I'm slowly blogging the posts, videos, and photos that I captured last week along with some reflections.
For the past five years, I've coordinated the NTEN/NTC Day of Service and before that participated as a volunteer. This year, conference attendees hooked up with local volunteers to help out 34 local nonprofits, including the Center for Community Change, the Genocide Intervention Network, National Student Partnerships, and Wilderness Technology Alliance. Volunteers had the option to do a strategy consult and stay at the hotel or leave the building and go on-site.
The Day Before the Day of Service is always a crazy blur for me because I'm generally in the office our local partner, along with Cheryl Hanback, generating the last version of the check-in list, name tags, and materials. I'm even more of zoombie after the event because managing events takes a lot of adrelin. I could barely utter two words let alone blog about it. That's why I'm so happy to see the well-written article that Ali posted on the NTEN blog.
Although it was a little chaotic at the start of the event, it went off well. We had a few no-shows, but we were able to match up folks on spot to fill in the missing gaps. I heard good reviews from the volunteers and I'm hoping that we'll get some good feedback (both things that worked and didn't work) in the evaluation survey I'm working on right now. If you participated and are reading, you are also welcome to drop a comment to this post.
The strategy consult option was new this year, partly in response to people who wanted to participate, but didn't want to miss out on the afternoon affinity group sessions on Wednesday.
Here's some thoughts of improvement for next year:
- Must do a better job with data management. No more excel spreadsheets and cut and pasting from email. I'm feeling a case study coming on ...
- I think it might help to do some more vetting for the strategy consults and match the pairs in advance. Also, phone calls to local organizations prior to the event might help with no-show rate. A few strategy experts told me they would have liked to prepare or look at the organization's site.
- I'd like to see the software skills coaching include a broader array of software applications, although limiting it to very common software in use in nonprofits helps with making the event more streamlined. It might be nice to have some Penguin end-user skills coaching or blog coaching ...
Eric's magic eightball evaluation video was fun to make, but there was a point. I've been thinking a lot about the use of video as an evaluation or documentation tool. I was only able to interview volunteers. Ideally, I would have captured some video from the organizations as well.
Peter Deitz of First of Its Kind Network - Click to Play
Peter did a strategy consult with a local organization.
Susan Tenby and Karen Thomas of TechSoup - Click to Play
Susan and Karen were on a twenty-person team, led by John Nuno of Cisco, that worked with homeless clients in a community technology lab at the Wilderness Alliance.
Deborah Finn's thoughts here.