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.
Given my current preoccupation with both outcomes management and data visualization for mission-based organizations, perhaps it’s not a surprise that I’m daydreaming about integrating applications that were designed for these two tasks.
This daydream was inspired by a recent conversation with Patrice Keegan, executive director of Boston Cares (a HandsOn Network affiliate). She is keenly interested in both outcomes and data visualization, and she leads a nonprofit of modest size that collaborates not only with many local partners but also with a national network of sister organizations that facilitate short-term volunteering. In other words, Boston Cares provides a gateway to volunteerism for individuals, corporations, and community-based nonprofits, and then shares best practices with its counterparts across the United States.
What better poster girl could there be than Patrice, for my Cause, which is making it not only possible but easy for her to take her outcomes analyses and turn them in visuals that tell the story of the social impact of Boston Cares?
Moreover, what good is a cause and a poster child, without a poster? Here’s mine:
Special note to software developers in the nonprofit sector: please take a look at that bright, shining face, and give your efforts to the cause.
Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of meeting with some colleagues at Common Impact and Hands On Tech Boston.
We talked about a number of subjects (and a few ways that I might be able to be helpful to them), but it seems to me that a really important theme of our conversations was about volunteer management. It’s a complex challenge that requires finely honed skills, plenty of experience, solid relationships, and a good head for strategy.
Of course, this is ever so much more so the case when a nonprofit is relying on volunteers to do a mission-critical technology implementation. I definitely have moments when I agree with the Nonprofit Curmudgeon that when it comes to nonprofit technology, “volunteerism is great but it ain’t the long term solution.” However, Common Impact provides a superlative model for skills-based corporate volunteering, and it works for technology implementations.
However, Common Impact can only work directly with a limited number of nonprofits. Fortunately, they are now making available online a “Readiness Roadmap” that will help organizations do the self-assessment and active preparation for a skills-based volunteer project. Actually, I suspect that using this tool will help any nonprofit that is seriously contemplating a major technology implementation, regardless of whether volunteers are part of the plan.