The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) hosts a phenomenal conference every year — the NTC. Attracting professionals, and lay leaders, from organizations both big and small (actually humongous international orgs as well as tiny local operations), from executive directors to IT staff and program professionals, it is a cornucopia of ideas, tools, strategies and do-gooding-ness. I go because I value the exposure to the best, brightness and most creative people in the field. I learn from the wider nonprofit field in order to bring these ideas, case studies and expertise back to the Jewish community. Over the last few years a few wonderful things have happened:
- A number of consultants, trainers and experts in the nonprofit technology field have started working, or are increasing the work that they are doing in the Jewish community. Partially this is due to wonderful people and firms discovering the potential and need within the Jewish community, and partially due to increased awareness of Jewish organizations that they can and should be tapping into expertise that isn’t only specifically within the Jewish community. Firms such as Big Duck and Idealware are among them, both collaborating with Darim Online (Big Duck worked with us on the AVI CHAI Technology Academy, and Idealware is co-publishing an upcoming Social Media Policy Workbook with us), and working directly with Jewish organizations.
- The number of Jewish professionals attending NTC has skyrocketed. Several years ago Brenda Gevertz from the Jewish Communal Service Association and I gathered the handful of attendees from Jewish organizations for lunch one day. The next year we occupied 2 tables and were spilling into a third. Last year we had over 70 representatives, and we are on our way to beat that number next week, even with the proximity to Passover.
- Darim Online has used NTC as a platform for convening — rather than design and host our own conference, we find it’s much easier (and more efficient, and higher quality and more diverse) to piggy back on the NTC to give our community the technology shot in the arm we so desperately need. Last year in collaboration with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and this year in collaboration with both the Schusterman and Jim Joseph Foundations, we are hosting both learning opportunities and social gatherings at NTC.
This year we’ll be gathering Wednesday April 4th form 3:30-5:00pm for learning about networks and how technology can support development and use of networks, and then celebrating and socializing with noshes and drinks at a happy hour from 5:00-7:30. The NTC is in San Francisco this year. The conference is sold out, but if you’re in the area and want to join us, we welcome you! Staff and lay leaders of Jewish organizations are welcome, as are Jews who are interested in technology but work for non-Jewish organizations. Sign up here. You can follow the NTC conference online this year (though unfortunately not our session), and follow the Jews at NTC on the hashtag #12ntcjews