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Posts about nptech

Nonprofit technology articles address specific software and services useful to nonprofit groups.

15 March 2014

Investigate how sustainable social change has transpired in the past, and you’ll be closer to effecting change in the future.

27 February 2013

Tomorrow at 1PM Eastern/10AM Pacific, Johanna Bates< and I will be co-hosting the monthly Nonprofit DrupalDrupal is an open-source content management system (CMS) used for many complex nonprofit sites. Other examples of CMSes include WordPress, Joomla! and Plone. Community of Practice discussion and Q&A call.

This is a free conference call, sponsored by the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) but open to anyone. Please join us!<

26 February 2013

Into a nonprofit’s website confusion steps Domain Registry of America<, a bottomfeeding company that intentionally misleads low-information website owners into vastly overpaying for their domain registration by switching to their “service.”

You don’t need to and shouldn’t register your nonprofit website with Domain Registry of America — don’t be fooled!

Domain Registry of America sends the owner of a website domain an official-looking “expiration notice,” urging the owner to “act today” to prevent “loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you.” Yet Domain Registry of America vastly overcharges for domain registration — their entire business model is built on swindling people into switching their registration. Don’t let it happen to you!

9 December 2010

Earlier this year, FacebookFacebook is a social network encouraging real identity — each user has a single account under their full, real name. Facebook began among US college students but has quickly expanded to people of all ages around the world. announced they were dropping support for new custom tabs that used Facebook Markup Language, although you could still specify a particular application tab as your landing page, including custom-page-creating applications. Indeed, a custom landing tab was recommended as a Facebook best practice for nonprofits.

Now, however, it appears all visitors to a nonprofit’s Facebook Page will be directed to the Wall. What’s more, with tabs being de-emphasized by their move to smaller links under your profile, it’s less obvious how new visitors can find out more about your organization.

30 August 2010

Sexism is bigger than any one person; it’s a system in which our entire society is enmeshed. Too often, such systematic discrimination as treated as discrete, individual acts, disconnected from the larger reality. What too many men miss is the reality that the system under which they face such inhumane expectations is the same one that limits the potential of women. This exists in the technology and nonprofit tech communities no less than the rest of society — and has to be faced in a systematic way, not simply by counting the number of women on a tech panel.

9 April 2010

Online activism didn’t come out of nowhere. The methods and tactics of online activists — be they individuals or international nonprofits with hundreds of staff — are drawn on social change movements and community organizing strategies that have been tried, experimented with, failed, tweaked, and tried again, long before the Internet existed.

6 November 2009

To Causes, leaving MySpace to focus on its core community on Facebook made good business sense, but certainly those organizations left in the lurch on MySpace feel otherwise. Simply put, you can’t rely on third-party, often for-profit services to support your organization’s interests. While it’s important to let go of your message, you still need to have control over your relationships — and in many online social networks, you don’t. What would it look like if nonprofits and social change movements — which these third party applications often use to market themselves as effective and “good” — started demanding some openness?

9 October 2009

The subtitle of this workshop could be, “Social change has always relied on social networks — they just weren’t called Facebook.” I’m going to be talking concretely about the strategy of using online tools for social change. This won’t be an ain’t-it-cool presentation of shiny technology, nor will it be a technical exploration of complicated software. It will be an interactive how-to on making social change work more effective by using online social technology.

3 September 2009

Gurus, mavens and experts convey information — they tell you the way things are.

Organizers, conversely, cultivate leadership and facilitate a community's exploration of its vision — they offer a way to see how things could be.

Naturally, we need an accurate picture of how things are before we can strategize ways to improve them, and so it's important to continually listen to and learn from the experts, taking from them relevant information and measuring it against our own experience and knowledge. But folks involved in social change — online or offline — can't stay there. We have to be willing to step up and do the difficult organizing work that leverages our knowledge and experts' data into something larger: a movement.

8 April 2009

If organizers limit themselves to seeing Twitter as a strategy in and of itself — without considering the strategy apart from the tool — they risk overlooking ways to run a more effective campaign on other platforms, or augmenting a campaign using multiple platforms. Worse, organizers risk giving supporters feel-good activism that quenches their desire for social change without actually moving the movement closer to a concrete goal, or putting any pressure on powerholders.

The strategy always comes first, and then you figure out which tool fits. The alternative? A forest fire.

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