Aspiration News

It's not about the grapes or lettuce.

The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people. Cesar Chavez

In honor of Cesar Chavez Day, I wanted to reflect on using technology for social change, especially since our 1st Central Valley training is coming up on April 6 in Fresno, "Starting your Nonprofit on Social Media."

Starting Your Nonprofit on Social Media - Fresno

Event Date(s): 
April 6, 2011

We continued our Central Valley eAdvocacy Capacity Building Program with a training in Fresno, CA on Wed, April 6 from 12:30 to 4:30 pm. This collaborative and hands on training provided nonprofits a better understanding of how to start using social media, like Twitter, Facebook, or blogging, for their organization.

The following are the materials used during the training.

These materials are distributed under a Creative Commons license, and we encourage re-use, modification, and re-distribution in any situation where they may be useful.

The Central Valley eAdvocacy Program is generously funded by the California Consumer Protection Foundation. Special thanks to the Center for Multicultural Cooperation for coordinating the event space and providing interests of the Central Valley.

Sign up for the Central Valley Mailing List to get training announcements directly to your inbox.

Questions? Email

Free Services

Aspiration provides a number of free services to nonprofits, activists and foundations. The following is an overview of our free service offerings.

Contact us for more information.

Technology Price Checks and Quickie Proposal Reviews

One of the most disempowering things about doing nonprofit tech is not knowing. Not knowing what things should cost, or how they should be implemented or specified, or who to even ask about such things.

Mozilla Drumbeat Open Science Hackfest Beijing

Event Date(s): 
March 23, 2011 to March 25, 2011

We are excited to be co-piloting a new open hackfest model with Mozilla as part of Drumbeat, with an initial focus on science-related projects. We're planning to pilot the process in Beijing, China at the end of March, and then in Brazil in May.

Check out the even pages in English and Chinese.

Allen Gunn - Biography

Allen Gunn, Executive Director of AspirationAllen Gunn is Executive Director of Aspiration ( in San Francisco, USA, and works to help NGOs, activists, foundations and software developers make more effective use of technology for social change.

Penguin Day DC 2011

Event Date(s): 
March 20, 2011

Learn about Free and Open Source for nonprofits!

Penguin Day returned to Washington DC right after the 2011 NTC. We got to collaborate with lots of friends, old and new alike at the Josephine Butler Parks Center.

Penguin Days are designed to let nonprofits and social justice activists learn about free and open source software that can support their work and potentially save them money, including tools for web publishing, fundraising, blogging, and campaigning.

Sessions included...

  • Introduction to Free and Open Source Software
  • Making sense of Free and Open Source Content Management Systems
  • Participating in Free and Open Source Communities
  • Introduction to Blogging with Wordpress
  • Introduction to Free and Open Source Desktop Applications
  • Free Culture, Creative Commons And Open Content
  • Managing Constituents with CiviCRM
  • Mozilla Drumbeat and the Open Web


p>Penguin Day DC 2011 was organized by Aspiration and PICnet.

It was a great day and we hope to see lots of you at the next one!

PrivacyCamp Toronto 2011

Event Date(s): 
March 19, 2011

We are looking forward to facilitating PrivacyCamp Toronto on 19 March, as part of our ongoing Mozilla Drumbeat work. We hope to see lots our northern friends and allies there!

You can check out the draft agenda and Register Now.

Driving Down the 99S California

Yesterday, we continued the Central Valley eAdvocacy program with an awesome road trip down the 99 South to Fresno in the Aspiration roadie van.

Aspiration Paper -- Creating Participatory Events

Aspiration has organized and facilitated almost 500 interactive and collaborative events in more than 40 countries across the globe. Our event practice is focused on knowledge sharing in support of nonprofits and activists applying technology for social change, and draws on our unique, road-tested Aspiration facilitation methodology.

San Francisco Interactive Media Summit 2011

Event Date(s): 
March 5, 2011

We're excited to be partnering with Department of Media Studies at the University of San Francisco for SF-IM Summit 2011, aka “New Tools for the Public Good” On Saturday, March 5, 2011, from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM.

The Aspiration team will facilitate sessions that include “Facebook and Twitter 101”, "Intro to blogging", "Beginning and Intermediate WordPress”, “Listening Online with a Social Media Dashboard”, “Managing Online Channels with a Publishing Matrix”, and “How to Build a Good Nonprofit Web Site for Almost Nothing.”

Register Now!

The theme of SF-IM is using social media and other emerging technologies for the public good. Sessions will feature opportunities for discussion and hands-on learning. Importantly, the focus of SF-IM is on peer-to-peer learning and conversation, not tech-talk and PowerPoints. SF-IM’s programming is ideal for anyone interested the public possibilities of the emerging media technologies, and is suitable for a wide range of abilities, from beginner to advanced.

Check out the Full Agenda and Register Now! Sliding scale and fee waivers are available, just contact us.


Hi, I'm Misty Avila. Welcome to the Central Valley blog! I'm starting this blog to tell the tale of expanding Aspiration's eAdvocacy capacity building program to the Central Valley. We can share ideas, reveal nonprofit tech goodies, ask questions, or just chat about the Tule Fog that blankets the Valley.

Once upon a time,

TechSoup Global Contributors Summit

Event Date(s): 
February 15, 2011 to February 17, 2011

Big thanks and love bombs to TechSoup Global for inviting us to design and run their 2011 Contributors' Summit earlier this month. The event brought together an amazing bunch of folks from over 40 countries, for collaborative discussions on topics ranging from disaster response and accessibility to cloud computing and the future of philanthropy.

Check out the Agenda and session notes and pictures from the event, as well as Day 1 and Day 2 blog posts from the amazing Beth Kanter.

RFP Round Table

Event Date(s): 
February 8, 2011

February 8th, 2011 2pm-4pm

The "Request for Proposal", or RFP, is a critical element of any well-executed technology project that involves soliciting the services of external vendors and solution providers. But the concept of RFPs can be daunting to those who have not authored one, and even for those who understand the importance, many nonprofits are confused about how to write one, and what to include.

This interactive workshop will invite participants to share their knowledge and organizational practices with RFPs, and hear how others manage the same. In addition, Aspiration will demonstrate the templates and processes we use for the "RFP Coaching" that we provide to nonprofits when they need to solicit bids for web sites or other technology projects. Come with your stories and your questions, and be prepared to share both!

Register Here:

Aspiration eAdvocacy and Social Media Capacity Building Program

Aspiration has developed an eAdvocacy and social media capacity building program for grassroots nonprofits and we're offering trainings all over California and beyond!

Funded by California Consumer Protection Foundation and the ZeroDivide Foundation, the program seeks to demystify the fast-evolving world of online campaigning and social media by explaining how to integrate internet tools into existing organizational campaigns and programs.

The program has three distinct delivery components:


It was a blast to be in Berlin at the start of February participating in Transmediale.11 with great friends from Mozilla Drumbeat and FLOSSManuals.

Aspiration Welcomes Misty Avila as eAdvocacy Program Coordinator


Misty Avila joins Aspiration as our eAdvocacy Program Coordinator. Misty will be taking our eAdvocacy Capacity Building Program into California's Central Valley. This will include leading trainings, developing materials and serving as the network hub for those looking for Aspiration's eAdvocacy work in the Central Valley.

Building a Social Media Dashboard

Event Date(s): 
February 2, 2011

February 2nd, 2011 2pm-4pm

Many nonprofits have no idea how their online messages are propagating and what is being said about them online. This hands-on, learner-driven event allowed participants to set up their own "listening dashboard" where they can track the impact of their online communication efforts (websites, blogs, Twitter, and more), while also tracking issues pertinent to their organization, all from a single free online space. Participants used the free Netvibes tool to create their dashboards.

The following are the materials used during the training.

These materials are distributed under a Creative Commons license, and we encourage re-use, modification, and re-distribution in any situation where they may be useful.

Protecting Your Nonprofit's Online Identity

Event Date(s): 
January 21, 2011

January 21st, 2011 2pm - 4pm

The advent of the internet and the emergence of "cloud" computing have slowly but surely created new categories of institutional vulnerabilities for nonprofit organizations over the past 15 years. From ownership of domains and hosting of web sites, to safeguarding remotely stored data, to managing virtual relationships, there exit best practices for security and sustainability that are understood by far too few nonprofits.

This workshop will provide an overview of considerations in managing organizational online identity, and demonstrate processes, best practices and rules of thumb for effectively safeguarding and protecting the virtual side of your nonprofit organization.

Register Here:

Coordinating Online Communications Channels with a Publishing Matrix

Event Date(s): 
January 14, 2011

January 14th, 2011 2pm-4pm

As options for online engagement proliferate, many nonprofits find it confusing to manage and effectively coordinate organizational messages and campaigns. This training gave nonprofits who are starting out in social media and online communications a framework in which to look at different communications channels as effective for organizational goals. In this hands-on workshop, participants put together actual tools that they can use as an organization to inform and structure processes surrounding how, when and why to use the mind-numbing plethora of social media outlets, blogs and communications channels.

This training also gave participants a structure in which to think of these channels so that it is no longer a huge array of strangely-named tools to learn. Rather, a selection of tools for an organization to choose from to achieve broader organizational goals.

The following are the materials used during the training.

These materials are distributed under a Creative Commons license, and we encourage re-use, modification, and re-distribution in any situation where they may be useful

Code For America 2011 Planning Sprint

Event Date(s): 
January 7, 2011

We got to stay in our own neck of the San Francisco woods to design and facilitate Code for America's first-ever all-hands planning and strategy meeting. The fact that we got to co-conspire with our fine friend and inspiration David Eaves and open democracy thinker Tim Oreilly made it all the more excellent.

The day brought together CfA Staff and Board with 24 incoming Fellows who will be working Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, DC. Meeting together for the first time as a whole team, and this event focused on planning and strategizing for 2011 by collaboratively sharing knowledge and mapping knowns, unknowns and project priorities.

We're excited to see where the Code for America project leads, and we wish them the very best as they set out to change the way municipal governments do both technology and democracy.


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