Why I Won’t Be At NTC (And Why You Should Be)


As a happy, active member of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), I’ve made a difficult decision: family and work commitments are too high this year to afford a trip to DC and NTEN’s annual Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC). Since most of my family and pretty much all of my wife’s family live 1,000 to 3,000 miles away from us, visiting takes up a lot of the vacation time I get. NTC is, to my mind, a marginally work-related activity, in it that I do bring resources and knowledge back to my employer every year, but the bulk of what I get out of and go to NTC for isn’t all that work-related. Because, let’s face it: NTC is the best party of the year, hands down. And I’m far more likely to be imparting info there, and engaging in what I call my “extra-curricular activities” than focusing on Earthjustice-related topics.

What am I going to miss? Oh my word.

      For me, the fun begins about a day before the conference does, with the annual

NTC Beer Bash

      (that Carie Lewis will be organizing in my absence) kicking the conference off. Established two years ago, we get 30 to 50 of the early arrivers together at the brewpub with the best selection of craft beers we can find together and kick off the socializing early.

Day of Service. Another pre-conference tradition, the Day of Service links nptech professionals with local charities for four hours of expertise sharing and volunteer activities. There’s usually some big project, like installing wireless at a community center, and many opportunities for smal consulting sessions.

The Tech Track. Started last year, the Tech Track is a selection of breakout sessions designed for the people that do what i do for a living — install and support the technology that, in turn, supports the mission. NTC is a great place to develop a social media strategy or learn the latest online fundraising techniques, and it’s now also a reliable source for solid advice on how to virtualize your server room or move the whole thing to the cloud.

Holly Ross and the NTEN Staff. Simply put, Holly + Co are to nonprofit technology conference planning as Buffy and the Scoopy Gang are to vampire slaying. They not only nail it, but they do it all with wit, humanity and style. NTC is the best tech conference. Period. And that’s completely attributable to the brilliant work NTEN does combining awesome people, great knowledge, and a wealth of activities into three days of absolute fun. As I always say. you can’t go to NTC and not meet people. I make new friends every time.

Sadly, my ambitious agenda at work and some family matters have left no room for my favorite annual event this year. I’ve made the last six and I intend to be at the next six. So go and have a great time for me!

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6 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Be At NTC (And Why You Should Be)

  1. Annaliese

    I’m so sad you won’t be there, Peter. Thank you for the super sweet post about the NTC and NTEN. I think we have a new NTC sticker idea now: Buffy and the Scooby-Doo gang fighting vampires. But in the nptech metaphor, what do you think vampires represent? 😉

    1. Peter Campbell Post author

      Well, the vampires, of course, are the forces that stop nonprofit technology from flourishing — NPO Execs who don’t see the strategic benefits; tight budgets; Luddirte users. But I don’t want to go too far with the metaphor, because we don’t really stake ’em, we just show them the errors of their ways. But here’s where I think the metaphor really works: you guys are the Scooby Gang. You have all of the heart, humor, snark, etc. And you match right up:

      Holly – Buffy, obviously.
      Annaliese – Willow (am I right or am I right?)
      Brett – Xander
      Anna – Anya
      Karl – Oz
      Sarah – Dawn

      and, of course, Gavin Clabaugh as Giles.

      No obvious Spike or Angel (but I can’t have all of the fun here). 🙂

      Get patrollin’.

    2. Peter Campbell Post author

      True, Anya was a vengeance demon, but I’m thinking about her in seasons six and seven, when she was part of the gang and all around very nice. As you recall, as the Buffy and Angel shows grew older, the whole idea that demons are necessarily evil was pretty much thrown away. It was even revealed (and, yes, I’m a Buffy geek, certifiable), that the slayer power came from demon blood. So, it’s all relative, right? 🙂

      And there’s still a big part of me that can’t believe that i won’t be at NTC. It’s wrong, wrong, wrong. Expect to hear the Scope Creep crowd referring to me as “Yoko”. 😉

  2. Debra Askanase

    I am sorry to miss you this year as well! I agree that it is the best party of the year (and this year I’m going to make it to the beer bash!), and that the “extras” are what makes it so great: the Day of Service (and this year there is also the Net Neutrality Lobby Day), the Science Fair, Ignite, and of course the con

    For me, the biggest takeaway is a group of people that I can ask questions of and chew ideas over. NTEN is not long a great learning experience, but a tean-building experience for me.

  3. Carie Lewis

    Peter, you will be missed, but I (along with David Krumlauff and Jenn Howard) will not let you down for the beer bash!

  4. Anna

    So I am just catching up on this…Anya? Am I really a vengeance demon?? I guess I have been a bit stricter on conference deadlines this year but I still have a soul!

    I will never forget a comment that you made at 10NTC about still having an amazing time at your 6th NTC in a row — which made me realize the power of the community that we help bring together. It definitely made me feel that all the work was completely worth it. Thank you for being an inspiration to us all!

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