Monthly Archives: February 2012

Announcement: register now for webinars for NZ NGOs

Group of people in seminar with questioning looks on their faces by Melbourne WSG

For webmasters and other people running NGO websites in Wellington there is an abundance of ways to learn about the craft. As well as fairly regular NGO focused workshops, conferences and networking sessions, there is a whole raft of opportunities for professional website designers, content producers and others.

This is of course fabulous for organisations based here. But if you’re running a website for an NGO in Gisborne, Greymouth or further afield, I’m not aware of there being many opportunities to access training or to connect with peers.

Of course, there is plenty of written material available. This is great, but you can’t really enter into dialogue with a resource manual, nor make connections with others.

If you are really keen there’s nothing to stop people from getting up early to join in online presentations from USA, UK or other far-flung lands. The content may be great but connecting with others across time zones isn’t easy.

In my mind this I adds up to something of a gap, and an opportunity. And to steal a phrase, I’ve been thinking.

So, without further ado, I’m delighted to announce that next month I’m offering two online sessions for NGO website managers working in Aotearoa New Zealand. These two hour long webinars* will deliver some advice on keeping your website up-to-date and accessible to all visitors. You can find out more and register on the webinar series one page.

Webinar 1: Three ways to get insights into what your visitors want. Presenter: Stephen Blyth, Common Knowledge. 2pm Friday 23 March 2012.

Webinar 2: Learn how you can ensure all your visitors can access your website. Presenter: Mike Osborne, AccEase Ltd. 2pm Friday 30 March 2012.

Along the way I would love to hear your feedback. This will help the team running the sessions learn how things went. We want to know everything from time of day, price, content and any technical issues you face.

If there is demand I’ll look into running further sessions later in 2012.

As well as running a series for NGO website managers, I realise many people will want to explore how to use different tools to support the work of their organisation or network.

To help get you started I’m offering monthly drop-in session focused on running effective online meeting and webinars, what tools to use, and so on. You can come along to a casual session for an introduction, with plenty of time for questions.

At this stage, I am using the Citrix GoToMeeting/ GoToWebinar platform which TechSoup New Zealand is distributing to NGOs at a discounted rate for the first years subscription.

Find out more and register for an upcoming drop-in session. The first one is on 2pm Friday 13 April.

Now that the brochures are in the post and adverts online, I’ll have to wait to see if my hunch is right about NGO webmasters wanting to learn how they can improve the quality of their websites. I’m looking forward to seeing what people think.

* A webinar is an online presentation with opportunities for participants to ask questions and make comments. Or according to Webopedia a webinar is “Short for Web-based seminar, a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web. A key feature of a Webinar is its interactive elements — the ability to give, receive and discuss information.”

Update (4 April): Recordings, links and other resources are now available now.

Photo credit: Melbourne WSG

Roll up: a few ICT events for NGOs

Huge room filed with hundreds of tote bags for a conference, by NarisaIt’s one of those things that follow a predictable, immutable pattern. At the start of the year there’s a slew of new conferences and learning events sprouting up. 2012 is no different.

Now is the time to start getting organised. Some will take just a trip across town, others across the sea. Some permission, others an early start.

The highly regarded webstock juggernaut has just rolled by, so that’s one registration fee you don’t have to try to find. The sparks and fizzes from the week long webextravaganza are radiating out. You can see a trace of the shining light via the ultra busy #webstock twitter hastag.

I’m not sure if there will be webstock videos, as there have been in previous years, but you can find a record of sorts through collectively prepared, scrawly notes. Anyone attending could jot down impressions, quotes and diatribes on a set of unofficial, editable webstock Google Docs, kindly created by to Miramar Mike.

When writing this post I noted there are just 44 and 56 free tickets left to Connecting Communities events being held in Christchurch and Wellington beginning next week. The sessions cover a broad range of topics from cloud computing to social media. There is an emphasis on getting organised through ICT planning. If I don’t see you at either of the events, you can catch-up on my impressions on this blog.

Register at:

Connecting Communities, Christchurch, Wednesday 29 February 2012
Connecting Communities, Wellington, Monday 5 March 2012

Technology planning will be at the fore of a series of workshops being hosted by Connecting Up Australia in mid-March. Respected NGO technology trainer and advisor John Kenyon will run workshops on “Technology planning essentials for nonprofit leaders” in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Hobart. Registration fees are a slight $A130.

You can get a taste of the ground John Kenyon will cover by taking at look at recordings of recent online sessions he’s run for Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN). In November he ran a session “Strategic Planning and Budgeting for Technology” and last month I spent 90 minutes listening to his on “From Computers to the Cloud: Technology Essentials for Nonprofit Leaders” presenation. As the sessions are recorded, there’s no getting up early to sync with US time. Charges apply.

An event which starts at an ungodly hour, delivered over the internet is a mini version of the phenomenally big Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) that NTEN run every year. While there will be 1,700 people assembled at the San Francisco Hilton, 3-5 April 2012, a few folk will eavesdrop via an online version of the NTC. A selection of the talks are being offered as well as access to a super fancy dedicated conference social networking platform. No jetlag, no currency conversion hassles, just a matter of waking up at 3.30am for the opening session. Not sure if I’ll make it.

Once again the Connecting Up road show is slated to happen on 27 April in Wellington, 30 April in Auckland and 1-3 May in Sydney. Registrations for the Sydney Connecting Up 2012 event are open, with details of the New Zealand Connecting Up event coming soon.

The infectiously likable and zany Allen Gunn will be speaking again in Sydney. His participatory keynote was a highlight of the 2009 Connecting Up conference (see my blog post “Privacy concerns raised at Connecting Up 09 conference” and “So many ways to skin a cat” presentation, Connecting Up 09 conference”).

The one other event I can tentatively mention is one I will be definitely be getting up for. I’m adapting my Give your website TLC workshop for the computer screen. This will be offered along with another session as part of an online series for NGO website managers. Thee will be open to anyone interested from around Aotearoa. Details are due out next week.

Perhaps I’ll see you at one or other of these events: in person, or online?

Photo credit: Narisa

What I did on my holidays…. visiting community gardens in Otumeotai

Close-up of red sunflowers at Otumoetai Community Garden TaurangaQuite by accident when looking for lunch while on a rambling walk along the Otumoetai foreshore in Tauranga, Roz and I tripped over the fabulous, fecund Let’s get growing community gardens.

Sited in the Otumoetai Railway Reserve, the allotment style gardens are a vision of paradise on earth. You’ll have to look at the pics below to believe me when I say the sunflowers were already over four metres tall in early January. Smote was this Wellington gardener.

On returning from our walk I found the website for Let’s get growing. There is all the information I could wish for about the history, plenty of engaging photos and a Google map so I can find my way back. The level of detail is excellent for people wondering how it works, and for others involved in community gardens elsewhere to see how they run the space.

Of course, this visit is not the only thing captured on ‘film’ from our family’s summer vacation which now require my attention. An announcement at Roz and my civil union party inviting well-wishers to be part of a crowdsourcing approach to documenting the celebration has generated over 300 photos and a few hours of video.

In between the occasional sun in the Bay of Plenty and Wellington, I have started to get organised for 2012.

As promised, the Wellington NGO webmasters networking events will continue each month in 2012. The first one is on Tuesday 14 February.

At the Connecting Communities event in Christchurch, on 29 February, I’ll begin promoting some new services to help people run online meetings/ webinars for their organisations or networks. Quite a bit of prepare yet, so I can’t say too much just now. You’ll find more details about what I’m offering on this blog in early March, along with some of the things I learn as I go.

Next week I’ll be discussing with my colleagues at Family and Community Services how we go about sharing my work raising awareness of NGO ICT capacity building needs. Sharing a presenation I’ve cooked up is one idea, notwithstanding the lengthy title: “Why ICT matters for family support services and community organisations, and how to help people get better at using IT”.

Enough preambling, I hope you enjoy my visit to the Let’s get growing community garden as I did.

Technical note: the photos and (clumsy) video were shot using my Nokia E5 – designed to capture an impression, rather than being great photography. It’s taken me about 30 minutes to upload, sort, batch edit and share the pics.