We know you’ve been asked to vote often recently. You’ve probably voted in your state/territory’s primary elections. We KNOW you voted for all the excellent nonprofit panels on the SXSW panel picker. Well, we need you to exercise your right to vote just one more time — this time for NTEN’s fantastic 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference.
Since all the panels up for evaluation deal in some way with nonprofit technology goodness, we’re just going to point you in the direction of what we think is a stellar line up of panels that we have submitted for inclusion. We’d love your vote — and would especially appreciate any comments on what you’d like to see in these or future panels.
Practical HTML5/CSS3 for Nonprofits (or “How to Party Like it’s 2011 When it’s Really Still 1999″)
More neat stuff is being done with HTML5 and CSS3 every day and we all want to jump on the bandwagon and make Web sites that are really, truly, awesome. But what does HTML5 really mean? Non-profits have unique technology requirements, including the need to support visitors to your site who may be browsing on really old browsers over really slow connections, so will HTML5 even be viable? (“This will work in IE6, right?”) Will HTML5 make our site work on mobile devices? Is it the Flash killer that you may have heard it was? (spoiler alert: a REALLY BIG “maybe”) Can you start using it right now? (“Please oh please oh please”.)
You can hack it… but should you?
You’re adding a new feature to your website; maybe an online community, or peer-to-peer fundraising, or better Facebook integration. What’s more expensive: investing in a new piece of software, with a new set of features, and integrating it with your existing system? Or stretching the limits of your existing system, making it meet your changing needs? Sometimes it’s worth the cost to make updates with the click of a mouse, instead of making your developer tear her hair out to achieve the same result. Other times, your tools may surprise you, and a little hacking can go a long way. Learn the tricks for extending your existing toolset, and guidelines for deciding which route to take. We’ll share examples of how tools like Convio, WordPress, and Ning can do more than you’d expect… and some cases when they can’t do quite enough.
Money for Nothing and your Software for Free
Free beer! Free kittens! Free software! We all love to get something for free, especially when budgets are tight. We dream of the product that will, like magic, solve our problems without costing a cent. (If you aren’t, your boss probably is.) But free things almost always come with hidden costs, and free software is no different. It won’t give you a hangover, or get fleas, but it could eat up your staff time, control your data, or change the rules on you without notice. This was spectacularly clear when Ning eliminated free accounts, leaving nonprofits with the choice of paying up, or losing years of hard work. Or when Facebook suddenly turned fans into “likers,” forcing page administrators to change their outreach strategy. But not all free software is created equal, and it’s not just about open source vs. closed source. Some tools give you great power – but you have to know how to use it. Others may limit your options, or ignore what you really need. But some may be just what you’re looking for. We’ll explore the ins and outs of free and low-cost software, and ask: what does free software really cost?
While the importance of web usability is indisputable, the sad truth is that paying for usability experts, their tools and facilities often doesn’t fit into the nonprofit web budget. Turns out, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can go guerrilla with usability testing in either your approach and/or the tools you use and still achieve effective results.
Method Tweeting for Nonprofits: Much Ado About Something
When organizations use Twitter to promote themselves, it’s largely about playing a role. The person tweeting is tasked to be on message as the voice of the organization while creating a unique and engaging personality to draw an audience in. At the theater, we gladly accept this fake-me-out, but in social media where do we draw the line between being the playwright and playing a character?
Just ‘Cause: Can Technology Make Brand Irrelevant
Thanks to technology, the line is starting to blur between the power of a household name brand and the passion of scrappy mission-focused organizations. Yet when it feels like nothing short of a crisis will engage people with your cause, how do you compel them to act? The battle of Cause vs Brand is on.