Greetings from Atlanta!
The National Alliance to End Homelessness is attending the Nonprofit Technology Network Conference (NTEN) for the very first time – on the year if the conference’s own 10th birthday!
NTEN is a community of nonprofit organizations committed to using technology to help fulfill our missions. In their own words:
“We believe that technology allows nonprofits to work with greater social impact. We enable our members to strategically use technology to make the world a better, just, and equitable place.”
What that means in practice is a lot of sharing: online workshops to learn about the latest gadgets and tools, local gatherings in cities across the country to swap skills, online and off-line forums for people with similar interests and jobs to trade challenges and solutions, and – drumroll – the annual Nonprofit Technology Conference.
This year, there are about 1350 people in attendance, all buzzing around to learn what’s new and effective. And while there are plenty of people here who do what I do (communications!) there are plenty of other jobs represented here too – IT folk, webmasters, fundraisers, executives, organizers. And there are lots of different kinds of organizations here too – I met Melissa from Free Range Studios, ran into Michaela from Forum One Communications, saw old friend Stacy from See3 and caught a glimpse of the Google kiosk.
It’s been quite whirl – and we haven’t even started workshops yet!
But sitting here – just for a minute to catch my breath – I’m a little-tiny-bit-cheesily-inspired by what brings us all here. Together, we’re a collection of mission-driven organizations, all trying to do our part to make the world a better place. And we’re trying to apply the technology that makes our personal lives just a little bit easier (hello, iPhone!) to create real, substantial social good. It’s an idea that’s still (still!) being debated, but here at the NTEN conference, people really belive it’s possible.
And I totally buy that.
So starting tomorrow, I’m going to workshops to find out how I can do my part to make that happen.
I’ll keep you posted!