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.