Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Expanding the network - Blog Exchange #11

I'm participating in another round of the Non-Profit Blog Exchange. These have been organized since November 2005. I've found them to be a valuable way to meet new people.

For instance, I'm now sharing information in a Wiki hosted by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change. I was first introduced to by exchanging blogs with Suzanne Morse who writes the Smart Communities Blog.

In May of 2007 I launched a Tutor/Mentor Blog Exchange and as a result, connected with Vermont Mentoring and Thierry Koehrlen and Clément Devaux at NosVies.com, who created a cartoon that I used at the Tutor/Mentor Leadership Conference.

My goal of this networking is to bring together leaders from non profits, business, philanthropy, universities, churches, etc. who are already involved in volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring, and who understand the need to work together to solve some of the challenges facing this field.

Because the internet connects us, my partners and friends can be in any part of the world. For instance, I'll be in England on Thursday and Friday, speaking at CWDC’S Integrated Working Conference 2007 for Learning Development Support Services (LDSS) Strategic Managers, hosted by Learning Mentors

In this round of the Non Profit Blog Exchange, I'm exchanging blog reviews with Patricia Perkins who writes the World Touch blog.

I must admit that when I first visited this blog I was a bit put off. The first article I read was a review of the World's Worst Web site. As I read it I was thinking about my own sites and how difficult it has been for me over the past 10 years to find volunteers and donors to provide the resources for me to operate the Tutor/Mentor Connection, and to share what I was learning effectively with others via the Internet. I'm sure a few people have told me how bad my web sites have been. I can also tell you that many people have told me they have spent hours on my web sites, and even created entire new tutor/mentor organizations based on the information they learned.

One of the reasons I participate in Blog Exchanges, and other on-line forums, is that it is a form of recruiting people with the ideas and talent that can help me and others build more effective ways of communicating their messages to the public. Thus, my hope is that when we're critical we're also offering help.

That's why I was pleased as I read further on this blog I found a list of Tools that technologists could use. This is helpful.

I also learned that Patricia will be providing technology services for a new organization called West End Ministries. It will be interesting to watch how this organization communicates its mission and mobilizes resources using the technology talent that someone like Particia can supply.

I hope that as this happens we're able to connect our missions because as I've learned in leading a small non profit for many years, it's not easy. You need many friends. Unless we work together to educate donors on the importance of our work, and the importance of a consistent flow of operating dollars, we'll all be competing with each other for customer attention and an inadequate pool of resources.

I'll be visiting all of the blogs in this blog exchange, and I'm planning to organize another Tutor/Mentor Blog Exchange in August, with a focus on sharing ideas for recruiting volunteers. My goal is that this discussion builds public awareness and draws more volunteers directly to tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other cities. If you'd like to participate, just introduce yourself here, or in the forums at http://www.tutormentorconnection.org .

No comments: