Why I Became a NetSquared Organizer

NetSquared logoMy response to a discussion on the NetSquared  Local mailing list asking “Why did you become a NetSquared organizer?”

When I was in my 20s I had two groups of friends: nerds and activist hippies. There was no crossover between the groups and I kept these two communities and parts of me separate like matter and antimatter (that’s the nerd talking!)

When I moved to Vancouver in 2007 my workplace sent me to the Web of Change conference (they noticed that their volunteer manager kept asking why the database was broken) where I first encountered the progressive nonprofit tech community. IT BLEW MY MIND!

It may not seem strange you, being worldly and reading this in 2013, but for me the idea that nerds and activists could co-exist or even be the same person had never crossed my mind. These communities had always been oil and water in my mind. Activists are anti-technology:   that’s what I had learned (growing up on a commune.) 🙂

I discovered an entire new universe that week at Web of Change and it changed the course of my life irrevocably.

The friendly conference attendees scoffed at my naiveté  and recommended that I start attending Vancouver’s Net Tuesday, which had recently been formed. I did. And I learned, while sitting quietly in the back.

But after a few months the organizer (Joe Solomon, who went on to 350.org and #GreenMemes) left town. The idea of the group folding was too tragic, so I volunteered to take it over. And four years later here I am!

But WHY did I decide to take on Net Tuesday Vancouver?

I wanted to find my tribe

I was in a new city and I didn’t know anybody. I discovered that being a NetSquared organizer turned me into a community hub – I quickly met all the key players in the sector, many of whom have become friends. It can be hard to find local nptech-ies without a Net2 group!

I’m shy(ish)

I can get really quiet in a group of people, unless I have a clearly defined role. Being the “host” of a meetup gives me an “in” to talk with people.

I like organizing events

I spent my 20s doing production on large outdoor festivals. I didn’t want my event skills to atrophy.

I wanted to learn more

I had learned at lot at the local meetup. The best way to learn more was to schedule more events! And this time I could guarantee that I’d be interested in the topic, because I was planning it. “Scratch your own itch” they always say. 🙂

I wanted to build a reputation

As I developed my career in nonprofit tech I quickly realized that being a Net2 organizer was doing wonders for my reputation. People (irrationally!) assumed that I was an expert on every topic I had a speaker present on! I started to receive job offers…

Net Tuesday fit with my values

Somewhere along the way life taught me that the more I gave the more I received. I enjoy serving others, and being a NetSquared organizer has been the most rewarding volunteer gig I’d ever taken on.

And that, in a giant nutshell, is why I become a Net2 organizer. 🙂

[Storify] Using Video to Tell Your Stories – Net Tuesday May 7 2013

Using Video to Tell Your Stories – Net Tuesday May 7 2013

Video is taking over the internet. Fast. Nonprofits need to get in front of this trend now. Video can be complicated and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. This week three guests shared their tips for creating visually striking videos on a nonprofit budget.

Storified by Net Tuesday· Sun, May 12 2013 14:10:08

Net Tuesday Vancouver – presented by NetSquaredVideo is taking over the internet. Fast. Nonprofits need to get in front of this trend now. Video can be complicated and expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Join Net Tuesday this May for a lico

1. Siobhan Aspinall started the event by sharing her three favorite nonprofit videos and explored WHY they were successful. It wasn’t because they spent the most money!

YOUR organization could create something like this.
Latino Bigs Atrevete a Cambiar una Vidabbbsofnyc
Heartbreaking, but requires a big investment.
Jung von Matt/Limmat: Pro Infirmis Get closer.JvMLimmat
The best donor stewardship video EVER!
This is what’s possible when you invest!
Stroh Center Rapbgsu
Here’s another video that Siobhan loves that she didn’t have time to show. This is what Major Gifts fundraising is all about!! 🙂
Note: That Matt Damon video is NSFW!
Matt Damon in Entourage season 6 Finale [HD]seeqay

2. Eli demos Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker, a free tool for remixing and annotating any Youtube or Vimeo video.

Popcorn MakerPopcorn Maker makes it easy to enhance, remix and share web video. Use your web browser to combine video and audio with content from the …
Examples of Popcorn videos
Pro Infirmis popcornCreated with Popcorn Maker – part of the Mozilla Webmaker initiative
NetSquared Camp TorontoThis was created with Popcorn Maker – part of the Mozilla Webmaker initiative
Popcorn MakerAlso, + Elijah van der Giessen showed a very practical tutorial on #Mozilla 's #Popcorn in all it's glory. + Siobhan Aspinall made a great point about controlling the cost and quality of video production if you are a non-profit or charity. Remember your audience.

3. Tiva Quinn showed off two tools for creating animation on the cheap.

Screen recording of Tiva’s demos
Tiva Quinn on Animoto and Sparkol VideoScribeevdg
Tiva’s slide deck, full of great tips for planning your video project.
Affordable animation for non profitsHow To Do It Quick & CheapAnd When to Take It Up a LevelHow Much AnimationCan I Get for $50?Featuring:AnimotoVideoScribeOnwords! Consulting

Animoto – create animated videos from photos

Thanks, From DonorTecconnectinguporg
A video intro to Animoto
Animoto for Your Nonprofitconnectinguporg
Animoto is available free to charities
For a Cause – Non-Profit VideosAnimoto supports not-for-profits and other humanitarian causes with free upgraded access.If you are a charity, non-profit, activist or school organization, apply today for a free pro account at Animoto. Produce DVD-quality videos from photos. Animoto, the end of slideshows.

Sparkol VideoScribe – creating animated “whiteboard” videos.

Use this link to create a VideoScribe account. This is an affiliate link, which is a free way for you to thank Tiva for her contributions to Net Tuesday. 🙂
Sparkol VideoScribe – What’s your story?Sparkol VideoScribe – What’s your story? Create engaging scribe videos easily
The key decision points in a video project – created with Sparkol VideoScribe
Making Animationsativaq
Examples of Tiva’s work
Seedstock Part 1sativaq
Using Video to Tell Your StoriesOne of the presenters tonight, + Tiva Quinn , hid this in the bottom corner of a slide. I think it deserves a slide of it's own. Keys to engaging video production: ·Consistent storyline ·Organized and clear ·Vivid and surprising ·Tone suits audience Good job everyone at #NTVan (audience included).

Cool projects from our community

The YWCA is experimenting with personalized videos and landing pages.
Home – YWCA – InnerCirclePlease take a moment to fill out our survey. What’s your preference? To receive newsletters and updates by email To receive newsletters and updates by regular mail Please stop sending me information about the YWCAWhat interests you?
PeaceGeeks is holding regular salons. Check out their next event.
PeaceGeeks | Connect locally – Empower globallyNational Capital Advisors is a Canadian-based consultancy working on a grant from the Ford Foundation. They work with grassroots non-profit organizations in Indonesia to help these groups get tools they need to document conflict-related issue connected to the use and management of natural resources.
June at CamvY is open to discussing your next nonprofit video project. Give him a shout!
Camvy Company FilmsCamvy Company Films is a concept-to-screen digital production company in Vancouver, Canada owned and operated by Kevin Zhang and June Kim. Over the past year we have worked with companies such as Hiretheworld and Vancouver Olive Oil Company. Our background is uniquely positioned in corporate film, post-production, animation, storyboard design and branding.

The Twitter feed…

#ntvan NetTuesday… @Elijah give his 5 minutesNet Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan and hugs to our lovely enablers HootSuite… love them so much. ow.ly/kOebPNet Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan thanks to out sponsors hivevancouver.com the HiVEeveryone say "Hey big hugs to the HiVE, NetTuesday loves you.Net Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan Mike from the HiVE, gives an intro to the meeting and working space.Net Tuesday Meetup
Checking out #ntvan @HiVEVancouver … Beautiful space for #changemakersAmy Juschka
Great to be attending @NetTuesday at @HiVEVancouver. #ntvan #meetupPeaceGeeks
#ntvan is beginning… tons of new faces it is so good to hear the banter and laughs.Net Tuesday Meetup
Attending #ntvan with Joy of @fundittv for session on video marketing. Cool space.Loa Fridfinnson
@TheHive attending @NetTuesday #ntvan for the 1st time! Awesome networking event & will learn more about video, nonprofit & storytelling.Puspa
@NetTuesday on this gorgeous day learning about the power of short videos. #ntvan big ups to @hivevancouver for hosting this great event.Daniel Dubois
At @Meetup’s @NetTuesday’s event "Using Video to Tell Your Story" for @FundRazr! #NTVanElizabeth George
Helping #NTVan video tonight’s meetup. instagram.com/p/ZCDHXlF0-i/Chimp
#ntvan 3 presenters are lined up and ready…Net Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan Siobhan Aspinall @SiobhanAspinall or linkedin.com/in/siobhanaspi…Net Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan Elijah van der Giessen @elijah netsquared.org/local NetSquared LocalNet Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan Tiva Quinn @TivaWrites onwords.net Onwords ConsultingNet Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan Top 3 non profit videos … queued and playing. the audience sits in raptureNet Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan the worry that if your video is too slick it’ll drive the sponsors away…Net Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan the power of connection to one person… helps the story flow.Net Tuesday Meetup
Video for Nonprofits @NetTuesday presentation @HIVEvancouver & loving it! Thanks #ntvanMusic BC Foundation
#ntvan the brain is now warmed up so on with the tips… Elijah van der Giessen @elijahNet Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan @elijah demo of popcorn.webmaker.org #popcorn @mozillaNet Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan what can you use this for… make this as an ask video teach in and highlight the key points…Net Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan any video that has been popcornised can be remixed…Net Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan now for the magic… @elijah makes it look so easy. pah! he is so talented.Net Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan this video shows the power of bringing links from wikipedia and twitter.Net Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan "Hey I want to add a Twittery section" only @elijah can come up with phrases like this.Net Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan Non-Profits are the target for this… so use it. Thanks @mozilla .Net Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan please welcome Tiva Quinn @TivaWrites onwords.net Onwords ConsultingNet Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan How much animation can I get for $50…Net Tuesday Meetup
Hilarious donor recognition video! "@NetTuesday: #ntvan super gucci… ow.ly/kOfBl"Kimberly Antifaeff
He’ll melt your face with his philanthropy! RT @kantifaeff: Hilarious donor recognition video! ow.ly/kOfBl #ntvanNet Tuesday Meetup
Wow, @Animoto is free for nonprofits? Awesome! #ntvanChad Leaman
#ntvan question from audience "how do you handle copyright?" @animoto has a last music library. or from the audience ow.ly/kOhpXNet Tuesday Meetup
Free and open music library! HT @NetTuesday audience! #ntvan ow.ly/kOhpXChad Leaman
#ntvan sparkol.com/videoscribe.php videoscribe… does have a cost. @sparkol please help us non-profits out.Net Tuesday Meetup
Make a "whiteboard drawing" video with @VideoScribeTV. #ntvan Great way to tell a story.Chad Leaman
#ntvan @sparkol great product simple to use and very impressive @TivaWrites gives it props… so go use it.David Gloyn-Cox
VIDEO: @TivaWrites demonstrates @Animoto and @VideoScribe at #ntvan youtube.com/watch?v=FmcOqR… 2 low cost video solutions.Net Tuesday Meetup
One minute pitches…

#ntvan the HiVE Power Up Mornings ow.ly/kOe7ENet Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan NetTuesday Noos… Video for Non Profits ( 6 month series) … we are looking for volunteers.Net Tuesday Meetup
ow.ly/kOeFQ UnConference #ntvan really you should come….Net Tuesday Meetup
RT @nettuesday: #ntvan #1minpitch PeaceTalks on Monday 13th 6pm at Lost & Found cafe. Fmr head of UN in Darfur. ow.ly/kOjJq…Net Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan #1minpitch YWCA personal videos gatatv.com/ywcaNet Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan #1minpitch lionheartproductions.ca come and seeNet Tuesday Meetup

NetSquared December update

Here’s what I’ve been up to over the last month in my gig as NetSquared Local Community Curator.

NetSquared snowglobe
It’s December, which means we’re on the last page of our calendar. Team NetSquared is working hard to wrap-up some this year’s projects. We’ve now completed all seven of our NetSquared Camps and have just one more Global Leadership Council meeting left. But just because some things are coming to an end there’s no reason for tears – rather let’s reflect back on what we’ve learned over the year and share the gift of knowledge on the Washington DC group’s quora page.

The future of NetSquared

The recent reorganization of NetSquared sees the emergence of a unified content and community team for both the NetSquared and TechSoup brands. Sheetal Singh is our new TechSoup champion, taking over from Billy Bicket who is going to take on platform work.

What does that all mean to NetSquared organizers? I’ll be able to share more by mid-December when Sheetal sends her community update, but in the short-term you’ll start to see a regular stream of new content on the NetSquared community blog.

NetSquared Camps

This fall’s major initiative was the NetSquared Camps, which were seven regional unconferences and workshops produced by our local organizer network. The camps were an amazing opportunity to expand the NetSquared local experience from a brief daytime or evening event into an all-day extravaganza. It was also a great excuse for us to get local organizers together for face-to-face meetings, since the big lesson from the Global Leadership Council experiment this year was that we can kickstart inter-organizer relationships by getting people together in the same room. Which, honestly, shouldn’t have been too much of a shock since that’s the key insight that keeps all of us local organizers doing our meetups from month to month.

Each of the camp organizers has written a blog post sharing their insights, photos and video. There are lots of great ideas to steal for your own events!


The tenth release of the NetSquared platform is now live. Many of the changes were beneath the hood, but you’ll definitely notice the improvements to the community blog. We’re now randomly featuring bloggers from the local network. You may see your face next time you go to http://www.NetSquared.org/blog!

NetSquared organizers as bloggers

Windows 8 Apps for Social Good Contest

The Windows 8 Apps for Social Good Contest invites both new and seasoned developers to create an app for “social good” – and you could win cash prizes to help fuel your dream and keep it going!

There are already five entries in the contest. Check out their project pages and use the social share buttons on the one you think is coolest.

Note: the contest is only open to residents of the USA. But anyone can vote and share!

December events

A quick scan shows ten events happening across the NetSquared local network. That’s a big drop from the 21 in November… Curse those holidays! 🙂