Keynote from My Charity Connects Conference at NetChange Week | Beth's Blog

Keynote from My Charity Connects Conference at NetChange Week

Networked Nonprofit

Join me on June 21st from 1-2 PM PST for the virtual launch of The Networked Nonprofit.

Last week, I was in NYC to deliver a keynote with Allison Fine about our book, The Networked Nonprofit.   I stayed the weekend to travel to Toronto, to give a keynote on Monday morning at the My Charity Connects Conference.  My slides are above and my reflections are below.

An Impressive Week-Long Learning and Networking Event for Nonprofits

NetChange Week is an impressive event that explores the intersection between social technology and social change started a year ago.   It takes place at The MaRS Discovery Centre in downtown Toronto (a hub for science, technology and social entrepreneurs) and there are fourteen events, each with a unique focus and target audience.  The week is built in partnership with over 35 collaborators.

The Conversational Keynote:  Room Configuration Is Key

Room Layout is Important

I’m working on perfecting the conversational keynote.   A big consideration is the configuration of the physical space. The space where I gave my keynote in Toronto is well designed designed for conversational keynote format.  Seating was in round table eight, approximately 300 people.   The stage is was a simple riser no more than 8 inches off the ground  with multiple screens.   There was also a dream team of audio visual techs.   They outfitted me with wireless lavaliere mic.  We also had wireless hand mics in the audience.   This made it easy for me to get off the stage and wander into the audience to engage them in conversation.

Did You Know CH.O from CanadaHelps on Vimeo.

Right before I gave my keynote, My Charity Connects shared this video about why it is important for nonprofits to embrace online fundraising (and social media). I thought it was particularly well done. Then Own Charters the Executive Director of CanadaHelps introduced me.

Using Twitter To Research The Audience Before, During, and After

The audience was a mix of large institutions with small nonprofits, staff or volunteers who had hands-on responsibility for social media and board members and senior leadership.   So, I divided my talk into two broad themes: high level strategy and one the ground the practice. For the high level strategy, I shared a few themes from book, The Networked Nonprofit and invited everyone to the virtual launch on June 21st at 4-5 PM EST/1-2 PM PDT.  The conference had fast and reliable wifi and many had their laptops opened and were tweeting before the conference started – so I encouraged using Twitter as a back channel.

The conversational starter was “How much of a networked nonprofit is your organization?”  Several people raised stood up and said they worked for Networked Nonprofits.   These were all organizations that worked with younger people and youth activism or those just about to launch a new nonprofit.

While I did try as hard as possible to incorporate Canadian examples, I still had US examples.  I was worried about this and would have liked to had a pre-session chat with this participant:

mrbenjohnson: Too many US charities represented for @kanter‘s presentation? Not all concepts transfer… #ncwk

The second half of the talk was on practice.  Since Networked Nonprofits are experts using social media, what does this look like in practice. With the help of David Hood, we googled all the participants and checked out their web presence and social outposts. When I tell people that they might see themselves in the slide show, there is always nervous giggle. But I assure they will only be called out in a positive way!

Audience Feedback

The conference hashtag became a top trending topic keyword on Twitter in Canada during the keynote!  But, as a speaker to check the hashtag tweets, you get immediate feedback.  It also facilitates conversation with people who are not in the room.


Tweets from people not in the room

Here are a few main points of the second half of the presentation that resonated on the backchannel:

anilkanji: Social influence: should orgs measure reach or affinity? Quality wins over quantity – cultivate and foster a few real fans @kanter #ncwk
anilkanji: @kanter talks about #operaplot – sounds hilarious #ncwk
AllysonHewitt: @kanter – set up a listening system to actually engage in a conversation instead of just getting your message out #mcc #ncwk
saramcmillen:  What do we socialize first? We  plan it out – don’t just put it out on facebook!
anilkanji: In writing your social media policy & guidelines, build in answers for your org to “what’s the worst that could happen” @kanter #ncwk

dbarefoot: Great metaphor from @kanter for @foursquare and other location-based social networks: think of dogs and fire hydrants. #ncwk
deependzen: RT @saramcmillen: Don’t spend more time measuring SM than doing it! @kanter #mcc #ncwk
amandabella: Agree! @kanter: Spreadsheet aerobics – pick the right, select SM metrics and pay attention to only that #ncwk

Connecting with Canadian Social Media Folks

It was nice to meet Shawn Admed again in Toronto after sharing his story at Personal Democracy Forum last week.  He has since written a post about how nonprofits can engage with Free Agents.


uncultured: I’m looking to network with charities and orgs that aren’t fortresses (as @kanter puts it). Lets chat. #ncwk #mycharityconnects.

I was in Toronto for most of the day before flying back and had an opportunity to attend several sessions.  Darren Barefoot gave an amazing session on social media ROI, including a demo of Google Analytics Apps.  (Darren wrote “Friends with Benefits” which is a gem of a book about social media strategy and tactics.)   Kristin Beardsley gave a session about social media policy filled with practical tips.  (Her slides are available on the My Charity Connects slideshare account)

I also need to thank Lisa Torjman, Allyson Hewitt, Geraldine Cahill, Own Charters, Jane Zhang, and Zenia Wadhwani,  for all your hard work to make this a successful event.   I enjoyed my brief time in Toronto and connecting with charities, free agents, and NGOs in Canada!  I look forward to continuing the conversation.

Update:  Video

Net change Week 2010 – Beth Kanter keynote from MaRS Discovery District on Vimeo.

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7 Responses

  1. Claire says:

    I wasn’t able to be in the audience for MCC2010 but am thrilled to see the tweet from @UNICEFLive in the Slideshow. The person behind the twitter handle is Andrea Ramhit, Public Relations Coordinator, UNICEF Canada.

    Andrea was part of a panel I moderated to bring together the professionals behind three active & successful Canadian orgs on Twitter: @UNICEFLive, @WWFCanada, @SickKids. They all have different causes and discussed how they use twitter in different ways.

    We discovered that an interesting trait of all three panelists was that they all had extensive backgrounds in communications/journalism before taking ownership of their orgs’ Twitter feeds!

    The audio/slides for the Meet the Peeps who Tweet panel is on Vimeo here:

  2. Ben Johnson says:

    Hi Beth!

    I’d be glad to unpack my tweet. First off, I loved your presentation, and the entire group benefited from it. However, like I said, I’m always a bit hesitant to take in examples from US charities (or political orgs) success stories and statistics.

    Some basic differences in politics @pmharper vs. @BarackObama

    Volunteers who donate in the US give many times regular donors (it’s like 10 times) but it’s only something like 2 times in Canada.

    Lastly, I keep thinking, if I represent one of Canada’s biggest charities online, and I know many of the other organizations, and most of us are often in the same room, why do we need to go outside to find case studies?

    This leads me to wonder if the case studies are more likely outliers.

    Again, thanks for your presentation Beth and for always pointing us to best practices no matter where they’re to be found!

  3. Lisa says:


    I was wondering if there is a US version of the ‘Did You Know CH.O from CanadaHelps’ video with Us states on online giving.

    It is a great video and gives a very strong message. It would be great to have one with US stats as many organizations try to fight for online giving and promoting other social media within the organization.


  4. Darren says:

    Your keynote was great! And thanks for saying nice things.

  5. Darren says:

    Oh, also, I’m a co-author on “Friends with Benefits”. My business partner and better half, Julie Szabo, wrote the better half.

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