Innovative initiatives ranged from Starlight Foundation’s Livewire project for kids living with an illness to the individual fundraising web pages of EveryDay Hero. The conference itself also used leading edge online tools to actively embrace those who couldn’t make it to the venue, including live blogging and Twitter feeds.
Now in its sixth year and conducted by Connecting Up Australia (CUA), the conference attracted almost 400 delegates and speakers from across Australia and New Zealand, as well as leading edge keynote speakers from the US.
Presenters ranging from the Managing Director of Microsoft Australia to Aboriginal health workers from the Northern Territory, spoke on diverse topics from Google’s web tools to using stories to develop a community website in New Zealand, from web philanthropy to Engineers Without Borders in the world’s trouble spots.
An unforgettable highlight was US keynote Allen ‘Gunner’ Gunn’s conference-wide ‘conga line’ dramatically (and hilariously) illustrating the breadth of opinion on key issues, such as ‘internet privacy doesn’t matter, so get over it’ and ‘non-profits who fail to fully embrace social media like Twitter and Facebook will cease to be relevant’.
Mark Pesce, from ABC’s ‘New Inventors’, summed up the challenge for traditional organisations trying to adapt to the new social media-driven ‘cloud’. “All of you have your own hierarchical organisations – because that’s how organisations have always been run. Yet each of you is surrounded by your own clouds: community organisations (both in the real world and online), bulletin boards, blogs, and all of the other Web 2.0 supports for the sharing of connectivity, information, knowledge and power.
“You are already halfway invested in the cloud, whether or not you realise it. And that’s also true for people you serve, your customers and clients.”
CUA CEO Doug Jacquier said there was no doubt now that not-for-profits understood that the charitable world has changed and they have to accommodate those changes. “Particularly pleasing this year was to see so many young people here, dedicated to getting their organisation on the online map and making an impact with low cost web strategies.
“We added a third day workshop on making videos on a shoestring budget, conducted by Jay Dedman and Ryanne Hodson from the US, and it was packed with people keen to gain the skills to get their organisation noticed via YouTube and other media outlets,” Jacquier said.
CUA conference manager Karen Gryst said ” What was great to see this year was the number of small to medium companies that have seen the market potential of the not-for-profit sector and have joined in not only as sponsors but as active participants.”
Third Sector acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands where we live, learn and work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.