Aspiration News

My Community Toolboxes--Nonprofit Operations Software Grouped Together

Aspiration's Social Source Commons tool maps out what software nonprofits are using and also gives users the ability to see what software their (our) friends and colleagues are using. A while ago I created a toolbox listing what software I use on a daily basis.

However, Social Source Commons just added a new feature called Community Toolboxes which allows users to group together similar tools. Because of this new feature I decided to create some community toolboxes:

Nonprofit Operations Manual Template

Today we tried to have a Nonprofit Ops brown bag lunch about creating an Nonprofit Operations Manual but no one showed up. I'm not sure if it is because this isn't an interesting topic or my poor advertising. Oh well--I did have quite a few people e-mail me and tell me they couldn't make it to the discussion and asked me to send them an Operations Manual template.

Penguin Day Austin

Event Date(s): 
April 28, 2007

Penguin Day Austin took place on April 28, 2007 in Austin, TX. Details of what went down are at austinpenguinday.org. Also see the wiki and agenda for the event.

Penguin Day Austin was co-organized by Aspiration, EFF-Austin, Polycot, and Gmeta.

Happy Administrative Professionals Week!

Hooray to all those hard working Admin/Operations/HR/IT/Finance staff within nonprofits. This is your week to celebrate and appreciate your role in the organization!

Why isn't there a holiday for program staff or executives--you say?

Because we as admin/operations/hr/finance staff do the grunt work that no one else likes to do!

Specifically, we:

Technology for the Arts

"Technology in the Arts 2007 is now seeking session proposals for their conference held on the Carnegie Mellon University campus in Pittsburgh, PA, from October 12-13. The conference hosts arts service organizations, performing, visual and presenting organizations from across the U.S., from the local to national levels.

Nonprofit Operations Brown Bag Lunch-Operations Manual

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007.  Join us for an interactive Nonprofit Operations Brown Bag Lunch discussion about best practices for creating and maintaining an Operations Manual.

An Overview of GIS for Nonprofits

During the past few months I've been learning a lot about GIS (mapping) software. I've also spoken to quite a few nonprofits who would like to use GIS software to map out their constituents and relevant data, but don't know what steps to take.

As the lone accidental techie at the SF Tech Center, I am no means an expert on this subject, however I thought I'd share what I'm learning about GIS for Nonprofits.

It's 990 Time!

Since our year end is December 31st, I'm currently working with our Accountant to file our 990 for 2006--which is due June 15th. It is rather fitting that while I was attending the West Coast Nonprofit Data Conference over the weekend, I learned about the Urban Institute's Electronic Filing Service for Nonprofits.

Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants #38-Nonprofit Management and Leadership

I'm hosting the blog carnival nonprofit consultants this week; however postings were few--possibly due to spring break? So, I decided to pull some great posts from other bloggers in the sector.

1. Ken Goldstein of the Nonprofit Consultant blog has a great post this week about the importance of having nonprofits using an emotional hook in a fundraising pitch and/or proposal.

The Nonprofit Sector is going to be fine

I admit it, I am a pretty optimistic person. I love what I do and I love working and studying about the nonprofit sector. However, lately I've become saddened by all the reports, weekly articles and blog posts about the looming leadership deficit in the nonprofit sector.

Enough is enough, I have an opinion in this matter! We are going to survive, the nonprofit sector is going to be alright. We've seen hardships before, we tend to work through a lot of crisises and there are actually leaders in the pipeline.

I am now rested after the Nonprofit Technology Conference

Wow! I attended the Nonprofit Technology Conference last week in DC and I have to say it is the most exhausting conference I attend all year. I think the exhaustion stems from the combination of attending great workshops during the day, then social events in the evening, and preparing for Aspiration's Penguin Day which occurs immediately following the NTC each year.

Penguin Day DC

Event Date(s): 
April 7, 2007

Penguin Day took place in Washington, DC, right after the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC). As at every Penguin Day, we explored the potential and the role of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in nonprofit organizations, in sessions designed to answer questions and curiosities!

Penguin Day DC took place Saturday, April 7th at Josephine Butler Parks Center

You can see the Penguin Day DC Agenda.

Penguin Day DC was organized by Aspiration, PICnet and NOSI.

What in the world is a Penguin Day?

Are you passionate or curious about the reality, the potential and the role of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in nonprofit organizations? Do you want to learn about latest free and open web publishing tools and technologies? Would you like to meet other like-minded and passionate participants, including developers, activists, and nonprofit "techies"?

Penguin Day DC will bring together nonprofit technology staff with free and open source software (FOSS) developers for a day of learning and conversation.

We'll explore and explain open source for nonprofits, frankly address the challenges of developing open source tools for nonprofits, and celebrate strengths and successes of open source in the nonprofit sector. Leading open source innovators in the nonprofit sector will share their stories and knowledge, and focus on answering your questions!

If you are curious about open source software for your nonprofit organization, Penguin Days are for you!

Register at www.penguinday.org

Who is organizing Penguin Day in DC?

Penguin Day DC is made possible with the help of Aspiration, PICnet and NOSI, local partners and YOU!

What will I take away from Penguin Day?

Penguin Day features a packed agenda of interactive workshops, round tables, and "SpeedGeeks." Topics include:

  • Introduction to Free and Open Source Software for Nonprofits
  • Local resources and who’s-who in the Free/Open Source community
  • Helping techies and non-techies communicate
  • Overview of Free and Open Source desktop applications
  • e-Advocacy platforms
  • Making sense of Free and Open Source Content Management Systems
  • Healthy and Sustainable Free and Open Source Communities
  • How Users Can Influence FOSS Development
  • Business Models for FOSS developers and providers
  • Content Management System (CMS) Crash Courses -- Plone, Joomla, and Drupal
  • Creative Commons and Open Content
  • SpeedGeeking (a lively tour of projects and tools)

What Are Others Saying About Penguin Days?

"I had a wonderful time at Penguin Day. It was one of the best IT related conferences I've been to. I'm definitely in a position to help my current and future non-profits with MUCH needed tools. I thank y'all on their behalf. Keep up the good work and positive energy." - Steve Garrison, SolarBoy.org

"Penguin Day was great - I had an excellent day - made new friends, put a lot of faces to email addresses, had a whole load of fun - and got introduced to some new applications and distributions! Thanks again to everyone who organised the day, ran sessions etc - it made my 4,500 mile trip worthwhile!" - Ian, from London, UK

"Penguin Days are a fantastic opportunity to get together with a wide variety of people and understand more about the issues that surround open source. Unlike a lot of conference/gatherings, the emphasis in these is on meeting people and making connections that you carry out of them room. And that works." - Marnie from San Francisco

"Now on to Penguin Day… Wow. For my part I was impressed by the international scope of the audience, folks from Great Britain, Canada, Kenya, Turkey, Ghana, Chicago and all points in between. The energy was great and the range of topics on the agenda meant there was something for everyone….suffice it to say Penguin Day set the mark against which all other events will be measured in my mind." - John from Chicago

Background

Since 2004, Penguin Days have been held in Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon; London, England; Toronto, Canada, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Texas and Seattle.

Hundreds of nonprofit staff, programmers, and activists have attended Penguin Days. Penguin Days feature humorous "SpeedGeeking" sessions (playfully modeled after speed-dating) to bring programmers and organizations together to learn more about each other and free and open source software.

The Penguin is the symbol adopted in the early days of Linux as the mascot of this growing software movement.

To register for an upcoming Penguin Day, go to www.penguinday.org.

About Aspiration: Aspiration, connects nonprofit organizations with software solutions that help them better carry out their work. We want nonprofit organizations to obtain and use the best software to maximize their effectiveness and impact so that they, in turn, can change the world. We identify what is available and what is missing in NGO software arena, and foster relationships, delivery systems, and sustainability strategies between NGOs around the world.

About PICnet: PICnet, empowers the missions of non-profits through the use of unique open source software solutions. PICnet moves beyond the nuts and bolts of technology, rising to find new and effective ways to assist organizations in meeting their goals.

About NOSI: NOSI was formed with three goals: to facilitate and encourage the use of free and open source software in the nonprofit sector, to bring nonprofit organizations together with free and open source developers and projects in ways that both can benefit, and to promote the understanding of the ways in which the fundamental values of each are similar.

How we created our Brochure

I am excited to announce that Aspiration just completed its first ever brochure!!

Ok, some of you may be wondering--why is it that we've been around for five years but didn't complete a brochure until now?

I don't want to give too many excuses other than we are unique and do the majority of our messaging electronically. However, we also wanted to be sure that we put the right messaging into our brochure.

Our tri-fold brochure is broken up into our three programs.

1. Our events--"We connect Nonprofit Technology Communities."

Emerging Leaders and the Nonprofit Congress

I just started participating in a working group with the Nonprofit Congress. There are about 20 of us representing various/random nonprofits organizations across the US. Our goal is to create a "program" in the loose sense of the word, to support the work that is already being done to engage and develop emerging leaders in the nonprofit sector.

Benefiting from CompassPoint

I recently learned that CompassPoint hired a new Executive Director--Jeanne Bell. I don't know Jeanne personally, but know of her because she wrote a book that I use all the time called, "Financial Leadership for Nonprofit Executives." I wish Jeanne the best of luck in her new position!

Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants

This week I'm hosting the blog Carnval of Nonprofit Consultants. Thanks for all who posted great advice that us nonprofits can really use! 

1. Jeff Brooks of the Donor Power Blog in his post explains how nonprofits need to ask donors what their (donor) interests are.

Fundraising for your Nonprofit

Aspiration's leadership team met a couple of days ago to discuss and update our fundraising strategy for the year. We divided the meeting into three fundraising strategy areas.

1. Individual Donors

2. Corporate Funding/Events Sponsorship

3. Foundation Funding

We are following a different strategy for each fundraising area. If you are new to fundraising or need a refresher course, here's a brief description of each fundraising area.

1. Individual Donors:

Find a Fiscal Sponsor Here!

Last night I facilitated, "Starting a Nonprofit" group at the Craigslist Foundation nonprofit night. As we were discussing fiscal sponsorship options for start-up organizations, I said, "there are very few organizations who provide fiscal sponsorship."

Please prove me wrong!

FLOSS Usability Sprint IV

Event Date(s): 
March 9, 2007 to March 11, 2007

Aspiration and Blue Oxen Associates co-hosted the fourth FLOSS Usability Sprint March 9-11, 2007. Once again, Google graciously hosted the event at their headquarters in Mountain View. Project participants included Firefox, Drupal, WiserEarth, and Aspiration's own Social Source Commons.

Event proceedings were tracked on the FLOSS Usability Wiki.

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