Tag Archives: event

Me in Austin in September

 I’ll be in Austin, Texas September 17 – 19 for the Alliance for Nonprofit Management Annual Conference. My book, The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, co-authored with Susan Ellis (who will be in Austin too!), is a finalist for Terry McAdam Book Award. In addition to being present for the awards, Susan and I will also be presenting (details TBA), and I’ll be helping at Susan’s Energize booth at the conference, where we will have several copies of our book for purchase, as well as many other volunteer engagement books published by Energize.

I’m excited beyond belief because Austin was my home for four years, it’s where I directed The Virtual Volunteering Project from the University of Texas at Austin, and when I’m stressed, it’s the happy place I go to in my mind… I haven’t been there since 2009. SO EXCITED. If you are an organization in Austin and want to book me for a short training or consultancy while I’m there, please contact me (also see my public calendar for my availability).

The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook is available in both traditional paperback and as an ebook.

Me in D.C. & Philly area in April 2014

logoAt long last, I will be in the Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area! I haven’t been there since 2005!

I will be there in early April 2014, to do a presentation on April 8.  I would like to schedule trainings and meetings before and after that day in the Washington, D.C. metro area and/or in the Philly area. It’s important to get bookings as soon as possible, before I book my flights!

My presentations are lively and audience-oriented, and are focused giving participants resources that they can use immediately and a base on which to further build and improve long after the workshop is over. Workshop topics include:

  • various practices and trends in volunteerism, volunteer management and community engagement, including
    • trends in volunteer engagement and volunteer management (and how to exploit these trends)
    • inspiring and supporting all staff regarding the involvement of volunteers
    • increasing the value of the coordinator / manager of volunteers role within an organization
    • online volunteering/virtual volunteering, including screening and orienting volunteers online and risk management
    • recruiting volunteers, from specific demographics and in general
    • creating online communities and networks for volunteers
    • using real-time communications (video conferencing, online phone calls, chats and instant messaging), audio and video with volunteers
  • traditional and online communications, including:
    • building press relations / pitching stories successfully
    • writing for the press
    • networking and outreach to build credibility and support for a program or organization
    • basic public relations functions
    • outreach to particular audiences
    • strategic communications (systematic planning and utilization of a variety of information flows to deliver a message and build credibility or a brand)
    • writing worthwhile, compelling, appropriate reports for partner organizations and donors
    • crisis communications, how to address misinformation/misunderstandings, addressing online criticism, etc.
    • taking photos in the developing world, for non-photographers
    • proposal writing
    • outreach via the Internet
    • online culture and communities
    • evaluating online activities
    • creating blogs and podcasts for nonprofit organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community groups, government agencies, etc.

To talk about possible dates and my training fees, please contact me via email.

I’m also available to meet, face-to-face, for informational meetings, collaboration ideas, etc. Please contact me via email to set up a meeting in April 2014!

TechSoup Digital Storytelling Challenge – Details Released

Beginning April 2, nonprofits, libraries and other mission-based organizations can participate in TechSoup’s interactive trainings to learn valuable production techniques for create your own video or audio story to share online – which you can use to then create your own story to enter the TechSoup Digital Storytelling challenge.

2013 Digital Storytelling Challenge Timeline

April 2: Digital Storytelling Launch / Submissions OPEN

April 4: Webinar: Creating a Culture of Storytelling (register)
April 9: Tweet Chat: Storytelling with Data
April 11: Webinar: How to Use Your Digital Story
April 16: Tweet Chat: Storytelling Around the World
April 17: Google+ Hangout: Meet the Judges!
April 18: Webinar: Digital Storytelling Tools and Methods
April 23: Tweet Chat: Storytelling and Social Sharing
April 24: Google+ Hangout: Winners’ Circle!

April 30: Submissions close at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time

May 1 – 15: Community and expert judging

May 28: Awards Gala live in San Francisco and streaming online!

How to Enter

  1. Create a short video (90 seconds max) or a five-imageslide show
  2. Upload video to YouTube or slide show to Flickr
  3. Submit to TechSoup by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on April 30

Here’s complete details on the challenge and how to enter.

And if you want to discuss digital storytelling for nonprofits, libraries, schools, NGOs and other mission-based folks, join in the Digital Storytelling branch of the TechSoup Online Community Forum.

Join me on Twitter Oct. 23 for a tweetchat!

On Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 1-2 p.m. New York City time (10 a.m. Oregon time), I’ll be leading the tweetchat on Twitter.

The tweetchat is focused on building and sustaining online communities for nonprofits, charities, schools, government programs and other mission-based initiatives, though some corporate folks frequently show up and share.

The focus of the chat tomorrow will be on cultivating leaders in online communities. A lively, information-rich online community rarely happens because of just one person answering questions, inviting and welcoming new members, facilitating discussions, regularly introducing new topics, etc. Rather, they happen because of a number of people taking on these roles, officially and unofficially. But how do you cultivate and keep such online leaders?

Participating in the tweetchat is simple: you log into Twitter, and then you click on the link or do a search on the term #commbuild on Twitter. All messages with the #commbuild tag will appear. Keep reloading the tweets and you will see all new messages. To respond, just choose a message and click on “Reply”. Be sure to put the tag #commbuild in your message, however, so everyone else can see it too!

The questions I’m going to be asking on this Tweetchat (subject to change!):

Q1 What is an online community leader, from your POV? Define who that would be. 
Q2 How do you recognize some1 emerging as an online community leader?
Q3 When do you move some1 from unofficial leadership to official (written task description, dates of commitment, etc.)
Q4 Have you ever made some1 an official community leader (facilitator, chat host, etc.) & regretted it? What happened/why?
Q5 Have some1 ever asked to be made an official community leader & you have had to say no? What happened/why?
Q6 Should community leaders have term expiration dates, or do you just keep them as long as they are around?
Q7 How do you recognize/reward community leaders for their contributions?

In addition to this being a terrific learning experience regarding how to cultivate community leaders in online communities, it’s also a great learning experience if you are new to Twitter or to tweetchats.

More about the #commbuild tweetchat events.

Get your 2012 events on Facebook NOW

Facebook continues to be the most popular online social networking tool, and while that will surely change eventually – just as it did for AOL and MySpace before it – right now, and for the next few years, Facebook cannot be ignored as an effective communications tool for nonprofit organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), schools, government agencies and other mission-based programs to get the word out about events.

A terrific microvolunteering assignment for an online volunteer is to have them input all of your organization or program’s public or semi-public events for the coming months on the Facebook calendar. He or she should input the name, date, time and a short description for each event. Events you will want to share include conferences your organization is hosting or organizing, an open house, a class your organization is hosting, all volunteer orientations, or any other public event or semi-public event, such as an annual volunteer meeting (making it clear that a person would have to be a currently-registered volunteer to attend).

Even if you invite people to events in other ways – via email, via a special meeting web site, via whatever online calendar you use, etc. – put your events in Facebook as well. This will serve as a reminder to people about the event, as well as potentially attracting more attendees (as appropriate).

Here’s an example of what an event on Facebook looks like; note that the example is a virtual event, one that doesn’t require physical attendance. However, you will want to also post events where people will be in a particular time and place, onsite or online, in order to participate.

Once the volunteer has completed the assignment of posting your 2012 events on your Facebook page, invite all of your organization or program’s Facebook friends – volunteers, donors, partner organizations, clients – to each event via Facebook, as appropriate. If they mark that they are attending on Facebook, all of their Facebook friends will be able to see that intention, and they may decide to attend as well (as appropriate).

Make it clear if RSVPing via Facebook is or is NOT the official way to RSVP; attendees may still have to RSVP through traditional channels (filling out an online form on your web site, calling the organization, paying a registration fee, etc.). Also make it clear how public the event is; if someone needs to already be a volunteer that has gone through an orientation, or a season ticket holder, or a registered student, note that on the event.

Be explicit about any fees or costs associated with attending!

If the event is not fully public – if children will be present, and the only people permitted to attend are registered, screened volunteers and employees – then leave out the location of the event, and note on the event description what an adult has to do in order to be able to attend.

Don’t invite people to more than two events at a time (say, within one week); people don’t want to receive invitations to all of your events in 2012 in one afternoon.

Encourage your employees and volunteers that use their Facebook accounts for work or volunteering to do the same – but do NOT require anyone to use their Facebook accounts in this way – many people keep work or volunteering activities off their Facebook account. Recognize those that do by thanking them on Facebook, or at your next staff meeting.

Monitor your Faceobook account, and respond to comments made on the Facebook event, as appropriate. It’s imperative that you respond to comments the same day they are posted!

This is all easy to do – and a great way for an online volunteer to help your organization if your current staff or onsite volunteers don’t have time to do this. The only requirement for you is that you provide very detailed information about your events for the year, and you review the information after the volunteer has uploaded it, to ensure the information is correct. If you need to make changes, you can do so, without going through the volunteer – and you can easily take away administrator privileges you have to give to a volunteer to undertake this assignment.

Get busy! And keep your info up-to-date!

Social media realities for Friday

logoSome resources, stories and events regarding social media that will help you balance all the hype with the reality of using such:

  1. TechSoup’s final live Twitter chat in its Nonprofit Social Media 101 (NPSM101) series is Monday, May 23 at 9 a.m. Pacific Time USA. Join in for a lively discussion on the value, ways to use, and best practices in tagging. Tagging is used in almost all major social sites, including 5 of the 6 TechSoup features in its newly launched NPSM101 wiki (Flickr, Delicious, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook). Thinking about how to tag your messages and photos will substantially increase the number of people viewing your online activities – and, ultimately, getting involved in your organization. You participate in this TechSoup Twitter Chat by following the tag #nptagging on Twitter, and including that tag in any of your own questions or responses during the event. You can also follow on this Tweetchat.com link. A Twitter chat event an intense experience, but I have enjoyed my participation in two of the last three TechSoup events way more than I thought I would.
  2. Few charities are raising significant amounts of money via social media, says a recent study regarding such. Fewer than 3 percent of the survey’s 11,196 nonprofit respondents reported raising more than $10,000 through such tools. Does that mean nonprofits, NGOs and other mission-based organizations engaging in social media isn’t really worth the effort? No. But it does mean that we need to stop talking about social media the way so many talked about the web back in the 1990s – that just having a presence will be a financial windfall. Donations come from cultivation, trust-building and proven results that an organization is getting results. Social media needs to be used strategically, and should be integrated into a variety of other, OFFline activities.
  3. By posing as a savvy junior analyst or a graduate student seeking sources for a paper, some people have been successful at building relationships with employees at certain companies and getting those employees to divulge sensitive information, as this story relates. I find it amusing that people ask me endless questions about Internet security related to protecting their nonprofit organization from a hacker, or preventing volunteers from violating confidentiality policies while never wondering if paid staff might do the same, but they never think about this very real scenario: staff willingly handing over information in a kind of online seduction. Confidentiality is an onling training issue, one that needs to be revisited repeatedly at organizations, and this proves it.
  4. Social media will be used against you. That’s one of the statements by an organizer of the Social Media, Internet and Law Enforcement conference in Chicago. Police have been using social networking sites to identify and investigate suspects, but now criminals are using such sites to identify and investigate law enforcement officers, including undercover police. In addition, hostage-takers and suspects who barricade themselves in buildings are monitoring social media to track police movements in real time, and gang members are launching their own surveillance operations targeting police. Nonprofits, NGOs and other mission-based organizations often have activists working against their work as well, and need to remember that those program saboteurs are also online.
  5. The U.S. State Department has quietly abandoned its America.gov site to refocus its efforts on social media. And I think it’s a bad idea. Not the social media part, but the abandoning the web part. Embrace social media – but do NOT get rid of your web site!

Happy Friday, everyone.

accessibility training May 17-19, 2011 in Austin

John Slatin AccessU, a web accessibility training institute by Knowbility.org, is next week. AccessU “allows attendees to engage with world renowned accessibility experts to improve design skills and to understand both the need and the techniques for inclusive IT design. From the basics to the bleeding edge, AccessU will provide the resources you need.”

John Slatin AccessU
May 17 – 19, 2011
St. Edward’s University
3001 South Congress Avenue
Austin, Texa

Courses include:
Introduction to Accessible CSS
Advanced CSS for Accessibility
Social Media with Accessibility in Mind
Web Accessibility from the UX/Usability Perspective
Establishing a Corporate Accessibility Initiative: A Case Study
Planning a Usability Test with Disabled Users
Video Captioning
HTML5 and Accessibility
iPhone/iPad Web and App Accessibility
PDF Accessibility: Seeing the Forest Through the Tag Trees
Accessible WordPress Theme Development
Web Access: Legal Update
DreamWeaver Accessibility
Rebirth of Slick: Why Design Is Cool and Why It Will Make People Love Your Company
Accessible Office 2007
Everything You Know about JavaScript and Accessibility is Wrong
Success in an Accessible E-Learning Environment


Complete list of courses and presenters, and all info, here.

Twitter, confidentiality, nonprofits & more

Nonprofits, NGOs, government agencies and other mission-based organizations: learn how to use Twitter… via Twitter! Today, May 9, at 9 am USA Pacific time, follow #nptwitter on Twitter. Much more detailed info at the TechSoup Community Forum. If you can’t participate at the time, you can view the discussion later by doing a search on #nptwitter.

But wait – there’s more! Last month, TechSoup hosted a free webinar to discuss ways to use social media to find, communicate with and build community among volunteers, lead by myself and Erin Barnhart. One of the questions that came in but that we didn’t answer to the asker’s satisfaction (our answer was all-too-brief) was:

As a nonprofit law firm for kids, I’m concerned about confidentiality with social media, especially Facebook. What are the hazards in this area?

Offer your answer, and read my own, on the TechSoup Community Forum.

I hope volunteer managers / volunteer coordinators in particular will view these resources. Too many of you think social media is something to be used by those working in your marketing or public relations department. You need to be using online tools to engage with volunteers and potential volunteers yourselves! I’ve been saying this since 1994 – you’re 17 years overdue! Here’s my own advice regarding online social media specifically.

Improving Lives in Rural Communities with ICTs?

May 17 will mark World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD). To celebrate, NetSquared is using this year’s theme, “Better Life in Rural Communities with ICTs,” to guide the Net2 Think Tank question for May!

NetSquared (Net2) is gathering examples of and ideas for communications technologies – phones, smart phones, computers, Internet, etc. – improving lives in rural communities. Entries will get pulled together for the next Net2 Think Tank Round-Up.

How is your initiative bridging the information divide and what are your tips for others? What are your tactics and best practices for helping rural communities using computer, Internet and mobile technology? And which projects are already doing this well? Share your projects and ideas with the NetSquared Community! Deadline: Saturday, May 21, 2001.

How to contribute:

The roundup of contributions will be posted on the NetSquared blog on Monday, May 23rd.

Net2 Think Tank is an initiative of TechSoup Global. It is a monthly blogging/social networking event open to anyone and is a great way to participate in an exchange of ideas. Net2 posts a question or topic to the NetSquared community and participants submit responses either on their own blogs, the NetSquared Community Blog, or using social media.  Tag your post with “net2thinktank” and email a link to Net2 to be included. At the end of the month, the entries get pulled together in the Net2 Think Tank Round-Up.

Some things I’ve written related to the subject of phones, smart phones, computers, Internet, etc. – improving lives in rural communities:

Tags: ICT4D, net2thinktank, NetSquared, access

Talking to Reps from NGOs & other orgs from all over the world

Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting to a “class” of the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. This was the third time I’ve presented to such a group since the mid 1990s – and this time, I got to spend more time with them than ever before!

These visitors represent NGOs and government agencies from all over the world, and are invited to the USA by arrangement of the Institute of International Education (IIE). The focus of the visit this year was how different organizations in the USA engage with volunteers, and I joined colleagues here in Portland to do a workshop on using social media to recruit and engage with volunteers (a very shortened version of the webinar for TechSoup, which is still available online). I was joined by Erin Barnhart and Martin Cowling (who just happened to be visiting from Australia!).

As you can see from this photo, I was thrilled to find an Afghan amid the group – Mr. Khir Mohammad Pazhwok of Ghori, the Program Officer with Integrity Watch Afghanistan. He seemed happy to meet someone who has been to his country (he was impressed that I still knew the Dari words for “Right”, “Left,” “Forward,” “Why not?” and “Thank you!”).

I presented to the 2010 group last year, leading an all-to-brief 30-minute panel of Portland agencies to talk about different models of volunteer engagement (long-term, episodic, diversity-focused, etc.). I presented to the group for the first time back in the 1990s in Austin, Texas – another all-too-brief talk about online volunteering (got into some trouble at that one when I started talking about Austin’s famous live music scene, which the group realized their State Department hosts would not be showing to them at all during the visit).

These representatives are highly focused on gathering as much knowledge as possible to take back to their respective countries. And they ask some of the best questions of any group I present to. What I love about presenting to this group is that they are ready to experiment – they do not fear new practices. They also never say what I hear too often by audiences in North America, Europe and even Australia: that’s not how we do things; I’m not sure we can change. If they hear a good idea, they are going to run with it!

I’m ready to do a workshop for YOU. I can also do workshops online. My schedule fills up quickly, so contact me soon with your idea!