Remember when you were new to the NetSquared community? Was it hard to connect with the global network? That's why we're launching a new program, the NetSquared Welcoming Team. The goal is to improve the experience for everyone by strengthening our online community of organizers.
The NetSquared Welcoming Team will support new organizers as you join our Facebook group or Slack. The Welcoming Team be there to greet you, point you to our most useful resources, and connect you to your fellow organizers (especially those that are in the same region).
The welcoming team's term is six months, starting January 2019. Please join me in congratulating the first cohort and thanking them for their deep commitment to the Tech4Good community.
How healthy, happy, and engaged are the NetSquared organizers? After running a survey for four years I've learned that approximately 80% of members are "satisfied" and that 97% believe they will still be hosting events in six months (definitely untrue! The average term of a new organizer is 14 months!)
But the level of satisfaction percentage isn't granular enough for me to determine how TechSoup can make the NetSquared organizer experience better. The goal is to have more organizers (quantity) delivering better events (quality) over a longer duration (retention). But how do we build our ideal community?
NetSquared's fiscal year begins July 1, so every summer I look back at the previous year of the community's activity to identify trends and lessons learned. This time I'll be looking at FY18, which covers July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.
NetSquared is TechSoup’s global network of volunteer-led nonprofit technology meetups. We're the answer to the question “where can I get support to use technology effectively at my nonprofit?” Event attendees build their networks and learn practical technology skills to support their programs, marketing and fundraising.
NetSquared by the Numbers
Here's all the numbers for July 1, 2017 to June 30, 20178.
# of events: 1,119 (vs 888 previous year) ⬆26%
# of attendees: 11,529 (vs 8,652 previous year) ⬆28%
# of active groups: 120 (vs 105 previous year) ⬆14%
# of countries with active group: 41 (vs 34 previous year) ⬆21%
# of meetup.com members: 58,212 (vs 45,585 previous year) ⬆28%
# of new groups created: 30 (vs 35 previous year) ⬇14%
You like numbers? Here’s NetSquared’s April stats.
The most important metric for me is the number of active groups, because it demonstrates that a city has a hub for nonprofit techies to come together and learn from each other. That it’s up 38% year-over-year makes me very pleased.
Let's highlight the exertise of our members! May's suggested topic, the Technology Show and Tell, is my favorite event format because it's crowdsourced. That means you don't have to recruit a presenter. :-)
How does it work? Participants are given up to 5 minutes to share one tool that helps make them more productive. It can be a CRM, communication tool, fundraising platform, some social media magic-sauce or other clever web tool that helps further their mission, or get work done.
Examples include: Trello, Canva, screencasting, data visualization tools, pivot charts, etc. But your members will definitely surprise you with their demos!
I just returned from the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) in New Orleans and I'm still energized. I look forward to NTC every year – it's the only conference I attend religiously. With over 100 sessions it's the how nonprofit techies keep on top of emerging trends and best practices.
But I have to make a confession: in the seven years since I started attending I've sat through less than five sessions. Instead, I treat NTC like Thanksgiving and Christmas combined – an intense family reunion for the 2,000 squabbling/loving siblings who use tech for good. The sessions are interesting, but the real value comes from the relationships we build in the hallways and after-parties.
But I'd say that, wouldn't I? I'm a confirmed community evangelist, having served as a NetSquared co-organizer in Vancouver for the last nine years. I host miniature versions of NTC every month to provide nonprofits with hands-on help and a community of practice to share best practices. I'm convinced that the most effective way to support nonprofit's strategic use of technology is to get out of the way and have them teach each other.
I love it when hosting a NetSquared group helps one of our volunteers build local partnerships and grow their reputation as a #Tech4Good expert. NetSquared Conakry’s Boniface Lamah was just selected by Afrinic to organize their prestigious IPV6 training in Conakry in September 2018.
Being a NetSquared organizer gives our grassroots champions a platform to do more good!