As we tip forward into a new year and #TSDIGS Digital Storytelling Event it’s a great time to celebrate what’s working in our virtual community, learn a few lessons and set intention for the coming year together. What were some of the highlights of our time together at NPC this past year?
1.Preferred Family Healthcare receives a grant for $865,000 for virtual addiction therapy services and PopSci features Coughran and Brena this month. Lesson learned: dream big and have metrics to back yourself up!
2.Virtual Haiti Relief teams raise thousands through virtual events in partnership with NPC and other charitable avatars. Lesson: build partnerships early, before disaster strikes, so you’re ready to leap into action together.
3.TechSoup trainings, webinars and events draw thousands of nonprofit leaders to learn about new platforms, tools and opportunities to grow. Lesson: keep providing easy opportunities to learn new tools and the community grows in appreciation.
4.NPCGames, a special working group for nonprofits interested in developing games, grew to include dozens of specialists working across sectors to grow causebuilding options for play. Lesson: Nonprofit leaders can be gamers too and we need both mindsets to develop meaningful play experiences.
5.GreenTech initiatives take hold in many organizations, reducing energy and resource costs while encouraging use of cloud and virtual platforms as an alternative to travel. Lesson: promoting efficient virtual teamwork helps reduce operation cost for some nonprofits.
6.Stories of Impact machinima videos joined our YouTube page featuring some of the best NPC leaders in action. Lesson: Telling stories through interactive media helps our community grow outside of the virtual world.
7.After four years of @techsoup weekly Friday meetings in Second Life we maxed out our sim with 99 guests to hear Lindens talk about bringing teens and adults together in the new mixed grid. Lesson: never underestimate how many people will appear when the right guest shows up!
Looking forward, how can we take our best assets and build stronger virtual communities for nonprofits?
1.Integrating youth and adults in one virtual place will allow for many new educational and volunteer opportunities along with a potential infusion of young energy
2.ReactionGrid, OSGrid and various open sims are available at low cost to nonprofits, making it accessible for organizations to own their own servers or create larger simulation experiences
3.Building bridges between worlds, hypergrid tours and cross-sector partnerships will be even more important as we connect beyond Nonprofit Commons in Second Life
4.Educational experiences, museums and nonprofits that create immersion experiences in virtual space will find participation growing, especially as user content is featured in galleries and exhibition halls around the world
5.Embracing young, saavy programmers who are excited to help their favorite causes will be the tipping point for many organizations looking to grow and try new endeavors
6.Invite more gamechangers and respected leaders from various sectors to help us open new doors, dream big and make new connections across the grids
7.Playfulness and fun storytelling elements connect people over time and grow a sticky network of engaged leaders. Be intentional about designing play that offers various ways to plug in and random people will find you and get involved!
So on this 1/11/11 it is our hope as the avatars of Nonprofit Commons that you are taking time to do something new, build a bridge and be the best you can be. Never settle for the status quo when you can be extraordinary – every avatar at NPC embodies this in some way and together we create a community that is unique in its resilience, a pillar in the ever-shifting 3D web world. Being that pillar requires all of us to live out the commitments we’ve made to our people, to volunteerism within NPC and to continually reach out beyond ourselves and represent alteratives to the rigidness of our real world. Each of us has learned to craft our own experience, choose our own adventure and share some piece of that through photos, machinima, blogs and tweets. Keep sharing and remember that we create this experience every day together and we choose how to make the most of it!
Special thanks to the leaders at Nonprofit Commons for their hard work along with Rik Riel, Rhiannon Chatnoir and Pathfinder for their amazing blog writing looking ahead to 2011 in virtual engagement.
Written by: InKenzo