This is the third part of a 3-part post. The first part covers collaboration on nonprofit technology, and the second part lists 9 questions to ask before starting a nonprofit technology project.

Whether you’re getting started in nonprofit technology, or you’ve already created a project that has the potential to grow, connecting with the larger nonprofit tech community can maximize the impact of your nonprofit tech efforts. When you connect to the larger community you can learn from other organizations and experts, contribute your knowledge and tools to the broader community, and target your resources to where they matter most.

Best of all, the nonprofit technology community is full of the most wonderful folks you could ever imagine meeting: warm, generous and brilliant people who care passionately about their communities and the world, and who have the insight (and geekiness) to embrace the technologies that support social innovation in a whole new way. I met many of my favourite people on the planet through the conferences and communities listed here, and they (we!) want to meet you, too.

There are lots of terrific sites that offer far more comprehensive guides, but the goal of this post is to highlight the outstanding conferences, sites and knowledge hubs that can help academics and others who are new to non-profit technology connect with others who are already working in the field. It’s a very North American list, so apologies to colleagues abroad — I’d love to add your suggestions to this list, or create a comparable list with an international focus.


The nptech tag is used widely by people working with nonprofit technology:


The Nonprofit Technology Conference is the annual conference of NTEN. It’s the largest annual gathering in North America for non-profit professionals working on tech challenges ranging from list management to backend systems to social media and web design. The next conference is in Atlanta on April 8-10 2010.

NetSquared is TechSoup’s annual conference for nonprofit tech innovators (full disclosure: we built the original NetSquared site); it happens each May in San Jose, California. The annual NetSquared Challenge highlights innovative project proposals and funds a few of these projects. The NetSquared site offers a blog about nonprofit tech innovation, profiles and case studies of innovative tech projects, and information about monthly Net Tuesday gatherings in cities all over the world.

Aspiration runs fantastic nonprofit tech trainings with a strong open source and developer orientation. Their annual nonprofit development summit (coming up November 18 & 19 in Oakland) is fantastic and a must for any developer who wants to learn or share insight about building software in the nonprofit sector.

Web of Change happens each September at the Hollyhock Institute, an absolutely glorious retreat centre on Cortes Island off the coast of British Columbia. It has a strong social change focus, and the beautiful setting and intimacy of the gathering means it fosters really deep and persistent bonds among conference participants.

Beth Kanter pointed me towards a more comprehensive collection of nonprofit tech conferences bookmarked on delicious.


Beth Kanter is the essential source for anyone interested in nonprofit social media. If you come within 100 miles of a nonprofit, or 1000 miles of a computer, you must read Beth’s blog. And be sure to check out her top ten blog posts. Britt Bravo tracks a huge range of grassroots and social change stories online.

Amy Sample Ward goes in-depth to cover nonprofit tech projects and innovations.

Marnie Webb, CEO of CompuMentor/TechSoup, is one of the most insightful people in nonprofit technology. If you check out the sites that Marnie bookmarks on her blog you have a shot at being about half as smart as she is.

Socialbrite is a blog about social media for social change. Contributors include Beth Kanter, Amy Sample Ward, Katrin Verclas and J.D. Lasica.

And I hope you’ll also check out the nptech how-to resources, reflections and cartoons on the Social Signal blog.


Social Media Today posted a list of 28 nonprofit bloggers on Twitter.

A much more comprehensive list of nonprofit tech Tweeters (that you can follow with one click!) was posted as a Twitter list by Rebecca Leaman

Beth Kanter has a list of lists of different types of nonprofits on Twitter.

More sites and resources

Idealware reviews nonprofit software.

MobileActive is a blog and resource directory on using mobile phones for social change.

TechSoup (the folks behind NetSquared offers a range of resources including:

  • TechSoup Stock provides nonprofits with discounted software like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop; they also offer a few hardware products. Thanks to generous donations from the software creators, TechSoup’s discounts are very very significant (for example, Photoshop is $90 instead of the usual $999!), and in some case products are even free.
  • a learning center that tackles the nuts and bolts of nonprofit technology, covering everything from funding sources to tech how-tos to lists of nonprofit tech consultants.
  • TechSoup Global offers resources (including software deals) to nonprofits worldwide.

NTEN offers resources and support including:

Social Source Commons encourages nonprofits to make a list of the tools they use. It’s a great way to figure out which tools are in wide use, and what might complement the tools that are already in your own toolbox.

Groundwire (formerly One Northwest) provides resources and services to social change organizations, especially in the environmental movement.

We Are Media is a starter kit for nonprofit social media created by Beth Kanter for NTen.

DotOrganize authored a widely-read report on the tech needs of social change organizers.