Holly and I hadn’t even left NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) last week before we were thinking about the implications of all we’d seen and heard for our favorite do-gooders.

It’s hard to sum up three packed days of learning, but these were the standouts for us.

Time is the most precious and limiting resource.

While nonprofits’ need for tools is not particularly surprising, NTC attendees were jonesing for tools that could save them time and boost productivity—in essence, tools that could help busy nonprofiteers clone themselves.

That said, it can sometimes feel like we are drowning in a sea of the wrong tools or suffering with tools not designed with nonprofits’ needs in mind. NTC attendees were looking for do-able, relevant, practical tools and NTC sessions delivered.

  • Idealware’s Nonprofit Social Media Policy Workbook can help your organization create a policy that can guide your entire staff and grow a social culture.
  • Connect to and hire hundreds or thousands of real people using Mechanical Turk and accomplish big jobs that can be broken up into small tasks, for just a little money.
  • More than a few heads turned our way during the Marketing Meet & Greet session as people discussed ways to manage editorial content for websites, newsletters, and social media. On their minds: LightBox Collaborative’s Editorial Calendar.
  • Devon Smith of ThreeSpot gave a fast-paced 5-minute Ignite presentation on 14 research and analysis tools for digital media, including If This Then That (ifttt), which has a lot of productivity potential.

Emotional and visual storytelling has folks excited – and bit overwhelmed.

Rally Illustration
Rally Illustration

You might recall that LightBox is a proponent of visual recording and facilitation, and other ways of bringing a little graphic fun to nonprofit communications. Visuals and data visualization were frequent topics throughout NTC.

  • The desks of many nonprofiteers will be strewn with napkins soon thanks to keynote speaker Dan Roam. He showed (and his book, Blah Blah Blah contains) methods for distilling ideas to their simplest form and then conveying them vividly, which combines the visual and the verbal.
  • Sponsor Rally created graphic notes of several NTC sessions, for those of us who aren’t ready to dive into the hyper-rich and very detailed collaboratively-created session notes.

NTEN’s community is filled with smart folks. 

Finally, it was great to meet so many people “IRL” (In Real Life) who I’d met only virtually and also to connect with my nonprofit network here in San Francisco and afar. Several smart folks have already started reflecting on and sharing their NTC learnings:

Looking forward to more reflections from others in the days and weeks to come.

Got a NTC recap to share? Let us know in the comments below!

(Image courtesy of Nonprofit Technology Network)

. . .
Lauren Girardin is LightBox Collaborative’s tactical curator. She’s looking forward to the 2013 NTC in Minneapolis, MN on April 11-13.