NTC - Day 1
Submited by Rudi von Staden
The NTC started yesterday morning with a staggering 640 participants registered to attend. Although there is only a small number of international representatives, they are making their presence known at the conference! Mike McCurry, former White House press secretary and current chairman of Grassroots Enterprise opened with an interesting perspective on how technology and specifically the Internet is transforming public affairs and advocacy. The official program continued with three breakout sessions surrounding lunch.
The NTC participants come from three groupings of people – nonprofit management and program staff, internal nonprofit technology staff and external technology assistance providers. The breakout sessions that form the basis of the conference are each focused on one of these groupings of people. I attended sessions on evaluating technology projects, using the Internet to find volunteers and how organization mission, strategies and size should drive software selection. There were a total of 26 sessions in the day, all addressing technology issues within nonprofits.
The breakout sessions are very valuable, but the greatest significance of the conference is that it brings so many people together from different places, working on different projects but united in their vision for the nonprofit community. The Internet is a valuable resource with a wealth of information, but much of the value in that information lies dormant until it is discussed with other like-minded people. There are no technology tools that can replace this face-to-face interaction that happens at events like the NTC.
It amazes me how people from such different backgrounds, cultures and languages can be drawn together by a shared vision. It has been a privilege to meet so many people who are all talking about sharing, collaboration and how we can all work together for something greater than ourselves.