30 September 2008

Don't Clog the Tubes, Yo!

  1. Get Google Chrome (if you haven't already).
  2. Fire it up.
  3. Type "about:internets" into the URL bar.
  4. Think fondly of Senator Ted Stevens, who may have to make his next idiotic statement about the Internet from jail.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

FREE Virtual Social Responsibility Summit

If, like me, you were wondering: "What ever happened to ASAE's big social responsibility push, evidenced by the spring one-off Social Responsibility Summit? Is that it?", good news: that isn't it.

ASAE will hosting a FREE virtual 3 day summit focusing on Carrying the Movement Forward, October 14-16.
Learn how you and your association or nonprofit can use the tools and resources emerging from this initiative to release the energy and passion of your membership, your community and the world for socially responsible action.
Register now to join your colleagues in thinking about how we can work together to solve some of our most pressing societal and environmental problems.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

29 September 2008

MUSE Revisited: Preparing for the Future: Succession Planning

Another post in my irregular but continuing series re-posting my articles from RSM McGladrey's MUSE enewsletter....

In the spring of 2007, a team of consultants from RSM McGladrey that included me assisted the Copper Development Association with a succession planning and staff development engagement. I had the opportunity to interview CDA President & CEO, Andy Kireta, Sr., about the process and what CDA learned that fall.

“The concept of succession planning came up as part of a free-flowing discussion in a CDA board executive committee meeting. We were reviewing the results of a 2005 member survey that was performed as part of a full organizational evaluation” stated Andy Kireta, President & CEO of the Copper Development Association. “The Board asked: ‘Who would most logically fulfill different job responsibilities if we were starting from scratch?’ and that helped us take the focus off particular individuals and move it to how various positions relate to the way CDA operates as a whole.”

CDA senior management initially decided to try to do succession planning internally. They identified a three person team who conducted confidential interviews with every staff member. However, “the Board wanted us to engage a third party to provide an independent perspective,” remarked Kireta. He met George Breeden, a director in the nonprofit consulting practice at RSM McGladrey, when the two served together on a panel on crisis management at the Council of Manufacturing Associations summer leadership conference in August 2006. Kireta and the CDA senior management team decided to retain RSM McGladrey as that objective third party. Breeden assembled a cross-functional team of consultants, drawing from both the NFP (not-for-profit) and MWD (manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution) practices. CDA management provided the team with background material on the member survey and the work CDA had already done and facilitated extensive access to the CDA staff and membership.

Obviously, the Board was already committed to the process. But how did the project team manage to secure staff buy-in?

“Most of the senior management team had exposure to projects like this from their prior industry experience, and most new staff members had little investment in ‘this is how we’ve always done it’,” said Kireta. “But some of the longer-term support staff members were concerned that this was a covert way of getting rid of people or at least making their jobs harder. They were worried about the effects this might have on their retirement plans and seniority. They tended to be the most cautious of change, and they required a different approach.”

The project team addressed the concerns of CDA staff members by correcting staff misperceptions. “CDA exists to make a difference in the copper industry. The goal of this process was to increase CDA’s ability to respond to the needs of our members and to the changes in our industry,” noted Kireta. “Every staff member needs to contribute to that. If we can’t constantly enhance our value to our members and our industry, we close our doors.”

So what was the hardest obstacle to overcome?

“Human nature,” stated Kireta, without hesitation. “You have to remember that people aren’t automatons. You have to be willing to let them express their fears and feelings and to respond appropriately. Some staff members didn’t correctly perceive the goal of this project initially. Once we were able to explain to them that this wasn’t intended as an exercise in firing people, but in making sure people have the support they need to promote the mission of the association and to succeed in their careers, we were able to move forward. Historically, CDA has been very reactive, so switching over to ‘think tank’ style strategic planning was a big change. What’s the ideal, and how do we get there?”

Kireta also noted the importance of support from the Board and members. “Your Board members can be your best friends in a project like this. They’ve all gone through similar processes at their own organizations, so they can share the wisdom of their experience.”

Kireta remarked that the biggest benefit to CDA has been a new focus on preparing people to move up within the organization. “Given the nature of what we do, there is a small pool of qualified candidates. CDA wants to become known as a quality place to work. Part of that involves developing the reputation of investing in staff, which enhances our ability to recruit people with the technical backgrounds we require. We now have a structured, objective way of providing top-quality professional development that will serve them well wherever their career path takes them.”

Additionally, members are now confident that everything the organization does has been examined from the perspective of, “How does this activity benefit our members and our industry?”

So does Kireta have any advice for organizations considering succession planning?

“Do it!” he exclaimed. “Even if you can’t convince your Board to spend the resources on your initial request – and the biggest expense is staff time – continue the pursuit and get it done. Lots of organizations talk a good game, but don’t follow through. Many profess, but few invest. Every organization needs to think about developing staff for the future. And it’s a continuous process. You can’t just do it once and be done with it. The thing about succession planning is that you may be a bit surprised at where you end up, but I promise you, it will be in a good place.”

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

26 September 2008

The Friday Top 5

Top 5 Things I Plan to Do When The Money Pit is no longer consuming all available financial resources.
  1. Buy a pair of shoes. Or two.
  2. Visit New Orleans.
  3. Go out to dinner.
  4. See an opera.
  5. Replace Harold the Hoopty with something a little more...stylin' (for my honey).

25 September 2008

Ready to Change the World?

Google wants to help. And fund your idea.

What are you waiting for? Submit your idea (they're due by October 20).

24 September 2008

I've been promoted!

From "friend of" to "contributor" on the A List Bloggers Network!


(Don't worry - I won't let it go to my head.)

What I'm Reading

This week, it's been mostly Professional Practices in Association Management, the Association Law Handbook, and the CAE Study Guide, as I've been facilitating the CAE Immersion Course for the I-can't-remember-how-many-ith time.

Speaking of, if you're thinking about getting the CAE, you have, sadly, missed the fall 2008 Immersion Course. I didn't take it myself, although I've been supporting it in my volunteer capacity for the past 4 1/2 years, but reports are that it's great (it also provides about a 10-15% lift in your chances of passing).

If you're thinking of taking the exam in May, make a note to yourself to take the February 2009 Immersion Course (February 23-25, 2009). However, if you're set on December, you're not completely out of luck.

The YAPstars have a virtual study group going that meets via conference call for the first time this Friday.

And I also invite candidates who are ASAE members to check out the SharePoint site the CAE Action Team put together and is supporting.

(I'm also just finishing up The Fifth Sacred Thing and reading the ESPN NFL Week 4 Power Rankings, which are being DOMINATED by the NFC East. As is only fitting.)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

19 September 2008

World Wide Web Foundation

Sir Tim Burners-Lee announces creation of the World Wide Web Foundation:
The World Wide Web Foundation seeks to advance One Web that is free and open, to expand the Web's capability and robustness, and to extend the Web's benefits to all people on the planet. The Web Foundation brings together business leaders, technology innovators, academia, government, NGOs, and experts in many fields to tackle challenges that, like the Web, are global in scale.
Some good news on a Friday!

Not too much posting early next week, as I'll be facilitating the biennial CAE Immersion Course at ASAE. Back @ ya Wednesday-Thursdayish (unless something really good comes up and can tear me away from my evening football blogging).

Shout out to fellow BF blogger Amy for the heads up.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Friday Top 5

Top 5 Tips for Navigating DC (a Guide for People Who Don't Live Here):
  1. Remember that the Capitol Building is the zero point.
  2. Know what quadrant you're in (NE, SE, NW, SW).
  3. Know what quadrant you want to get to (NE, SE, NW, SW).
  4. The state streets are absolutely the fastest, most direct way from A to B, because they break the rules of the grid.
  5. If you're not CERTAIN what you're doing, stay the hell off the state streets, because they break the rules of the grid.
Other than that, as long as you can count and know your alphabet, you're good to go!

Please Vote for Us!

Mads and I have proposed a Pecha Kucha session for the Nonprofit Technology Conference (run by N-TEN) next spring. They're using community votes to help them pick sessions (sort of like SxSW), so PLEASE vote for What's Your Learning Story? Thanks!

18 September 2008

MUSE Revisited: It's Not You, It's Me - Learning to Love Your AMS

Another post in my irregular but continuing series re-posting my articles from RSM McGladrey's MUSE enewsletter....

Remember how excited you were by the unlimited possibilities of your shiny new Association Management System? What would your staff say now? “We hate our AMS!” “It doesn’t do anything we want!” “We need a new system!”

Over my years in associations and as a consultant, I've see organizations switching away from systems that other organizations are switching to all the time. The secret is, many organizations don’t need a new system; the system they have would be sufficient to meet their needs. What they need is to use their existing AMS more efficiently and effectively to communicate with all their audiences and meet their constituents’ needs. Although this isn’t universally the case, sometimes it’s not the software – the software has become a scapegoat for internal dysfunction.

Assuming you’re not still using index cards and a ledger book, or a system that can only run on Windows for Workgroups, to track your constituents and their interactions with your organization, why do AMS installations fail? There are a host of reasons…

Lack of project management
“I know our IT guy manages our network, our firewall, our web server, our mail server, our database server, our VoIP server, our three file and print servers, desktops for 43 staff people, remote access for 4 staff people, and the peripherals to support all of the above all by himself, but he can run this project in his spare time, right?”
Lack of documented business practices
“We’re just like every other association – we have members, and sell books, and run some conferences. No big deal. Oh! Except we have international events, so I guess we’ll need multi-currency support. And we just launched this major fundraising campaign that will run over the next 5 years and include pledges and opportunities for planned giving and 27 separate endowed funds, each with its own rules. Oh, and we have this certification program that’s pretty complex…”
Lack of clarity about organizational needs
“We’re definitely not planning to run our annual meeting sponsorships through the new system.”

“We’re not?!?”
Excessive customization
“I know the new system includes 73 different membership reports, but I really need to duplicate this one particular, specific way of formatting the information. No, it actually never worked properly in the old system, but I need it! And can I get it in cornflower blue?"
Scope creep
“While we’re at it…”
Poor communication with staff
“The Steering Committee knows what’s going on. We don’t need to involve the line staff.”
Poor communication with the vendor
“We told you we have chapters! You should’ve known that we’d need new members automatically assigned to the correct chapter based on their ZIP code, and that chapter leaders would need to be able to be recognized by their logins to our member portal and then be able to generate current, new, prospective, and lapsed member lists online through self-service!"
Lack of executive sponsorship
“The senior management is behind you 100%. Unless things start going wrong or we have cost over-runs, in which case, you’re on your own.”
Competing priorities
“I know we just selected a new system, and we’ve agreed to a really aggressive implementation timeline with the vendor. But the marketing team was thinking this would be a great time to launch an entirely new product line that we want to track in the AMS and sell online.”
And even if the initial implementation goes well, things can fall apart later on…

Lack of ongoing training
“We don’t need training. OK, sure, the entire customer service staff has turned over since implementation was completed. But we know how our AMS works.”
Lack of distributed ownership of the system across the organization
“Oh, the AMS is the membership department’s responsibility (problem).”
Failure to inform staff about system capabilities
“I didn’t know ’30-60-90 Day Aged Receivables’ is a standard system report! I just went 10 rounds with the vendor creating a custom report!”
Lack of decision-maker attention to meeting new or changing business needs
“I just approved the education department’s new certification program, and they just signed a six-figure contract with this company they found to develop a custom certification module. Wait, what do you mean we’ll have to create a custom interface so members can track their certification status through our member portal? Is that going to cost more?"
Failure to plan post implementation phases and features
“The ‘parking lot’ filled up and we had to build a three story garage to hold all the outstanding issues.”
Insufficient level of effort
“This is a pain in the neck. I give up.”
Notice any commonalities? Most of these items come down to a lack of strategic vision, a lack of planning, or a lack of communication. And those three are inter-related: if you have no vision, you can’t create a plan, and if you don’t have a vision and a plan, there’s nothing to communicate.

Even the best, most fluid, most flawless implementations – even the best UPGRADES – involve an incredible amount of upheaval for an organization. Change is scary, particularly when that change is occurring to a product that nearly all staff members use, that records virtually every dollar that comes into the organization, and that drives an increasing percentage of constituent interaction with the organization. Without a strong, compelling vision of the future of your organization and how this big, scary change is going to help you achieve it, your staff members aren’t going to be willing to – much less excited about – go through the pain of getting there.

Even if you’ve created a fabulous dream of members interacting with each other and the organization freely and getting the information they want when and how they want it and of the automation of dull, repetitive tasks so that staff members can focus the majority of their time and energy on serving the members and fulfilling the mission of the organization, and your leadership and staff members are fully investing in realizing that dream, if you lack good planning and project management, it will remain a dream. AMS implementations are highly complex projects that involve people and resources from every department of your organization, multiple staff members from the chosen vendor, and most of your other technology vendors. And even when everything goes really smoothly, the process is going to take at least 6-9 months. Juggling all those competing needs, interests, schedules, and data over the better part of a year is not a job for the faint of heart.

Project management is the area where organizations most frequently skimp. It’s understandable – AMS implementations involve significant expenditures of money and time. Your staff is already going to be heavily involved, and hopefully the vendor you’ve chosen has a standard project management methodology, so why not just assign someone, usually from IT or membership, to run the project? That can work, assuming the staff person in question has an aptitude for managing complex projects and assuming many, if not most, of her or his normal responsibilities can be re-distributed for the duration of the implementation. It can, however, be valuable to hire a neutral, third party project manager. Some of the benefits that accrue to the organization include:
  • Ensuring that the project stays on time and on budget;
  • Maintaining focus on your core requirements;
  • Minimizing unnecessary customization;
  • Documenting your business processes and procedures;
  • Streamlining your business processes through capabilities of the new system; and
  • Leveraging the new system to achieve better work flow and business intelligence.
And finally, hiring a neutral project manager means you don’t have to be the bad cop, should it come to that. If the key to real estate is “location, location, location,” the key to vendor relationships is “communication, communication, communication.” An external project manager can get tough with your new AMS vendor or your staff without worrying about damaging the ongoing relationship. The overwhelming majority of association executives whose organizations have stayed with the same AMS vendor over a number of years credit the same thing: the vendor relationship is critical. Maintaining open lines of communication and a positive relationship with your vendor allows you to work together to meet the needs of your organization and membership. A poor or combative relationship with your AMS vendor can sour what looked like a successful implementation faster than almost any other single factor, and a strong relationship can allow you to work through many of issues above without changing systems.

There are a few additional tips that can help you maintain that happy “new AMS” feeling over the long term:

Document your business processes. Good software installations start with good business process documentation. Good upgrades necessitate good business process documentation. Good AMS utilizations that last across organizational change and staff turnover require updated business process documentation. If you don’t know what you do or how you do it, how can you tell whether your staff is using your software properly, or even if the software is working properly in the first place?

Reduce customization. The less you customize your software, the more likely you are to remain on a relatively trouble-free upgrade path, which means you don’t find yourself in a situation where support for your antiquated version is being phased out and an upgrade would be as painful and expensive as acquiring a new system.

Review what’s out there periodically. If you’ve maintained a positive relationship with your AMS vendor, you’ll be in a good position to make suggestions based on the capabilities being offered in the latest versions of other packages. That benefits your organization, as you can offer staff and members the latest in AMS functionality, and it benefits your vendor, as you help them remain cutting-edge in the AMS market.

Train your staff. And not just a week of training before your initial “go live” date. Training should be a component of every single staff person’s annual goals, and their managers need to be held responsible for making it happen.

Talk to your vendor! Remember, if you can keep a good relationship with your vendor, nearly everything else is fixable. And you can fall in love with your AMS all over again.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

TED Talks: The Paradox of Choice

Hat tip to Ali for pointing this out to me...

17 September 2008

What I'm Reading

  • The September/October 2008 issue of MIT's Technology Review (obviously, given recent posts).
  • The "Is ASAE (stand in for traditionally organized association) dying?" debate.
  • Michael Wilbon - you write some good columns during football season, knucklehead!
  • Re-reading The Fifth Sacred Thing, an old favorite.
Slow week, I know, but I've been busy watching football games and trying to get the content entered into our CMS to launch the refreshed BF.com (any day now....).

16 September 2008

Always the Last to Know - Many Eyes

Need to visualize some data?

Many Eyes is a bet on the power of human visual intelligence to find patterns. Our goal is to "democratize" visualization and to enable a new social kind of data analysis.

Check it out.

Good site....

Good organization. World Changing: Change Your Thinking.

More on the topic of using the power of social media to create change in real life.

Shout out to Mads for finding and blogging about this organization.

15 September 2008

SocNets and Sincerity

The Letter from Editor Jason Pontin in the latest edition of MIT's Technology Review is fantastic and prescient: Authenticity in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility: Do Social Technologies Make Us Less Sincere?

Pontin opens by quoting 18th century English poet Edward Young: "Born Originals, how comes it to Pass that we die Copies?"

Pontin goes on to discuss the idea of the constructed persona - i.e., the Person I Am Online versus The Person I Am.
"Social-media Jason Pontin, in short, is a function of my business life. I know that this identity is inauthentic, because there is so much about which I do not post or blog. Do other habitual users of social media, whose social identities are as carefully constructed to attract attention, but who blog and post about everything (and thus feel no alienation), not know that those identities are inauthentic?"
In the end, he comes out in favor of the continuing use of social technologies, even if they do produce less-than-authentic public personas.

But really, how much - other than means of distribution - has changed? Hasn't it always been the case that there's at least some separation between The Public Me and The Private Me? One would hope that a given individual strives for some level of internal consistency, and yes, some of the distinctions between public and private are collapsing, particularly for the generation of digital natives now entering the public sphere as adults. But does anybody, anywhere every really let it all hang out? And for that handful of over-exposed media "celebrities" and reality-show contestants who seem to lack any sense of boundaries, don't we mostly feel pity mixed with a sick fascination?

Anyway, go read the article and tell me what you think...

(you have to log in, but it's free to register for an account)

12 September 2008

The Friday Top 5

Top 5 Things I'm Going to Do While Jim is Out of Town on His Guys' Camping Weekend:
  1. Hit the gym. Hard.
  2. Watch one of my favorite chick flicks.
  3. Meet up with my posse for Ethiopian food.
  4. Make lasagna for the hungry hordes who will be watching football at my house Sunday afternoon.
  5. Try to ignore the trashed-while-in-the-process-of-being-fixed front of my house (see photo to the right).

A Brief History of Microblogging

More from the latest issue of MIT's awesome Technology Review. The graph above is cool, but doesn't do justice to article - go check it out! Also, you should really subscribe to TR. It is literally the most valuable, interesting publication I read on technology. I learn many, many things in each issue. And it's only $20.

Always the Last to Know - Xobni

Drowning in email? Can't keep track of what's where or who you were talking to about what? File structure gotten so complicated you're hoping the government is reading your email so they can at least help you find things?

Well, you could declare email bankruptcy, or you could take the less dramatic step of installing Xobni (that would be "inbox" backwards). It's a nifty Outlook plugin that can help your organize your (email) life. And it even links to LinkedIn. Lightning-fast search, tracking of full contact information, conversations, and file exchanges. It rocks. Oh yes, it rocks.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

11 September 2008

Google Ad Words for Smarties

What are Google Ad Words? What are Google Grants? Who's eligible? How can my organization use them?

I'm not going to answer these questions, but NTEN is, via a 5-part Webinar series that STARTS TODAY so GO REGISTER!

Sessions will include:
  • Setting Yourself Up For Success With AdWords (9/11/2008)
  • Optimizing Keywords in AdWords (9/19/2008)
  • Optimizing Ad Text in AdWords (9/26/2008)
  • Managing Multiple Campaigns (10/10/2008)
  • Evaluating AdWords Performance (10/17/2008)
And no, you don't have to do all of them.

Setting Technology Policies That Make Sense in a Web 2.0 World

On Tuesday, September 9, I had the opportunity to speak to the Potomac Employers Roundtable. A group of about 30 people, largely senior HR and Administration professionals from a wide range of organizations (PR consultancies, HR consultancies, nonprofits, and for profits) gathered in the board room of Williams & Mullen bright and early to discuss the role web 2.0 technologies can play in our organizations, and what implications they might have for office policy.

I opened the session by sharing the stories of some of my recent experiences around this topic and then talking about what differentiates Web 1.0 from Web 2.0 (short version: collaboration!), and some of the things Web 2.0 allows users to do:
  • Build their own sophisticated web content quickly and easily
  • Pull the information they want to themselves in the way they want it
  • Enjoy a more dynamic, collaborative online experience
We then had a spirited conversation about various Web 2.0 technologies – blogs, microblogs (aka Twitter), wikis, RSS, and SocNets (aka Facebook and LinkedIn) – with attendees weighing in with their own experiences, personal and professional, using them.

The focus then turned to the topic of the day: policy setting. A recent survey undertaken by FaceTime and New Diligence clearly illustrates the extent to which social networks have become embedded in the business environment. Over 93% of organizations have some level of social networking use on their network.

HR professionals have two major areas of policy concern: one, what restrictions, if any, do you place on your publics/audiences in using Web 2.0 technologies, and two, what restrictions, if any, do you place on your staff in using Web 2.0 technologies?

Externally, there is the persistent concern that someone will post something nutty and the organization will be sued. The best (and easiest) three techniques to ameliorate this risk are:
  • Work with your attorney to write a strong disclaimer
  • Let anyone read, but make people identify themselves before contributing
  • Let the community police itself
Another major concern is the issue of voice, or authenticity. Before you start thinking that your organization should launch a CEO blog, because, “Hey, everyone (aka “our competition”) is doing it, right? And we don’t want to be left behind!” think about who’s actually going to write it and what the process is going to be. Sure, if your CEO is going to commit to posting frequently, and she is going to write her posts herself, and she has something to say, go for it. If your “CEO” blog is actually going to be written by your marketing department, then run through PR, then vetted by your attorney, and THEN posted, forget it. People’s BS detectors are particularly strong online these days. Don't forget - authenticity is the new black.

Organizations also worry about a loss of control – of their image, of their information, of their brand, of the conversation. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but control is an illusion. Your image, your brand, your conversation is ALREADY shaped by your audience – you just don’t know about it. And until Web 2.0 brought that process out of people’s living rooms and onto the Internet, you had no way of participating, either. Now your constituents can participate in the creation of knowledge and you can participate authentically in their communities.

So let’s say someone does say something bad about your organization in a public (Internet) forum. Hey, he was already thinking it, and probably saying it to people he knows personally. But now you have the opportunity, as an authentic participant in that community, to address it publicly – politely, truthfully, gently, but publicly. You have the opportunity to stop misinformation before it spreads and to address someone’s problems or issues with your organization. You know what you call someone who has a problem with an organization that’s resolved quickly and well? A convert – an evangelist.

Internally, from the purely geek side, because these technologies run (with a few exceptions, i.e., IM and Twitter) completely on the web, organizations aren’t adding network security risk, although there is certainly a risk of bandwidth overload. Yes, you might have to increase your pipe. Or prohibit streaming audio and video. But there’s a lot of really useful stuff on YouTube and other vodcast sites these days, in addition to the monkey races, so you probably want to think pretty carefully before you block them.

But in the end, doesn’t it all come down to a fear that our staff members are going to waste time IMing their friends and updating their Facebook status, rather than working hard at their assigned tasks? Sure, but that’s a management issue, not a technology issue. If Bob is bored and unmotivated in his job, he’s going to goof off whether he has access to IM or not.

You always want to have a reason and a goal for launching into any of these technologies, not least of which because there are so many options people are already starting to experience social networking fatigue. But assuming you had a good business reason for permitting access to Facebook in the first place (and if you don’t, I can give you one – do a search for your company name or profession and see how many items turn up), don’t ban it just because Bob’s manager is doing a poor job. Don’t make technology a scapegoat for a management problem. And by the way? If you block Facebook, Bob’s just going to spend 20 out of every 60 minutes on a coffee break.

The thing is, the world is changing. The young people who are coming into our organizations as employees or customers have different experiences of and expectations about technology. The sharp distinctions many of us have made between work life and personal life, between “professional” me and “real” me, are collapsing. You want to attract and retain Millennials? Then you have to meet them where they live, and it’s not on fax machines and email.

Some resources:
Edited Friday, September 12 at 5:14 pm to add: Lizz Durante of Payroll Networks, the person who engaged me to speak, sent me another great article for the resource list from E-Commerce Times: Is Social Networking an Asset or Liability for Your Company? The answer comes down to, yes, as long as you're authentic. Told you it was the new black!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Always the Last to Know - Instructables

I was checking out the latest issue of MIT's Technology Review, which includes the annual TR35 - their top 35 innovators under 35 - and came across Eric Wilhelm, Instructables, and How To Start a Business. Way cool!

10 September 2008

LinkedIn versus Facebook

We all know the debate - LinkedIn is professional but not very functional. Facebook is really functional but totally unprofessional (how many sheep have you thrown today?)

Andy Steggles even references this in his vodcast about using the new ASAE membership directory:

But Guy Kawasaki rides to the rescue with 10 Ways to Use LinkedIn. And this was written before LinkedIn added the questions and groups functions, which means there are now TWELVE ways to use LinkedIn!

What I'm Reading

09 September 2008

Always the Last to Know - Circavie

Want to create cool interactive timelines? Circavie to the rescue!

Shout out to fellow BFWire blogger Marissa for the heads up.

08 September 2008

Thanks to You

I wrote an article for the September issue of Membership Developments on recognizing member volunteers. It just went live, so check it out.

Feel free to add your ideas and suggestions by adding a review to the article itself, or by editing the skeleton Associapeida entry that was created to go with (or by commenting here).

It's all about engagement, baby!

The Six Kinds of Free

Maddie post brilliant idea. You read. And comment!

06 September 2008

On this rainy Hurricane Hanna night

I'm missing New Orleans

05 September 2008

Embrace the Revolution!

Jeff De Cagna, association blogger, resident gadfly, and master of innovation, is working on another book, and he wants YOUR input on the content.

Take the survey! (by October 1, 2008)

Or follow the twitterstream.

Or both!

The Friday Top 5

Top 5 Great Things about September

I've Looked at RFPs from Both Sides Now...Part 2

I've just posted Part 2 of a two-part series on writing and responding to Requests for Proposals to BFWire. Part 1 is from the perspective of a potential client writing an RFP. Part 2 is from the perspective of a potential vendor writing a response. Go check 'em out and tell me what I got wrong.

Edited to add: there's a discussion about this very topic going on at Acronym as well, so check it out, too!

04 September 2008

Always the Last to Know - Web 2.0 BS Generator

The more times you hit it, the funnier it gets.


03 September 2008

What I'm Reading

02 September 2008

Tagged in the Changeblogging meme

Mads tagged me in this conversation that originated with Qui Diaz of Livingston Communications.

To quote Qui:
"Changebloggers, as defined by Britt Bravo, are 'people who are using their blog, podcast or vlog to raise awareness, build community, and/or facilitate readers/listeners/viewers’ taking action to make the world a better place.' These actions occur across nonprofits, government, corporations and the general civic sector."
Much like Maddie, I wonder if I really qualify as a changeblogger. We all know about ASAE's "Associations Advance America" slogan, but we also all know about plenty of associations that are doing "advance the interests of our own industry at the expense of everyone and everything else" work, too. I now work at a place that focuses on promoting the missions of moderate to progressive nonprofits online. But I have often wondered how much one person can do.

I was raised to give money and time to causes I believe in. My parents stressed that no matter how much my own resources might be strained, there are always people more in need. No matter how tight things have been for me personally (and in grad school, things were DAMN tight), I've always given at least small amounts of time and money away. Over the years, I've tended to focus on women's rights, LGBT rights, groups that help the poor, hungry, and homeless, animal protection groups, and arts organizations.

Several years ago, I had a bit of an epiphany. I was writing my monthly smallish (relatively speaking) check to a large international environmental protection organization. And I realized that my small contribution would barely register. At the same time, I realized that my beloved DC, land of taxation without representation, gets periodically screwed. Since all politics is ultimately local, I made the commitment to give only to organizations that directly serve my local community.

So even though I am well aware of the severity of global issues, I've chosen to focus on doing what I can to make my neighborhood and my city a better place for the people who live here. And I'll answer the questions below with that in mind:

What is one change - big or small, local or global - you want to see in your lifetime?
Congressional representation for the residents of Washington, DC

Who is already working this issue that you think others should support?
DC Vote, the DC Statehood Green Party, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Adrian Fenty, and Representative Tom Davis ( Republican, but a good guy who's unfortunately retiring at the end fo 2008).

How are you going to use your Web/tech/marcom skills to further this cause? (Or, what are you already doing that works?)
That's a good question. I've participated in all the marches and letter writing campaigns and I educate people outside the area about the situation whenever possible. But I think it's time to think about how I can put more of my "money" (resources) where my "mouth" (aka this post) is.

So who am I going to tag?
  • Hecate - a dear friend who's been changeblogging for a very long time, although she may not have thought to call it that
  • Lindy Dreyer - little voice, big ideas
  • the Beaconfire Bloggers - because we're all about changing the world, personally and professionally
  • And I'm going out on a limb and tagging Guy Kawasaki. I realize it's extraordinarily unlikely that he reads my blog, but he did name his blog How To Change The World, so I think he's asking for it.

Always the Last to Know - Google Chrome

Have you ever thought, "Why hasn't Google gotten into the browser game?" Now they have.

01 September 2008

Tracking Hurricane Gustav

Maddie has a great post with some of the Twitter resources. I wanted to add some of the blogs. Many of these were active in 2005 and were the only reliable way to get information about what was going on in the city and with the diaspora from Katrina.
Our thoughts and prayers are with New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast.