The story behind this article is that, late in 2014, I was approached by some online tech e-mag to write an article for them. I thought, why not tell all of the for-profit techies what it’s really like working in our sector? And I wrote a solid first draft. Then I started researching the magazine, and couldn’t find much. There was little in the way of a FAQ, so I couldn’t ascertain things like, “who owns the content submitted”? I decided against publishing there. I sent it on to Amy at NTEN, and she came back with the suggestion that they publish it in March, shortly after the NTEN conference, as the March theme is Nonprofit Management. And we did that.
The article has gone over really well with the nonprofit community, and is still being actively shared and liked across social media platforms nine days in. I’m really flattered. I think the strengths of the article are that it, first, distills a lot of my thinking over the last ten years or so about what we, as nonprofit technologists, do, and what our challenges are. I’ve been drafting this article in my head for a long, long time. But I think it also benefits from the fact that I wrote it for a different audience — one that doesn’t know our sector and our challenges well. And I both think and hope that this is a large part of why the article is resonating so well with the community. This is something that you can share with people outside of the sector that explains a lot about us.
That’s my goal, at least — I hope it’s true. And I hope that it’s useful for you, particularly if you have friends that you’re trying to recruit into the side that promotes social good.
The “director’s cut” story is simple. Steph at NTEN admitted that her edits were primarily focused on shortening the article in order to fit NTEN’s max post length. She did a great job — there is no point that I wanted to make missing from the NTEN version. But there are a few areas where the grammar got a little confused. My rendering is more spacious, with a few more examples. So I decided to print it as originally written and let you decide which one you prefer.