Years ago, my not-for-profit tech community activities mainly consisted of teaching youth workers HTML (HTML4!).
By contrast, I’ve been involved in the following over the past year:
- Monthly NetSquared meetups, around various nptech issues (digital storytelling, SEO, online fundraising)
- Regular Social Media Surgeries, helping non-profits directly at venues in Salford, Manchester, Cumbria and MediaCity
- Three guest Q&A sessions in Manchester, with the Charity Technology Trust, Nominet Trust and Eventbrite
- Independently organised day-long (un)conferences in Blackpool and Liverpool – mixing speakers and self-organised workshops
- A national conference in London, held by Lasa
- A big huge conference in San Francisco, held by the Non-Profit Technology Network
- A tweetchat around “zero-expectation” community organising
- Hackdays via Young Rewired State and International Open Data Day
- ProBono support via Analysis Exchange
- Various Webinars, Google Hangouts and other remote channels
Alongside these, I’ve *nearly* managed to get along to the following – which all share a concern around nptech:
- BeGoodBeSocial events in Scotland
- nfptweetup – held in London
- 501 TechClubs – mainly in the USA
- Charity hack days such as GiveCamp and Random Hacks of Kindness
And then, more widely:
- Meetups such as TeaCamp and TeachMeet
- Short talk formats such as TEDx Manchester, Ignite Liverpool and BetaKultcha Leeds
- Local meetups, such as Open Data Manchester, Social Media Cafe Manchester and the WordPress User Group (to name but a few)
- “Bigger” events/festivals such as MozFest, WordCamp and OKFest
No doubt, I’ve probably missed a few…
Of course, this ecosystem of events, meetups, festivals, conferences and interactions take place because people organise them, and others show up. There isn’t a need to go in search of a winning formula or try to rationalise/aggregate. What I am interested in, is how people with these conversations and perspectives could be brought together for a short time – around the focus of nptech.
How do we best support and stimulate such a wide array of initiatives? How do we avoid unnecessary duplication? How do we best describe this to a grassroots organisation?
Different Events, Different Lenses
I’m thinking there are (at least) three different ways to think about these various formats:
Help <> Support
To what degree to the event format provide direct help to non-profits?
To what degree is the event aimed at supporting those already working in nfptech?
Regular <> One-off
Is the event something that takes places weekly/monthly/quarterly, or more of a one-off action (I’m unsure where an annual event sits!)?
Independent <> Franchised
Particularly at the local level – is the event part of a wider identifiable network of similar events? Or, is it independent in name and nature?
With this in mind, I propose a #FormatCamp for people interested in these issues to come together and swap stories and perspectives. It’d be useful to consider such things as Accessibility, Impact and Resources. It would also be useful to just get likeminds together and have a cup of tea!
Interested? What Next?
If you’re interested in the idea of shaping FormatCamp, then I’ve opened a public Google Doc for people to collaborate. Tentatively, I’m thinking:
- Overnigtht, at a youth hostel (ie: somewhere interesting and cheap!)
- Somewhere central (but *not* London…)
Please add your thoughts to the GDoc, and we can then arrange next steps…