I love working with Annkissam, and one of my favorite tasks is assisting in organizing their pro bono, sales-pitch-free tech consultation events for local nonprofit professionals.
The next pro bono event will be on the evening of March 31st at the Cambridge Innovation Center.
Tech Networks of Boston and 501 Partners will be serving as co-hosts; I love to see these three mission-driven nonprofit technology assistance firms collaborating to serve nonprofit organizations.
I also love to see a wide range of other nonprofit technology mavens volunteering a few hours of their time at these events to offer consultations to any of the nonprofit guests who request assistance and advice. In addition to the immediate help that this provides to the attendees, the event is a opportunity for nonprofit techies to do skills-based volunteering together, and sends a crucial message about our ability to collaborate.
Here is the all-star March 2015 team of nptech volunteers!
On Monday, November 3rd, Annkissam, Tech Networks of Boston, and 501Partners
will be co-hosting an evening of pro bono, sales-pitch-free tech consultations for local nonprofit professionals!
This event will take place at the Venture Cafe in Kendall Square. Nearly seventy nonprofit professionals will be able to have short one-to-one consultations with as many mavens as they like. (I will be one of them, offering consultations about strategic tech planning, knowledge management, social media, web strategy, and some other topics.)
I want to give a big shout out to my fellow mavens, who are volunteering to serve the nonprofit attendees in a completely sales-pitch-free environment:
In addition to the excitement of an event that enables me to work with a slew of nonprofits that are making the world a better place, I love the idea of showing the world that our local community of nonprofit technology professionals is a surprisingly collaborative one. Three nonprofit technology assistance companies are coming together to host and underwrite the evening, and the 21 mavens will be working side by side in one room. We’ll be encouraging all of our guests from the nonprofit sector to solicit second, third, and fourth opinions. The goal isn’t to block them from exposure to other vendors, but to make sure they have the information they need and an opportunity to identify resources that are a good fit for their needs.
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.