK. LEARN MORE AT ASHOKAEMPATHY.ORG.

lack of resources. Empathizing with school teachers and administrators struggling with too many demands and too few resources, and with children disempowered and disengaged from learning, Ashoka Fellow Jill Vialet started Playworks to make recess responsive to the needs of students and educators alike. Today, one of the most effective solutions to the problem of bullying, as shown through a recent randomized control


What are some of the key channels that you’re using to disseminate the message? Who are your target audiences? Our most important channel is the team we have been building to drive this shift in society’s thinking about the importance of empathy. This includes Ashoka Fellows, Changemaker Schools, as well as young people through Ashoka’s youth Venture program, universities, media and other partners. The innovative work of each of these players is nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe


made more powerful by the “there is no more framework of an “everyone-is-a- powerful way to changemaker” world. So each of catalyze them becomes an ambassador and contagion than changemaker in his or her own people living the sphere of influence. There is no change and being more powerful way to catalyze con- emboldened by tagion than people living the change others doing so and being emboldened by others as well.” doing so as well. But Ashoka also has many media partnerships that we use as a platform for our community to reach parents, educators, young people and influencers. We have pages on Forbes.com, Virgin.com, the Huffington Post and have worked with PBS, MTV, The Bully Project, GOOD, Edutopia, the Christian Science Monitor, and others.


Can you share some stories about how this campaign has been received? One example is a social media campaign that we ran collaboratively with 50 other organizations around a video series about Mission Hill School, a public elementary school in Boston and an Ashoka Changemaker School. We secured a partnership with Prezi and oversaw a concurrent series of related content. As each new chapter of A year at Mission Hill was shared online every two weeks, each partner shared the episodes across its social media networks with the common hashtag #yearatMH. There were over 350,000 views of the videos and accompanying resources. The campaign sparked public conversation in schools and communities and across social media. It contributed to one viral Twitter chat, caused two state superintendents of

education to take notice, and has spurred some local spin-offs. The series was also screened at the 50th anniversary of Civil Rights Leaders in Jackson, Mississippi, and several teacher certification professors will now be using the series in their university and community college classes.


How can nonprofit leaders get involved in this initiative, and how can they start incorporating empathy as a critical skill needed of staff to achieve their mission? The most important thing we all can do is to cultivate our own empathic capacity, and cultivate it with every young person we care about. As leaders, we should also look for this skill when we hire. Will this person be able to collaborate with all our varied constituents, internally and externally, in a way that instills trust and helps us as an institution innovate more responsive and sustainable solutions? Finally, just as Changemaker Schools prioritize culture, so must changemaker organizations. The outcomes we seek will likely elude us in the long-term if we don’t create the institutional space for relationship, vulnerability and failure in the pursuit of new ideas. Much has been written about empathy in leadership that is worth reading for specific how-tos, but perhaps most illustrative are the answers we find when we ask ourselves how empathy has contributed to our own success. That can be transformative. DAnIelle golDSTone is the Founding Director of Ashoka’s Empathy Initiative. The initiative seeks to catalyze a mindset shift across society such that empathy is understood as an essential skill for individual and societal success, and becomes as fundamental as literacy in early education. For more information, go to www.startempathy.org and empathy.ashoka.org.

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unlockIng your data’s PotentIal actIvatING tHe PoWer of data to eNsure lIfe-savING vaccINe PreservatIoN By sHuBHa Bala, dataKINd

Thanks to the advent of “big data” and the steady march forward with better tools and technology, socially-driven organizations are finding themselves awash in data that could help in fulfilling their missions. However, many organizations lack the capacity or know-how to start unlocking the potential of raw data. Data scientists are skilled statisticians and programmers who can help find meaning in rows and rows of data. When they team up with experts from the nonprofit sector, they can tackle some of the world’s toughest problems. Whether working with larger organizations like the World Bank or more service-based organizations like Crisis Text Line, data scientists can help shift policy. DataKind brings together volunteer data scifast facts entists with nonprofit aBout tHIs INItIatIve organizations and has O Number of clinics learned more than a few served: 17 lessons about what O rows of data Per makes for a successful clinic: 500,000 data science project. Our O Number of volunteers: latest project with 5 data scientists Nexleaf Analytics, a non-

profit technology company that builds wirelessly connected devices and sensor technologies for critical public health and environmental interventions, illustrates some of the key takeaways for any mission-driven organization interested in harnessing its data to help others more effectively. Despite huge strides in providing people around the world with life-saving vaccines, many still die because vaccines will spoil if not kept within a cool temperature range. In addition, there are many factors that impact vaccine preservation, so Nexleaf aimed to help the international community understand where to make improvements. Nithya Ramanathan and Martin Lukac, the founders of Nexleaf, wanted to discover exactly what happens to a vaccine nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe


when the refrigerator door closes. Working within a nonprofit organization that builds technology for public health and environmental interventions, they created the ColdTrace, an affordable cell phone temperature sensor that records and reports the temperature inside any vaccine-holding container every 10 minutes. The ColdTrace sensors created millions of rows of real-time temperature data from 17 clinics in Haiti and Kenya. Results from pilot tests indicated that SMS (cell phone text message) alerts from ColdTrace helped save several thousand vaccine doses from going bad. Nexleaf believed that a closer look at the data could help save even more doses. DataKind recruited five volunteer data scientists, known collectively as the DataCorps, with skills in coding, statistics, business analytics, and project management to tackle Nexleaf’s data. All of them were excited to spend their time on this project. Team member Richard Dunks, a graduate student in urban data science at NYU, stated that “DataKind gives data scientists, who besides being innately curious are also innately humane, the opportunity to lend our talents and experience to the good work nonprofits are doing.” Over the next year, the team could be found every week, after work and on weekends, diving into row upon row of temperature readings from refrigerator sensors on the other side of the world. “the most successful projects have valid, usable data. It is important that you understand how this data can affect the success of your mission.”


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The DataCorps findings contained actionable information that Nexleaf could use to improve the cold chain supply. For example, they were able to provide insight into the times of days that typical temperature failures occurred and the impact of power failures. They also gained a lot of lessons on how to drive a successful data science project. Here are five of their takeaways: 1. Have a good data attitude: Nexleaf was open to embracing the findings, no matter what the data revealed. 2. be ready to iterate: Often the most important lessons you will learn is how to get more actionable data next time around. Nexleaf was happy to learn how they could collect or analyze data differently in the future. 3. Make time to explore: For a data scientist, a data project can be a bit like asking a builder to build a house with a shed full of unknown materials – until she knows what she has, it’s impossible for her to specify what she’ll be able to build. Nexleaf knew what questions they wanted to answer, but it was critical that DataKind’s data scientists were able to dig into the data to figure out what was possible, and even come up with a few additional ideas of their own. 4. Understand the “what” of the data: The most successful projects have valid, usable data. It is important that you understand how this data can affect the success of your mission. Since these numbers came directly from Nexleaf’s own technology, Martin and Nithya knew the exact source of the data, and that it could impact Nexleaf’s mission. 5. Communicate frequently and use lots of visuals: You might be tempted to just turn over your data to the experts,

but don’t forget that you know the issues better than anyone. Data scientists need your guidance to know which questions are worth asking. For Nexleaf, simple graphs and other visuals ensured that, even if someone did not understand the data lingo, everyone was aligned to the same goals. Although Martin and Nithya are no strangers to quantitative techniques themselves, they recognized the value in working with DataKind’s data experts: fresh eyes. “We can generate a histogram, but we wanted to bring in new ways of looking at the data that we hadn’t thought of,” Nithya said. Working with this dedicated team of data scientists, Nexleaf was able to focus and refine its future data projects in order to ultimately suggest better practices for health care workers at clinics in countries like Kenya and Haiti. Through this project, Nexleaf has one goal: to make sure that all children have access to safe, effective vaccines. Through their commitment to unlocking the potential of their data, it’s a goal that they’re one step closer to achieving. SHUbHA bAlA is the Programs Strategist at DataKind, a nonprofit organization that brings together leading data scientists with high impact social organizations through a comprehensive, collaborative approach that leads to shared insights, greater understanding, and positive action through data in the service of humanity. Learn more about DataKind: www.datakind.org. nexleAF AnAlyTICS is a nonprofit technology company that builds wirelessly connected devices and sensor technologies for critical public health and environmental interventions. Learn more at www.nexleaf.org.

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cIndy leonard coNsultING team leader, Bayer ceNter for NoNProfIt maNaGemeNt NteN memBer for 7 years


What is your connection with the “nptech” (nonprofit technology) community? In the late 90’s, I was getting my B.S. in Computer Science and was laid off from a for-profit job. When my unemployment compensation ran out and I started to feel desperate, I took a part-time administrative position at my first nonprofit organization. I originally viewed it as a “get-through” job, thinking I’d do it for a while and continue to job-hunt. During my first week there, the lady who was the “accidental techie” at the time approached me: “do you think you could back up the server every night?” That snowballed into working on their database, administering the network, building the website – you name it. A year later, I was full-time and they added IT formally into my job description and title. I ended up spending eight years at that nonprofit. Once the combination of mission, passion, and skills gets in your blood, you’re hooked! At one point, I received a layoff from that job due to funding cuts. Shortly after, my current employer, The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University, posted a position for a tech program person and the rest, as they say, is history.


Why do you think it’s important for nonprofit leaders to think about technology strategically? I’ve been working with nonprofits of all sizes and flavors for the past 7 years as a consultant and have witnessed firsthand the impacts of strategic and non-strategic use of technology within a nonprofit. Non-strategic use of technology is simply scrapping systems together and putting out fires as they arise. So many potential efficiencies and programmatic enhancements are never gained. Strategic use of technology and seeing it as a competitive advantage, can push a nonprofit into a realm of effectiveness like no other resource can. I believe it’s every bit as important to have the right technology as it is to have the right people and other organizational resources.


Was there an “ah-ha” moment for you when you learned something new or realized something about the role of technology in the mission-driven work that you do? I have an “ah-ha” moment on a regular basis when working with nonprofits! The thing that nearly always throws me for a loop is the realization that a large, well-funded nonprofit can have tech that is very poorly managed and that a small, startup org can really have it together and use tech intelligently and strategically. It goes against anything you might think – that having funds to do tech well means that an org is capable of doing it well. Since that has proved false, really ANY organization can leverage technology, regardless of budget or size.

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How has nonprofit leadership changed (if at all) as a result of technology, from your perspective/ experience? I think technology has added a new dimension of issues for nonprofit leaders. For example, an organization used to have a measure of control over its messaging. That’s no longer true. I also think tech has brought a necessary level of transparency to our sector that simply wasn’t possible in the past. This is great if you have a well-run nonprofit, but it can be a nightmare if you have any skeletons in your organizational closet.


Why are you serving on the nTen:Change editorial committee – what makes you want to volunteer? Several years ago, when I was in graduate school and doing a lot of research in professional journals, I made a remark to someone: “Boy, wouldn’t it be great if there was a professional journal for nonprofit tech.” That person replied, “you should start one.” I sort of laughed. It was a great idea, but way too large a project to pull off myself. When NTEN announced the Change Journal, I was so excited. Finally, a professional journal with really solid articles for people in my line of work! And the interactive digital magazine format is just the sexiest thing – who wouldn’t fall in love with such a great resource? When the call came for the Editorial Committee, I jumped on it. I’ve been an active NTEN Member for years and knew it would be a great experience!


What’s the one technology tool that you wouldn’t want to go without in your daily work? I have a “holy tech trinity” that includes: 1) google Apps for productivity; 2) Asana.com for project management; and 3) evernote. I work off-site regularly and need/want access on demand. I’ve got these tools on my work and home computers, my iPad and my Smartphone. I have access to work-related stuff whenever I need it and I love it! “tech has brought a necessary level of transparency to our sector that simply wasn’t possible in the past.”


Anything else you’d like to add about the work of the nTen:Change journal and editorial committee? If you are an avid reader of the journal, don’t keep it a secret! Pass it along to your supervisors, co-workers, and other techies you know! The greatest thing about the journal, in my opinion, is that you needn’t be a hard-core techie to understand the articles. Unlike reading magazines like Information Week, where you have all that baffling tech terminology, Change is geared toward an audience that might just be getting started with technology.

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toBIas eIgen fouNder & executIve dIrector, KaBIssa – sPace for cHaNGe IN afrIca NteN memBer for 10 years!


What is your connection with the “nptech” (nonprofit technology) community? I deeply admire and appreciate the courageous work being done by nonprofit organizations, especially those at the grassroots that provide vital services and advocacy that otherwise falls between the cracks. My greatest passion is to help them leverage nptech, with a particular interest in “open” tech – open source, open data, open knowledge – that reduces barriers to accessing information and communication channels, and strengthens otherwise weak and under-resourced organizations. I support African organizations through Kabissa, but recognize that nonprofits around the world share the same challenges and I’m eager to help ensure they have access to the best tech tools. I truly believe that by working together we can lift all of our boats and make the world a better place.


Why do you think it’s important for nonprofit leaders to think about technology strategically? The pace of technological change brings real risks and challenges that all organizations need to stay on top of in order to stay relevant and do their work in a reasonably efficient, safe, and secure manner. This means that nonprofit leaders and their teams need to invest in, and make time for, training so they can learn to understand and anticipate tech trends. I also think

the best leaders look beyond their own organization to seek out partnerships to collaborate on technology projects and choose to participate in the open technologies ecosystem that benefits us all.


Was there an “ah-ha” moment for you when you learned something new or realized something about the role of technology in the mission-driven work that you do? I have “ah-ha” moments all the time! Sometimes it’s a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I see a worrying development that I think nonprofits need to know about and act on as soon as possible, like Facebook changing its terms of service overnight. Usually, though, it’s the excitement at finding a new tool or service that offers tremendous opportunity for nonprofits that demands immediate exploration, like Pantheon, an innovative hosting platform for building, launching and maintaining Drupal websites of all sizes.


How has nonprofit leadership changed (if at all) as a result of technology, from your perspective/ experience? There has been an encouraging evolution in nptech. In the early days, nonprofit leaders mostly expected to be able to use it to support traditional business practices, meaning that email was used as an enhanced fax machine, the website was an enhanced brochure, and Google was an enhanced phone book. With the arrival of social media came a plethora of online tools and services relevant to nonprofits. These were “shiny objects” that we all felt pressured to jump on, often with blind enthusiasm and nearly always without really knowing what was going to happen until later. Now nptech seems to be settling down, the online services field is clearer, nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe 44



Why are you serving on the nTen:Change editorial committee – what makes you want to volunteer? I proactively seek out opportunities to learn about the latest nptech trends, and to share my own insights and perspectives. When I was asked to contribute an article on Open Data and I learned about the NTEN: Change editorial process and the experts on the committee, I was deeply impressed and decided to volunteer. The committee has been very welcoming, and I enjoy the monthly calls with this smart and idealistic group. I value NTEN as a groundbreaking support network for the nonprofit community during a tumultuous period of tech evolution. I have benefitted from NTEN a great deal over the years, and I am happy to be able to give back to the community in this way. Hope it helps!


What’s the one technology tool that you wouldn’t want to go without in your daily work? I tend to be promiscuous when it comes to technology and am always open to trying out new things, but the one tool that I have come to rely on is google Apps – especially for email, calendaring, and collaboration. I can use it across all of my devices and download my data anytime, my team can share role-based accounts and it’s a no-brainer to maintain. For privacy and security reasons I do consider moving to a self-hosted linux presence from time to time, but have been putting it off because I have a hard time imagining my life without Google.

cHaNGe A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders

Survival of the Most Technologica l



and nonprofit leaders have a practical understanding of how technology can support their mission, what they should be asking of it, and how they can measure its impact.


Todd Baylis, Preside

nt, Qgiv


CHANGE A Qua rter ly

Jou rna l for Non pro fit

Lead ers




Rethinking the Traditional Report with Videos and Infograph ics PAGE 25 FEATURE:

Meas Impact in Twouring Your One Big Trap Steps and

by Andrew Means

ent Manager of Impact Measurem Groupon & Data Storytelling at





charity:water’ Experience s Donor and Inside Transpar a Look International ency

NteN cHaNGe is a free quarterly digital journal for nonprofit leaders. [ PAGE 10 ]


each issue is filled with essential tips and tools to help organizations keep innovating. suBscrIBe today for free! O www.nten.org/ntenchange

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ntenvoiceS nten: CHAnGe 路 MARCH 2014 路 pAGe 4



coMMunIty BuZZ JuliA SMitH, nten eduCAtiOn MAnAGeR

@rootwork: Azavea = AWeSoMe! Highly rec! #nptech @mike_tedeschi Submit to @azavea’s Summer of Maps program for pro bono gIS work http://bit.ly/1bsCzmk

@MapTechWorks: oh man, this is an awesome list! Apps to support ppl with disabilities – http://bit.ly/1nenMkI cc @Angela7Hickman #a11y #nptech

@kanter: Three things bill gates wishes he could have done 20 years ago http://qz.com/175616 – start “ISR” or individual giving earlier

ReCent tWeetS ABOut #npteCH And innOvAtiOn JOin tHe COnveRSAtiOn: FOllOW nten @ntenORG!

@silverbell: boost Conversions Through Practical Design Changes http://bit.ly/1l0ogM4 via @sitetuners #nptech

@npquarterly: new @Knightfdn report shows a rich mix of investors in innovative civic technology http://ow.ly/rsn4r #nptech #civictech

@mo_flow: @jasonShim – we made it in! january 2014nonprofit blog Carnival: Measurement and learning http://flip.it/AMIiq

@Mobilisationlab:“Coopetition” raises attention & crowdsources innovation to solve tough problems: http://buff.ly/1fejp7y #nptech #solar

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BecoMIng a coMMunIty-drIven organIZatIon AMy SAMple WARd, nten CeO

We recently gathered some of the community leaders who were instrumental in NTEN’s founding for an open conversation, reflecting on the needs of the nonprofit sector 15 years ago when NTEN formed, where we’ve made an impact so far, and where the next 15 years may take us. While the community continues to change, NTEN’s role as an educator, resource provider, and community catalyst and connector continues to provide value. The last year or so has brought a good amount of transition to NTEN as an organization. What are most often noticed are clear changes with staff or programs. Inside NTEN, we are really excited about a purposeful and thoughtful transition all staff are engaged in, started last summer and continuing today: becoming a community-driven organization inside and out. Whether NTEN exists 15 years from now is not up to staff or board to decide – it’s a matter of the community’s need for our services, programs, and support. As a membership organ-


ization serving anyone interested in nonprofit technology, we will thrive when we let the community lead, building our processes and programs such that they can adapt and meet needs that change over time. This transition included shifts in policy and strategy, tactical plans, and even branding. Looking at staff specifically, ensuring that we could engage and work with the community directly meant we needed to change our staffing structure, our staff roles, and also our evaluation processes. Community isn’t only an external thing – we are actively working on creating the same kind of community inside our organization as we support outside the community. Structure

First, we have to recognize and respect that each staff person is working with many other staff to reach our goals. We moved away from an “organization chart” that shows a traditional hierarchy or reporting relationship pyramid. Now, we have a flow chart that shows the dynamic relationships between staff for program-specific work, support we all provide to each other in different roles, and the connections to board and community outside the organization that are integral to success. Roles

In addition to a more dynamic organizational staff structure, we’ve updated all staff roles and expectations to include specifics about how each staff person can and should engage

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with the community outside the organization. This includes everything from a clear expectation to live our values, to identifying specific groups, events, or even communication channels that different staff can use to personally connect with community members. Evaluation

All of this talk about connecting and engaging with the community, and creating great community internally, is just talk if we don’t really do it. And to hold ourselves accountable to really doing it, we have also revamped our staff evaluation processes. The dynamic relationship chart serves as the first prompt to ensure diverse working relationships participate (both ways) in giving feedback to staff on their work. Importantly, we are also asking for direct feedback from community members. This does not mean the kind of general feedback we collect in the annual Community Survey about our programs and resources; but, instead, about actual interactions and transactions that involve staff. None of this is easy, and it certainly doesn’t happen over night. Be warned, it involves many meetings and some times hard (but very rewarding) discussions about what we are trying to do and what the community really needs. But in the end, we feel that this transition we are in to operate as a community-driven organization will ensure we are structured and positioned to move with and serve this community going forward. We'd love to hear your feedback! Email me at amy@nten.org if you have any questions, or want to learn more about our new approach.


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our BuMPy road to sustaInaBIlIty eileiGH dOineAu, nten SpOnSORSHip & develOpMent COORdinAtOR

You may have heard by now that NTEN’s Community is 50,000 strong this year. We’re very proud of this number, in part because it means that we have 50,000 smart and passionate people from whom to learn. Starting with this quarter’s Journal, we want to focus on how our members are tackling environmental sustainability within their organizations and beyond with technology, and will highlight a member organization each quarter. And where better to kick off this column than with NTEN’s own humbling experiences? In early 2013, we took a cue from our environmental and social justice nonprofits and started to formalize our sustainability efforts. While NTEN has always tried to incorporate sustainable practices into its annual flagship event, the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), there was never anything written down to serve as a guide, or any benchmarks against which to measure. We hoped that, by creating a Sustainability Plan, making green decisions would become a natural part of what we do, like a reflex.


An internal “green team” of NTEN staff created some solid goals to work toward, drawing on past efforts and a vision of what NTEN could achieve in the future. We came up with some good ideas, but we wanted to include input from the NTEN Community. After putting out a call for volunteers, we established the Sustainability Committee in the fall of 2013. So far, the committee has focused on the NTC and has established goals, including: • Travel offset program • Ride-share program • Reusable giveaways • Banning plastics and Styrofoam • Reusable signage As anyone trying to put together a conference knows, however, it’s not easy to “go green.” In our inaugural year, we’ve been reminded that it’s easier to change yourself, but rather more difficult to change an industry. We’ve encountered some expected challenges on-site at the conference venue, such as an inability to compost food waste, or to control where food is sourced, much less ensure that it is seasonal, local, and organic. We had hoped that, by creating a sponsorship for carbon offsets, we would be able to offset the entire conference. Unfortunately, there has been little interest in this sponsorship opportunity to date. These have been sources of disappointment, especially when it’s hard to understand exactly why something isn’t working. nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe 0




As anyone trying to put together a conference knows, however, it’s not easy to “go green.” in our inaugural year, we’ve been reminded that it’s easier to change yourself, but rather more difficult to change an industry.


One of the goals that we’ve successfully met has been reducing the size of the printed program guide, and only using soy-based inks. We were also able to work with a local, 100% union print company to avoid shipping the guides to the NTC site, and ensure that workers rights were respected in the process. We’ve had some terrific sponsors opt for the digital tote bag insert instead of the traditional insert, thereby cutting down on paper waste even further – an estimated 8,000 pieces of printed material! Even in the short span of the Sustainability Committee’s existence, we’ve learned so much about what is possible, and we feel empowered to expand the scope of the Sustainability Plan to tackle NTEN’s upcoming events, and even our general internal processes. We also see the committee’s work as reinforcing our organizational values as well as our commitment to our community by involving our members in the planning process. This brings us to an important point: we’ll be looking for additional committee members for 2014. If you have some ideas you’d like to share and an hour a month you can spare, we’d love to have you join our committee!

As we strive to integrate sustainable practices into our own work, we’re interested in hearing about what our members are doing, what challenges you’ve faced, and how your organization has achieved its sustainability goals. Have a great story to share from your organization? Please get in touch with me at eileigh@nten.org.


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About nTen: A Community Transforming Technology Into Social Change Who We Are A community of nonprofit professionals, we aspire to a world where nonprofit groups of all types and sizes use technology strategically and confidently to fulfill their missions. Together, the NTEN community helps members put technology to work so they can bring about the change they want to see in the world. What We Do NTEN connects members with one another and offers many opportunities for learning and professional development— all so you can focus on achieving your goals and meeting your mission.

How We Do It NTEN helps members, with their diverse job functions and levels of tech comfort and expertise, share best practices, and glean insights from one another both online and off: training, research and industry analysis, regional meet-ups, our signature Nonprofit Technology Conference. As a member, you gain instant access to a supportive community that shares your passions and challenges, as well as to valuable resources for professional development. Connect Communities of Practice & online groups my.nten.org Whether you’re a webmaster, marketer, executive director, fundraiser, blogger, program manager, or play another role in the nonprofit sector, connect with your peers online. Join our Affinity Groups and social networks, browse the Member Directory, post in our online forums. events / www.nten.org/events NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference and local meet-ups bring nonprofit professionals together to share ideas and best practices. Get to know colleagues. Develop a support network. Talk shop. Vent. Congratulate. Collaborate. The possibilities are endless.

learn nTen Webinars www.nten.org/webinars Changing the world isn’t easy. NTEN members are always looking to learn more about how to use technology to further their missions. Gain a wealth of knowledge without ever leaving your desk through NTEN’s extensive schedule of live webinars and archived events. nTen Research www.nten.org/research NTEN collaborates with renowned industry, academic, and nonprofit partners to conduct research on key subjects related to nonprofit technology, including IT staffing and spending, salaries, social networking, and data ecosystems. Our reports and benchmarks studies offer actionable data and invaluable insider information. Change nTen Connect newsletter www.nten.org/signup Read how NTEN members are fulfilling their missions and changing the world— and how you can too. The free monthly NTEN Connect newsletter brings you solid advice, success stories, and best practices related to technology and the nonprofit sector. nten: CHAnGe · MARCH 2014 · pAGe 2