NTC 2012: Relationships, local leaders and social media, nonprofits meet tech startups, screwing up social media campaigns

The Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) is coming up. Well, it is April 3 – 5, 2012, so you still have time to make your travel arrangements. Agenda planning is in full swing, though.

Vote for NTC 2012 SessionsThis year, Jacob and I proposed a few sessions that build upon the work we are doing here at Bright+3 and through other networks. We’ve grounded these sessions in key issues nonprofits face today building and strengthening networks, making the most of social media and evolving their structures and funding bases.

Please head over the NTC site and vote for each of them (with a thumbs up but if not we’re still friends, right?). It is super easy: no login needed. We would love and appreciate your feedback here and if you are interested in talking about or participating in any of these sessions please give us a shout.

Here’s a quick list of session names and links to voting. More complete descriptions follow.

It’s not me, it’s you: How relationship-driven organizations are building long-lasting ties to people and organizing to change policy

Today’s online technologies are relationship-driven and all about creating and fostering connections. The “web” is hyperlinked. Social networks are, well, networks that connect people using relationship norms. We all want our emails to be “forwarded to a friend.” Transparency and openness are not just buzzwords but rather expectations of government and organizations. Organizations seem to get it. All have websites, email lists, facebook pages and twitter accounts. But does your organization feel that it’s getting what it could from online networks?

Relationship-driven organizations are envisioning people not just as subscribers or donors or activists but as key actors in the organization’s success. Expectations may be made, empowerment given and increasing engagement is the norm. This organization is prepared to take advantage of networks – social, email, community – and will have more tools to thrive over time.

Find out more about what makes an organization “relationship-driven,” how to reframe communications and programs, and how to measure and evaluate relationships using the data and tools already in most organizations. This panel will include key people in organizations that have already made the transition.


  1. Guiding principles for relationship-driven organizations.
  2. Ways to reframe organizational culture to emphasize, measure and value relationships between the organization and members, activists, donors, and subscribers.
  3. How to analyze data from email, social media, web, CRMs and other sources to identify, quantify and assess ROI of relationships.

Let’s get local: Insider secrets of how social media is used by state and local leaders

We know social media strategies can be a powerful tool in creating social change, and we know that elected officials can be influenced by social media advocacy efforts. We will be focusing on how social media is perceived and used by local and state officials so that organizations can better harness it to influence and work with leaders and government at this level.

Here’s your chance to hear elected officials and staff talk about how they see social media influencing their decision-making, their perspective on the most effective social media strategies, and their best guess about what the future of social media holds for influencing political leaders.


  1. Insight from local elected officials on how social media is perceived and used in city, county and state government & politics.
  2. How to craft social media campaigns to influence and/or work with local leaders.
  3. Ways social media organizing at local/state level can help organization build relationships.

Dispatches from the Other Side: What Nonprofit and Tech Startups Can Learn From Each Other

Nonprofits have an uncomfortable and uneven relationship with the private sector. Many are allergic to the very idea of emulating any sort of private sector practice, concerned that its focus on investment return corrupts everything it touches. Others run toward the opposite extreme, adopting private sector practices without bothering to distinguish between those employed by the high-performance organizations and those employed by all the other ones. But the private sector is as diverse as the nonprofit sector, and at least one private sector segment – technology startups – has a great deal in common with small nonprofits: smart and capable founders, a deep passion for the project, a lack of funding, inexperience at managing capacity building and organizational growth. In this panel, we’ll explore that relationship and the lessons that tech and nonprofit startups can learn from each other.


  1. Opportunities for nonprofits to learn from the success and failures of technology startups.
  2. Lessons that technology startups can glean from the successes and failures of the nonprofit world.
  3. Colorful stories about what happens with these two worlds intersect.

A Dozen Great Ways to Screw Up Your Social Media Campaign

Members of this panel will cover some of the easiest and most effective ways to completely tank your nonprofit’s social media efforts. We’ll cover how to use poor planning to keep your campaign from ever launching, how you can use weak execution to derail even your well-planned efforts, and, when you do make mistakes, how to make sure you fumble your attempt to recover from them. Our examples will cover a range of common (and sometimes catastrophic) social media errors, including publishing inappropriate messages, censorship, technological problems, trying to control the message, and poor design. We’ll invite the audience to share some of their own stories and lessons learned.


  1. Good examples and cautionary tales about social media missteps.
  2. Key tricks for avoiding social media disasters.
  3. Tips for recovering from social media disasters when they happen (and they will).

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