I am often asked if I can offer pro bono assistance to nonprofit organizations that need help aligning their technology strategies with their overall organizational strategies.
The good news is that there are three different events in the near future where I’ll be offering pro bono strategic tech consultations:
- At the Annkissam table, October 29th. (Massachusetts Nonprofit Network Conference & Expo, Sheraton Framingham.) I will also be one of the facilitators at a conference workshop on knowledge management for small nonprofits, along with Mollie Murphy, Kevin Palmer, and Jim Fisk. For more information, please follow this link.
- At the Venture Cafe on November 3rd. (Cambridge Innovation Center, Kendall Square.) The co-hosts of this event are Annkissam, Tech Networks of Boston, and 501Partners. I will be one of 21 nonprofit technology mavens! This event is currently booked to capacity, but you can put yourself on the waiting list by following this link.
- At the Annkissam table, November 17th, (Providers Council Convention & Expo, Boston Marriot Copley Place.) For more information, please follow this link.
When I provide strategic pro bono assistance to nonprofits, it’s on the following basis:
- No charge to the nonprofit organization
- No sales pitches to the nonprofit organization
- No further obligation on the part of the nonprofit organization
If you are a Boston area nonprofit professional in need of strategic technology assistance, then I hope to see you at one or more of these events!
NTEN: Change is a quarterly journal for nonprofit executives, and I’m pleased to say that the “askDeborah” podcast is one of its regular features. The journal is available by subscription only but is free to all.
The December edition of NTEN: Change is out, and the podcast for this issue features a conversation about email for nonprofits. The guest expert is Gavin Murphy of Annkissam; he and I ponder a question posed by a nonprofit professional who is wondering whether to go with a free email service (such as Gmail or Hotmail), or to allocate money to pay for what the organization needs.
It’s not a simple yes or no answer, although an organization with serious needs for maintaining security and privacy in email communication is probably better off looking for something more than a free service can offer.
Gavin explains this is a very reassuring, accessible way. The whole point of the “askDeborah” podcast series – as well as the point of the NTEN: Change journal – is to address these concerns for busy people whose expertise lies in other areas of nonprofit management.
Heartfelt thanks are due all around: to Gavin, for offering his expertise; to NTEN, for publishing the segment in the quarterly journal; and to Community TechKnowledge, for underwriting the podcast series as part of its educational initiative.
I had a lovely time on Wednesday at the Providers Council conference and expo. All told, I put in about six hours at the Annkissam table, along with Kevin Palmer and Matteo Ramos-Mucci. As previously mentioned, Annkissam underwrote my time at the conference, so that I could provide pro bono strategic tech consultations on site and on demand.
It was fun.
I enjoyed the challenge of improvising the best possible assistance for each human service provider who sat down for a brief consultation. I’m not sure I could do thirty-minute consultations all day and every day, but it was very satisfying day.
Other aspects of the conference that I enjoyed were the company of members of the Annkissam team, meeting the other exhibitors, chatting with acquaintances as they passed by our table, and striking up conversations with total strangers as they stopped to ask about what we were featuring: Annkissam’s services, NPO Connect, and on-the-spot pro bono assistance.
One phenomenon that interested me greatly was the response of total strangers to the idea that Annkissam was interested in offering strategic technology assistance that was free from cost, obligation, or sales pitches. The responses appeared to include suspicion, incredulity, confusion, apathy, relief, and joy. I can understand that it’s hard for someone who doesn’t know me or the folks from Annkissam to comprehend that they might get anything other than a sales pitch and a piece of candy when visiting the table. Naturally, the passers-by who already knew us had no trouble with the concept.
It’s going to take a lot of repetition before the idea of pro bono strategic technology consultations at conferences for nonprofit professionals becomes a commonplace, but as long as it’s fun, I’m more than willing to keep at it.