Digital Storytelling Challenge Awardees Announced!

On October 21, we held our Digital Storytelling Challenge Awards Party here at TechSoup headquarters in San Francisco.

We screened highlights from the more than 100 video, image, and GoldMail submissions and celebrated the great work nonprofits and libraries are doing to tell their unique and important stories. These stories help convey the work they do, advance their missions, and highlight the communities they’re working within by giving a visual (and sometimes audio) story to help supporters connect with their mission and values.

If you missed the party, here’s the full line up of our awardees:

  • First Place: Kramden in 60 sec by the Kramden Institute awarded a Flip Video camera.
  • Second Place: Dragonfly Forest by Dragonfly Forest awarded Adobe Audition software and a Flickr Pro account
  • Third Place: Tabor Kalaka 2009 by The Community Foundation of Odorheiu Secuiesc awarded Adobe Production software.
  • Fourth Place: 30 Ways to Create Peace by Legacy International/Global Youth Village awarded a GoldMail Synergy account.

Honorable Mentions were awarded a Philips MP3 player:

  • MBYC Youtube edition by Mojave Basin Youth Corps
  • Faith in Practice TSDigs by Faith In Practice
  • Bridges Digital Storytelling by Bridges for Women

Thanks to all of the organizations and libraries who took part in the challenge by sharing their digital stories and a special thanks to our partners who supported the whole series of digital storytelling events and resources throughout the month. Learn more about the full series of resources here and join us in recognizing the support of these organizations in making it possible to highlight amazing digital stories from social benefit workers around the world:

  • Adobe
  • BAVC
  • Center for Digital Storytelling
  • Flickr
  • Flip Video
  • GoldMail
  • Lights. Camera. Help.
  • ReadyTalk
  • That’s Not Cool
  • See 3 Communications
  • Streetside Stories
  • Youth Radio
  • YouTube
  • Amoration (Second Life producer)

And special thanks to many staff and volunteers at TechSoup who had a hand in making the full Digital Storytelling Online Event a success!

Written by: Beth J. Bates

Join the Nonprofit Commons Track at the SLCC09

With the Second Life Community Convention (SLCC) fast approaching, August 13-16, we’re excited to roll-out the schedule for the Nonprofit Track to everyone! The Nonprofit Track is a set of workshops and presentations provided by nonprofits. Information provided will benefit not only nonprofits, but other organizations as well.

The official hash tags for the event are #NPSL and #SLCC09, so please be sure to use them in your tweets and blog posts to make it a little easier to track.

The SCHEDULE for the Nonprofit Commons Track is as follows:

Workshop: Inspire Engagement through Appearance and Branding: Making Clothes with Missions that Start Action and Stick.
Thursday, August 13, 12:00 noon to 2:00PM
Contact presenter Zinnia Zauber in SL, or email Renne at to find out what to bring to this workshop & to register. Handouts will be provided.

Workshop: Mixed Reality
Thursday, August 13, 3:30PM – 5:30PM
This 2 hour workshop about international mixed reality event production features some of SL’s best mixed reality producers in a hands-on conversation with Q&A.
Presenters Evonne Heyning (In Kenzo), Jeroen Frans (Frans Charming), Joyce Bettencourt (Rhiannon Chatnoir) and Joshua Stortz (Amulius Lioncourt).

TechSoup Global and NonProfit Commons: Lessons Learned and Success Stories
Friday, August 14th, 10:00AM- 11:00AM
Panelists Susan Tenby (Glitteractica Cookie), Megan Keane (Penguin Kuhn), Rebecca Wise (Jani Myriam), Gabrielle Knipper, Dick Dillon (Coughran Mayo) and Ricky Davis (Ricken Flow) will share success stories and the impact of nonprofit Second Life work.

Virtual Museums as K through Adult Learning Platforms
Friday, August, 14th, 3:30PM to 5:00PM
Panelists: Liza Loop (LizaJune Stoop in SL), Paul Doherty (Patio Plasma in SL), David Dexter (Ethelred Weatherwax in SL), Bob Ketner (Agent Heliosense in SL), Randi Kopp (Dusty Artaud in SL), Mary Miner (Doran Horngold in SL), Rebecca Singley (Rebekcca Zebendein in SL)

How to Create a Nonprofit (and Bring It Into Second Life)
Saturday, August 15th, 2:00PM – 3:00PM
Organizer: Ricky Davis (SL: Ricken Flow)

Transitions: A Place for Dreams – Collaboration and Networking in Virtual Worlds
Saturday, August 15th, 3:00PM – 4:00PM
Panelists Sandra Andrews (Ozma Malibu), Joyce Bettencourt (Rhiannon Chatnoir), Evonne Heyning (In Kenzo) and Buffy Bye (Buffy Beale).

Modality and Morality; Fundraising on the Frontier of the Metaverse.
Saturday, August 15th, 4:00PM – 5:00PM
Fleche Xeno (RL : Roger Lee).

Common Good – Common Goals – Common Ground – Effective Immersive Social Networking
Saturday, August 15th, 5:00PM – 6:00PM
Panelists: Coughran Mayo, Ethelred Weatherwax, and Zinnia Zauber.

Health and Support Track:

The healthcare track consists of a series of panels and workshops that highlight the activities and resources available within the virtual world of Second Life to help keep us healthy in real life.

Second Life Health Resources Tour and Challenges/Solutions to using SL for Healthcare (Workshop)
Thursday August 13 – 2:00PM – 3:30PM
Workshop Leader: Bri Gufler

Stories Without Borders™: Tapping the Healing Potential of Story Quests in Second Life (Workshop)
Friday August 14 – 11:00AM-1:00PM
Workshop Leaders: Jenaia Morane, Marty Snowpaw

Conducting a Clinical Study in Second Life
Friday August 14 – 2:00PM -3:30PM
Panel Members: Cooksbranch Chowderhead (Dr. Daniel Hoch), Filthy Fluno, Emmet Watkin

Health Outreach and Support in Second Life
Saturday August 15 – 10:00AM -11:30AM
Panel Members: Treasure Ballinger, Ricken Flow, Pathfinder Linden, Poppy Zabelin

Real Help from Virtual Worlds (Workshop)
Saturday August 15 – 11:30AM – 1:00PM
Workshop Leader: Coughran Mayo

Accessibility to and Benefits of Second Life
Sunday August 16 – 10:00AM -11:30AM
Panel Members: Gentle Heron, Louise Later, Pathfinder Linden, Charles Mountain, Saxet Uralia

The Virtual Helping Hands Team and Max the Virtual Guide Dog Demonstrate Accessibility (Workshop)
Sunday August 16 – 11:30AM-1:00PM
Workshop Leaders: Louise Later, Jolie1 Magic, Charles Mountain, Saxet Uralia

The Benefits Of Virtual Worlds For The Physically Disabled
Sunday, August 16, 1PM
James Larken Smith (Jameslarken Supply in SL)

Written by: Beth J. Bates

Is Measuring Business Success Different in Second Life Than in the Real World?

While I always consider Second Life such a different realm when it comes to business, I’m quickly learning that it’s not that different from real-life and can be assessed by real-life standards.

A recent blog post, “Measuring business success in virtual worlds is not different from business as usual” does a great job of comparing Second Life business assessment to real-life and even introduces the principle of the “balanced scoreboard” which has been a business analysis strategy for years.

How do you measure your business or organization’s success in Second Life?

Written by: Beth J. Bates

Purdue is Getting to “Business” in Second Life

This is a great article about how Purdue chose to embrace social networking within Second Life to assist students not only with connecting but also with learning.

“The Purdue Island was founded by the Purdue Professional Writing lab and Purdue Libraries” and is currently being used to support professional writing and business classes. Second Life has enabled students to put their business theories to the test in a “real” virtual environment. According to the article, the experience was met with mixed feelings by students, but has proven to be an exciting experiment.

Second Life has also been used for distance learning for students who may not see each other in real life, but can at least meet up in the virtual world.

Written by: Beth J. Bates

Job Accommodation Network Office Grand Opening!

Cool news and exciting grand opening!!!

The Job Accommodation Network will be hosting a grand opening event at our office on Health Commons on Monday, July 27 for the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

JAN will offer two scheduled tours of the office with a 10 minute overview of who JAN is, what JAN does, and what technical assistance JAN can provide related to the ADA. After the tours, a representative will be available to answer questions and provide follow-up materials.

Tours will be held at 7:30am and 11:30am SLT at the JAN office. If you can’t make one of our presentations, slides and transcripts will be made available to you.

Stop on by, find out who we are and what we do, and learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If you have any questions, please IM JAN Xomotron or JANLyssa Serenity, or send an email to

Written by: Beth J. Bates

Holding Corporate Meetings in Second Life

While impromptu meetings can be held in a public park or amphitheater in Second Life, Corporate meetings require a lot more planning and of course, the right venue.

The Second Life community blogs recently published a great post on conducting corporate meetings called Corporate Events and Meetings in Second Life which not only breaks down the process for organizing a meeting but also gives some folks who can help you pull it together.

Planning a meeting in SL may seem daunting, but with time, planning and a little expertise, your in-world meeting will be the talk of the water cooler.

Written by: Beth J. Bates

New Group for Alumni Who Want to Help Nonprofits Virtually

From Donna Johnson ’94 UIUC (aka Tuty Inkpen):

I am the founder of “Alumni in NPSL” which is a group for Second Life members who are now or plan to plug into the rich Nonprofit community of Second Life.

Second Life, and other virtual worlds, truly takes networking to a deeper level because it provides real-time chat and interactions.
Examples of those who are taking advantage of the wealth of opportunity afforded by SL include:

*major universities, including the UI’s Global Campus

*billion-dollar nonprofits like the MacArthur Foundation of Chicago

*major American and global government institutions

This group’s purpose is also to help those curious about 2nd Life to get a proper introduction and training in-world, because we understand that it can be intimidating at first.

Here is more information about this group “Alumni In NPSL”:

Facebook Group
Google Group

Please join us and learn how 3D networking can change, not just your life or business/nonprofit, but how it is already changing thousands of people’s lives for the better.

Written by: Beth J. Bates

More Nonprofit Commons in the Press – Preferred Family Healthcare

Network World has a recent article about our own Coughran Mayo (Dick Dillon) and his accomplishments in SL:

For the past two months, Preferred Family Healthcare Inc. has been running its own virtual islands on a private server where young adults who have spent some time in residential care can continue to receive counseling remotely using only a provided laptop and Internet connection. Read the full article.

Thanks to Ronnie Rhode for the info.! Congrats, Coughran!

Written by: Beth J. Bates