Webinar: Using Second Life to Collaborate and Connect

Date: Thu, May 13, 2010
and the
Time: 11:00 AM PDT

Some of you may have heard of Second Life before, while others may have not. Join us for an upcoming webinar that discusses the 3-D interactive environment of Second Life.

Basically, this webinar will demystify the use of Second Life for social good, and allow you to explore the benefits of using Second Life for nonprofits and libraries.

From the registration page:

Hear from Susan Tenby, Jessica Dally, and Renne Brock-Richmond who will:
• discuss best practices,
• give examples of how nonprofits and libraries are using Second Life,
• help you understand how your organization can utilize this powerful tool,
• create social change while collaborating within this innovative platform,
• and show you how to join our large community in the virtual world.

Go here to register for the Using Second Life to Collaborate and Connect Webinar:

You will be using this link to view the webinar, and you will be provided with telephone conference information so that you can hear the audio.

The second option for attending this webinar is the simulcast inside Second Life, so if you have never been inside Second Life, contact us at nonprofitcommons@techsoup.org and we will assist you in setting up an account and installing the software so that you may experience Second Life as you learn about it.

After you have set up your Second Life account and software, attend the webinar by clicking here: http://bit.ly/bq4leY and then allowing the link to launch Second Life for you.

Both options will give you the ability to listen to the speakers, view their slides, and ask questions.

If you have any questions about nonprofits in Second Life, post them for our presenters and they’ll address these: http://forums.techsoup.org/cs/forums/t/30342.aspx .

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Written by: Layal

Tracking Praise and Addressing Concerns

We’re always tracking what people are saying about us on the web, tracking praise, and learning from criticism, and letting people know we’re watching and listening.
I thought it would be good for the community to see how these things are addressed, so here is a recent response that I wrote to this blog:
New Political Documentary

My response:

We here at the Nonprofit Commons would like to inform you that we have a very diverse community consisting of worldwide nonprofits and their enthusiastic volunteers and supporters. Hence the various ways in which our tenants express themselves, by sending you objects as you tour our areas, and the various ways in which they present themselves in their offices and the common areas. 

We apologize that the streaming radio station in our networking party area was not to your liking. Our residents use the music and the monthly party in that area to attract people who may want to meet members of our community in an informal manner at a time other than the weekly meetings. People who work for nonprofits still need times where they can relax and get to know their community, and meet new people.  

As a humorous aside, its not my type of music either, so I listen to other radio stations when I attend the parties. But many of the members of the community seem to enjoy it, so it works out for all of us.

We can assure you that our tenants take their work for their nonprofits very seriously, and at least 40 to 60 people attend our weekly meetings. 
Our purpose here is to network, collaborate, and learn from each other. We also feature guest speakers from time to time. 

Everything that you see in our community was donated or built by a member or a supporter. If it did not have real world impact, no one would participate in it. Its sole purpose is to give everyone something to take back with them into the real world. There are also many people who utilize Second Life to overcome physical and geographical limitations as well. 

Here is a blog I wrote about the impact that working in the Nonprofit Commons, which is owned by TechSoup, had on me: Social Innovation Awards Blog

And here are our latest visitor statistics: 
Second Life in Numbers

You are more than welcome to attend one of our weekly meetings, which occurs at 8:30am SLT every Friday. There, you can meet the people who make this great community what it is, feel free to speak to any of them and ask them about what they do.

www.nonprofitcommons.org is our website, where you can read blogs about what is happening at the nonprofit commons and other nonprofit related events around Second Life. 

I really hope that you will visit once again, and learn more about us and what we do. I appreciate your criticism and we will examine your comments and see how we can make our sims more user friendly for visitors. 

Thank you, 

Layal Rabat

So, everyone, what do you think of the blog that was written, and what do you think of our response to it? Would you have handled it differently?

Let’s discuss!

Written by: Layal

Where we are on the web

We often get asked where people can find us, so here is an almost exhaustive list of the various places where we can be found. If you have any other suggestions, please add them as a comment and I will edit this blog.

Relevant Links:

TechSoup Global: http://www.techsoup.org

Presentations from the NPSL community about our work: http://www.slideshare.net/tag/npsl

Flickr photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/npsl/

NPSL tag on del.icio.us (blog articles, news, relevant links): http://del.icio.us/tag/npsl

Nonprofit Commons: http://www.nonprofitcommons.org

Wiki: http://npsl.wikispaces.com

Twitter: @npsl http://www.twitter.com/npsl

Google Group: http://groups.google.com/group/TechSoup-Second-Life

TechSoup: http://www.techsoup.org/tools/howtousetechsoup/

Facebook TechSoup Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/TechSoupGlobal

Facebook Nonprofit Commons Fan page: http://www.facebook.com/nonprofitcommons

LinkedIn TechSoup Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=39037&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr

LinkedIn Nonprofit Commons Sub-Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2112519&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr

Avatars United Nonprofit Commons Group: http://www.avatarsunited.com/groups/nonprofitcommons

TechSoup Second Life Google Group: http://groups.google.com/group/TechSoup-Second-Life

Weekly Networking Event: Wharf Ratz, Aloft every Tues., 8PM SLT: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Aloft%20Nonprofit%20Commons/162/236/2

Monthly Networking Event: The first Thurs. of every month, at Common
Ground, Plush, 5 -7PM SLT: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Plush%20Nonprofit%20Commons/128/220/26

Nonprofit Commons Calendar: http://bit.ly/2tMEYh

Written by: Layal

Susan Tenby on Game Changing Radio

Our very own Susan Tenby @suzboop was recently interviewed by Jim Love @therealjimlove , Allan Hoving @ahoving and Janet Fouts @jfouts as the featured guest of Game Changing.

#gamechanging #npsl were the Twitter hashtags.

Susan was asked about her role as the community manager of TechSoup and the Nonprofit Commons. She discussed how the networks are connected to each other. Susan also brought up the volunteering process in Second Life, and how the Nonprofit Commons maintains a community presence outside of Second Life as well, through multiple channels.

She also reminded everyone of the Nonprofit Technology Conference which you can follow by searching for #10NTC in Twitter. Many members of TechSoup and Nonprofit Commons will be attending.

Well, I could continue to talk about it, and ruin the show for you, but you should really have a listen yourself:
Episode 22: Susan Tenby from TechSoup

Written by: Layal

Vote for TechSoup in the Financial Times Social Innovation Awards

I am currently an about to graduate student completing my Masters in Social Justice and Human Rights degree. It has been almost a year since I joined the TechSoup community. I started as a student looking for an interesting internship in the area of nonprofits and technology, and ended up joining a strong community of amazing people. 

I’ve met people from all over the world whose talents encompass every area of nonprofits imaginable, and push the limits of the imagination as well. While many organizations are dipping their feet into technology, TechSoup has been carrying a flag for technology for years as they connect people with other people, and the software they need to help their clients. TechSoup’s innovative use of technology to not only facilitate global social networking, but create an environment where people feel truly connected by working with each other on events and projects. Everyone can get more out of it the more they participate in the many events and activities. I very quickly realized that for each event, we not only get to bask in its success, but also form closer friendships and partnerships with those we work with on those projects. I feel like everything I do with TechSoup and its Nonprofit Commons is a win win situation for everyone involved. The TechSoup forums are an invaluable place for Nonprofits to get expert eyes on the technology questions they need answered, and to contribute their knowledge as experts in their own fields.

We have a diverse community that encompasses the globe, and it has been an honor to be able to participate. The reason you should go to the Financial Times contest and vote for TechSoup is to bring more people to the community, and give TechSoup the place on the map that it deserves. Imagine the vast networks that we have now, and how much better it will be for everyone once they join.

After graduation I will enter the Nonprofit world with a huge network of people who have taught me so much, and I can teach as well. I’ve been managing the volunteers at the Nonprofit Commons for what will be a year this coming May. It has been an amazing experience working with the tenants of Nonprofit Commons in Second Life, and participating on the TechSoup forums. Even after my internship ended, I’ve stayed on to assist, as I see a tremendous value in the community in the impact I will make on the world, which is my goal in life, and in the experiences that I continuously have.

This is just the story of one person who has benefited greatly from being a part of TechSoup. And I know that there are many stories just like mine among you, so please show the community your appreciation by putting in your vote for us. It took TechSoup years to build a community of knowledge, networking, and collaboration for Nonprofits all over the world. It will only take you a second to go to this link and vote for us in the Financial Times Social Innovation Awards of 2010

Also, please Tweet the following:

Has TechSoup helped you? You can help them with a quick vote in this Financial Times contest. http://bit.ly/6rR5nC And please RT

Since this is only my story, I would like to share what someone else has said about TechSoup’s Nonprofit Commons:

Tell us How the NPC Community has helped your nonprofit organization achieve its mission or organizational goals in some way…

We are a very small local history museum with extremely limited facilities and resources. Our presence in the NonProfit Commons area of Second Life has provided three significant benefits.
1) It has provided us with space to experiment with exhibit ideas and develop prototypes.
2) It has provided us the opportunity to meet and network with other museum professionals around the world.
3) We have developed potential collaborative opportunities with non-museum organizations that we never knew existed.

–Dave Dexter
Neenah Historical Society
Neenah, Wisconsin USA

Written by: Layal

Facebook Webinar 10am Pacific time Thurs 03/11

I’m excited to tell you about this Facebook Webinar as I love joining the fan pages of NGOs to keep tabs on their news and how I can help them. If you’re a part of the Nonprofit Commons community, we have many upcoming opportunities for you to help us with greeting at one of these webinars, so let me know if you are interested by contacting nonprofitcommons(at)techsoup(dot)org! If you aren’t yet, then feel free to join the Techsoup.org group in Second Life.

If you’ve never been into Second Life, please feel free to sign up at SecondLife.com and then sign into it, and click on the link below to teleport to the correct location, and someone there will help you from there.

From Kami‘s Post:

“Is your nonprofit or library interested in using Facebook to interact with your constituencies and reach new audiences? Are you unsure of the best way to get started on this hugely popular social networking site?

Attend this free webinar next Thursday, March 11 at 10 a.m. Pacific time and hear social media consultant John Haydon walk through the essential steps to establishing and managing a successful Facebook presence for a nonprofit or library. He will provide several examples and be available to answer questions.”

Click here to register or follow the link after the webinar to access the recording. There, you can watch the slideshow and the webinar chat portion, and get phone access information.
Attend in Second Life at the Plush Nonprofit Commons amphitheater and participate in the SecondLife chat while you hang out with the Nonprofit Commons crowd.

To see who else is using Facebook, read and post to this discussion forum.

Written by: Layal

03/05/10 Meeting – SL Viewer Beta, SL Support Groups, Brain Candy, and Virtual Haiti

FRIDAY March 5th, 2010 8:30 AM SLT AGENDA

8:30-8:40 Introductions ‘Shout-Out’
8:40-8:45 Virtual Haiti Update – In Kenzo
8:45-9:00 Brain Candy Project – Jaywick Forcella
9:00-9:15   Support Groups in SL Project – Niko Linden
9:15-9:30 New SL Viewer Beta – Rik Riel
9:20-10:00 Open Mic

I’m very excited about tomorrow’s meeting! We’re having a lot of wonderful guests.

In Kenzo, will be speaking to us about Virtual Haiti Relief and give us an update about their efforts to raise funds for Haiti throughout Second Life.

Jaywick Forcella is a new tenant at NPC, and he will be speaking about his Brain Candy project, follow him on Twitter at @Braincandyproj I would tell you more about his organization, but I will allow him to speak for himself tomorrow, so be sure to join us!

Niko Linden will be here to speak about the Support Groups in SL project. Personally, I am very excited about the potential for having support groups inside Second Life. Through my work at the Nonprofit Commons, I have met diverse support groups. I think that Second Life is a great medium for support groups for several reasons:
– The protection of anonymity it can provide if one wishes it.
– The ability of those who do not have such a group within their own communities to get connected with the groups they seek.
-The potential for creating interactive support activities within SL, especially with the new viewer.

The mention of the Second Life Beta viewer brings me to our next guest, Rik Riel, with Global Kids, who you can follow at @globalkids .
I am very excited about the Beta Viewer, for many reasons:
-The ability to interact with web pages on a texture is revolutionary for SL.
-The new layout is really nice, love the gray on white graphics
-I’m still getting used to the new interface, although I find it pretty intuitive.
-The graphics pop out really well, I don’t know if they enhanced the graphics, or it is just the shiny new viewer.

I can’t wait for Rik to speak about it and tell us more!

Please join us at the meeting!
Teleport to Nonprofit Commons Plush Amphitheater at 8:30am SLT!

Written by: Layal

Nonprofit Technology Conference – Design a Networking Activity Competition

This is so awesome! TechSoup is having a networking activity competition and will pay part of the way to the Nonprofit Technology Conference. Deadline is March 5th, so put your activity planning skills to work!

Opportunity: Host a networking activity for your nonprofit tech colleagues

Where: NTC–the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, United States

When: April 8-10, 2010

Why: TechSoup is showcasing the skills in our community (your skills!)

What up to 3 people will win: In addition to providing support for your networking activity, TSG will pay the majority of your NTC costs within the U.S: NTC registration, 3 nights hotel, plus up to $700 in travel costs.

Proposals due: Friday, March 5, 2010 by 5:00 PST

Winners announced: Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More information here:

Written by: Layal

Haiti Nonprofit Commons Weekly Meeting of 02/26/2010

On Friday, the 26th of February, the crew at the Nonprofit Commons invited several speakers to share their perspectives on providing aid in Haiti.

Partners for Others representative RiverSong Garden said that “Partners for Others is committed to addressing the immediate needs of the poor and needy, and providing the tools which will empower them to meet their future needs.” In discussing their part in the relief efforts, she shared information about the logistical difficulties that her organization overcame in getting the much needed supplies to Haiti.

The port was destroyed as a result of the quake, and this made the delivery of supplies nearly impossible. But in the end, they managed to coordinate with their sister organization, Gleaners, and made arrangements to ship “185 Barrels which is 14,800 2.2 lb bags, that will make 2,250,000 cups of soup!!” She closed her talk by stating: “Many times in the media it’s been talked about that “long-term” assistance is needed even once the news stories stop…Partners for Others is committed to being supportive long term.”

The next speaker was Davey Macbain, who is one of the founders of Ushahidi, and Director of Technology Development. Ushahidi was a 2008 Netsquared winner . “Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, is the organization that I co-founded with a number of other Kenyans. It was born out of the turbulence that ripped apart the fabric of society in Kenya in January 2008, in the wake of a botched election. Ushahidi was a way to tell their stories when the media was silent or elsewhere. A means to tell the world what was happening.” He shared his passion for Ushahidi’s existence as an Open Source platform that can be easily utilized by anyone.

When the earthquake hit, Davey went on to say, he received a phone call from Patrick, who is one of Ushahidi’s staff members. They immediately went to work and had the haiti.ushahidi.com website up within half an hour. There have been 2000 reports placed into the system to date. Ushahidi’s network extends worldwide, and includes many developers, including the International Network of Crisis Mappers , which Ushahidi co-founded and launched in October of 2009.
It’s a group of about 200 people who are specialists in technology and humanitarian response. There is also a Crisis Mappers Google Group . On Jan 16th, with the help of dozens of people from multiple organizations, we launched an SMS short code in Haiti (4636). People could report emergency info and location by sending a text message to 4636 in Haiti. There is also an Ushahidi Haiti video

Jistis Southpaw from IJDH was the next speaker to share his organization’s story. “I am a human rights lawyer, based in Oregon, we have an affiliate in Haiti called the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux. We are coordinating a group called the Lawyers Earthquake Response Network, which allows lawyers outside of Haiti to pitch in to defend the legal rights of earthquake victims”
“We have 300 lawyers already, and lots of good projects getting off the ground. We are a small organization- 2 full-time and 2 part-time staff.” He also spoke about how they are seeking technological solutions for coordinating the efforts of all of those involved.

After the speakers were done, the floor was opened for questions:

In Kenzo:
“So how can we help you do your work better? That’s a question for all of our guest speakers today…”

RiverSong Garden:
“I think I would really appreciate knowing of contacts you have in Haiti…people we could assist and network with”

In Kenzo:
“how do each of you collaborate with groups on the ground when communications systems are jeopardized during crisis?”

Jistis Southpaw:
“Skype actually worked for us initially, better than phones. It seemed that the internet connections came up quicker than the mobile phones”

Davey Macbain:
“and yes Skype has worked wonders for us too actually during the crisis itself, we spent 18 hour days in Skype working with multiple teams, I should say ‘peak of the crisis’ because the crisis continues”

Jistis Southpaw:
“As for contacts- I’d be happy to recommend, let me know what type of groups you’d like to get in contact with. Back to communications- texting on mobile networks, and in some cases emailing, also worked faster than voice”

Ava Dougall:
“for each of your organizations, would you say that donations are the most useful form of support from individuals that you can access through virtual means?”

Jistis Southpaw:
“Yes, donations first. But circulating information and advice can be valuable too.”

Davey Macbain:
“for us it might be a little different – personally as director of tech at Ushahidi, volunteer developers would be a great way to help”

In Kenzo:
“Perhaps we can tweet out those volunteer requests with you @ushahidi”

Davey Macbain:
“we have a skype chat room too for devs – Ushahidi Skype

In Kenzo:
“Are there other ways we can help you here today?”

Penguin Kuhn:
“we use the #dyb for Donate Your Brain on Twitter for tech questions that need techies to help with”

Penguin Kuhn:
“and that would be perfect for tweeting volunteer requests #dyb”

In Kenzo:
“I know many of us are thinking ahead to the next crisis….and I’m sure we’ll be able to use tools like Ushahidi in other work in our local communities, as needs arise.”

RiverSong Garden:
“for us..donations are wonderful…but know the direct needs on the ground is very valuable :)”

Rhiannon Chatnoir:
“btw…Virtual Haiti Relief has raised 1,690,468 Lindens so far… so if you are at any of the events over the weekend, and want to donate to this…you can donate at any of the Virtual haiti Relief ribbon donation kiosks. we are pulling the location data from where the kiosks are.. so on the site you can see totals by sims based on where they are”

Information to help everyone connect to these great organizations:

Virtual Haiti Relief Information:
Twitter: @virtualhaiti
Hashtag: #virtualhaiti

Our Guest Speakers:

RiverSong Garden

Davey Macbain (David Kobia)
Twitter: @ushahidi
Ushahidi Haiti Participatory Map
International Network of Crisis Mappers
Crisis Mappers Google Group
Video: http://vimeo.com/9279815
Skype chatroom for Ushahidi developers

Jistis Southpaw (Brian Concannon)
Twitter: @IJDH
Email: brian@ijdh.org
Website is www.ijdh.org

TechSoup Links:

Community Forums at TechSoup
Discussion about mobile efforts to help Haiti
#dyb for Donate Your Brain on Twitter for tech questions that need techies to help with.

As an aside, our very own Penguin Kuhn had this announcement to make:
“In Kenzo, Glitter, Ninlil, and Kali will be handling my duties when I am gone, I will not be answering my emails for the month that I am gone, so please contact nonprofitcommons@techsoup.org if you need anything while I am gone and they will help you.

Malin Dahlstrom announced that all tenants are required to take this survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3YTDLHF. And our friends are visitors are invited to take it as well to help us improve.

Stay tuned for next week where we will have representatives from Linden Labs discussing the brand new Second Life viewer!

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Written by: Layal

Tech Awards Laureates

Many of us are hard at work day and night applying technological tools to help mankind. Some of us get acknowledged, others are working hard and just have not caught their break yet. If you know someone, and you want to help them get that break, there’s a great competition going on to select Tech Awards Laureates. You can nominate someone by going to their website here: http://www.techawards.org/nominate/

Their website says that you can nominate an organization or an individual, and they would be in the running for a $50,000 cash prize for each category!!

The people you nominate should be who respond to humanity’s most pressing problems by applying a technological solution. They must demonstrate that they have sought to profoundly improve the human condition.

You can nominate people for one the following categories:
-Economic Development

Nominations will be accepted through March, 31st, 2010.

We are a community of people that engage in this very thing on a daily basis, and all of us know a few people who rock at doing these things. So help these incredible people get the recognition they need by nominating them. Spread the word about the competition to all of your friends and let’s find those Tech Awards Laureates that remain undiscovered and bring them out into the spotlight.

Written by: Layal