I’m going to NTEN’s NTC this year (that’s the Nonprofit Technology Network’s Nonprofit Technology Conference) in San Francisco in April. It will be my first time, and I can’t wait, because I know I’ll get to meet in person so many of the friends I’ve made online over the last few years.

I’m also excited because, though it may not look like it on the surface, I believe this conference has the potential to become the national event for nonprofit marketing staff at small nonprofits.

Why this technology conference rather than one of the more traditional marketing conferences? Three reasons:

1) Small nonprofits can afford online marketing. Using online tools and social media technology to market your organization is incredibly cheap compared to traditional print marketing. It just makes financial sense to take advantage of the technology and this conference is all about helping you learn how to do that.

2) Small nonprofits will feel comfortable at this conference. NTEN is a casual, fun group of mostly supportive, friendly people. I have no doubt that there will be a few speakers who look down their noses at small groups with little technical experience or tiny budgets, but I bet they will be in a very small minority. I’m not sure what the stats are these days, but when I asked NTEN Executive Director Holly Ross a year ago how many of NTEN’s members were techies who managed technology versus communications people who used the technology, she said it was something like half and half. In other words, there is a place for us within this organization and at this conference.

3) It’s where the cool kids in nonprofit marketing will be. I just quickly scanned the registration list, and many of the top bloggers who write about nonprofit communications will be there, including  Nancy Schwartz, Maddie Grant, Mark Rovner, Britt Bravo, and Geoff Livingston. And that’s just the early bird registration. Nancy Schwartz is now on the NTEN board, which is another great sign.

I hope you’ll join us in San Francisco – and I hope you’ll help some nonprofits who can’t otherwise afford it by donating to NTEN’s scholarship fund. I just gave $25. Can you donate a few bucks? Click over to the blog to see the fundraising widget.

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