That's Allan Benamer who writes the Non-Profit Tech Blog
My mental image of him for a very long time was the painting of St. Augustine on his blog that goes along with his tagline, "Confessions of a Non-Profit IT Director." (Allan's blog isn't the only nonprofit technology blog to mix the themes of nonprofit technology and spirituality - take for example here and here.)
I especially get a kick out of his meebo (IM widget) "Confession Box." Sometimes I pop out of my RSS reader to leave a drive-by IM message on his meebo client just to be annoying. He's also on my "buddy list" for one of my too many IM clients (yet opportunity for distraction). He uses a red haired avatar, so that has been my mental image of him. That is, until he emailed the above photo to accompany this interview with him (see below).
While I don't always agree with Allan's opinions on everything he writes, I love his insightful analysis, sense of humor, and well researched articles. His blog is a valuable source in the nonprofit technology blogosphere!
1. Tell me a little about you:
I'm a Filipino American guy hailing out of New York, but originally from California. I've always wanted a nonprofit tech job and one of the first I had was as webmaster of the California Courts back in the mid 90s. I am currently the IT director for a medium-size non-profit with a budget hovering at $10 million dollars revenue a year.
2. Why do you blog?
The value of blogging for me was originally just to put my thoughts down somewhere and to not forget things. However, the value of networking and understanding what other people think about our sector and how tech works with it has become a much more valuable benefit.
3. Do you see blogging as a professional development opportunity?
Yes, but I hate to think of my blog as a professional development tool although I understand it can be one. It's not like I'm out there to make any money off this or to get job offers although that it happens. However, it is a little like a LinkedIn network but it works in a lot more subtle way. It's more personal than e-mail in many ways when someone takes the time to leave a comment for instance.
4. Do your work colleagues follow your blog?
My work colleagues don't really read blogs but they do get alerted if I write about something near and dear to their associates. I've gotten in "trouble" but all in all, we're fairly lenient in my org.
5. Does your organization have a blog?
Of course it would be. And we're going to implement something like that. I can already think of circumstances where it would have been tremendously useful if we had one.
6. How much time do you spend blogging?
I spend approximately 10 hours a week writing and researching for posts. I started to spend too much time browsing around for ideas and I found out that that was just a timewaster. I then encountered Marshall Kilpatrick's article about how he blogged and I went into that mode myself. I'm not in as much turbo mode as he was (after all I'm a part-time blogger). There are days when all I want to do is blog though and other days when I can't stand the sight of Wordpress' admin mode. So the work flow goes -- check for new comments, respond, check RSS feeds, decide whether to write about it, rinse cycle and repeat. I also like to play with stupid statistics crap. It's for stroking my ego and keeping me blogging. Quantcast, Google Analytics, HitTail are what I use but eventually I end up relying on server log stat software like AWStats.
7. What advice would you offer other folks who are staff at nonprofits and want to blog?
Don't ask for permission first, just do it. Then ask for permission once they find out. I know it sounds nuts but most people don't have blog policies and once you've demonstrated you're blogging a lot of people at your org will probably say, well, so and so wasn't totally irresponsible with his or her blog, maybe we should have one. And if you talk about things you know about because of the necessary work of entering the stream of conversation in your local blogosphere and things you write about on your blog all the better.
Beth's Note: I'm not sure, but I wonder if this is the blog post from Marshall Kirkpatrick that Allan refers to in the interview?
And, sometime I will even get the spelling of his name correct!!! :-)