Day of (Micro) Service

One of the things I've always enjoyed about NTC (the Circuit Rider Roundup as it was called before that) was the Day of Service. It was a great opportunity to work with organizations I wouldn't get to work with normally, and, sometimes, to stretch myself a bit. It's a chance also, for a local group of organizations to benefit from the influx of nonprofit technology types coming into their locale.

So, once I had decided to go to NTC, I automatically signed up for the Day of Service. I was looking forward to it.

Then, the day came when the list of projects that one could get involved with came out - and each and every one of them involved a Microsoft product - whether it was a Windows network, training in Excel or the like. The one non-Windows project was MS Office training for the Mac!

No generic technology planning, no database planning, no open source, no internet or web anything (1.0 or 2.0). And, since I don't do Windows, and haven't used MS Office for the Mac in a while (and don't have it installed on my machine - so I couldn't even do a brush up,) I don't get to be involved in Day of Service. I know this isn't even representative of what nonprofits are dealing with right now. Sure, most of them depend on Windows and MS Office, but they have other wide ranging needs, like database planning, web sites, etc.

This post, perhaps fits in the "gripe" category, although I hope that no one will take this personally. This is especially not meant as a jab at Beth Kanter, the wonderful nptech blogger and all around guru, who's been running Day of Service forever, and does a great job with managing it, and herding the cats known as nptech folk. I know that she and a lot of people would want a more broad set of projects available. Perhaps next year?

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It's hard to balance the needs of the volunteers and the needs of local nonprofits into projects that can be successfully completed in a day in the space of a few hours!

I wonder if there would ever be a need from local nonprofits for a Day of Service that offered Web2.0 skills coaching? Several years ago, Ethan Zuckerman had organization/project called "Blogger corps" that had bloggers mentor nonprofit and grassroots organizations in blogging.

I can understand how balancing the needs of orgs and volunteers is hard - but it would be great to see a much more broad range of organizational tech needs addressed during day of service.

As to Web2.0 skills coaching? That would be great - I think that it would be a new thing for many orgs, and would help others get a leg up on their next steps in that direction.

Hey Michelle -

I hear what you're saying! And I echo Beth's comments. With our limited resources, and our limited time, we're trying to do what we think can have the most (positive) impact. Maybe next year we can work with NOSI to develop some projects as well. I'm totally open to that!

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