Every year I look forward to NTC with great anticipation. My "first time" was in Philly, since then I've missed only one due to work & family commitments.
That first NTC was a bit of a risk - I had no idea what to expect and a group of colleagues were looking for a place to connect as part of the larger NPTech scene. The result was overwhelmingly in favor of making NTC a gathering, learning & sharing event in our ORG.
It's always interesting to hear why folks can't attend or decide against attending NTC:
Every year prior to NTC, NTEN runs an amazing, community driven event to raise funds to scholarship attendance. I can't recall the numbers, but there were well over 50 scholarships given last year. If you need one, apply! (and fundraise like MAD to help the community & support others with a scholarship to NTC)
TOO MUCH FUNDRAISING & COMMUNICATIONS, NOT ENOUGH TECH:
Bottom line is this; NTC is what YOU make of it. The best & most valuable gift / payback of each and every NTC I have attended is the connection to the NTEN community & all the amazing friendships I've developed via NTC. The way I see it, we've got a TON in common - we work for NPO's, we have similar challenges, we have budget issues, we need all types of tech to be efficient, we need to think strategically & act tactically - the list goes on and on.
When you come to NTC you meet NPO's that are at different levels in the technology continuum - some folks are experts in social media, some folks know how to find funding sources for tech, some can share a “kickass” mobile solution for fundraising, some can help you develop an amazing strategic plan while others willing share all they know about cloud computing & virtualization - but we're all in the same boat working towards common goals, we're mission driven and we want to make a difference in the world. You can't get that at a Gartner conference.
Is there a bit of imbalance in the types of sessions? Perhaps, but fundraising & communications are vital to an orgs existence and ability to meet their mission - I would challenge every "techie" at NTC to listen to those folks driving for change & pushing the envelope in these areas (SM, fundraising, communications, eMarketing etc) - they need you! They need solid infrastructure! They need a PARTNER in making dreams happen - NTC is a "dreamers opportunity" if only we can look beyond what is immediately our own.
For me, NTC is not as much a "Tech conference" as it is a "Connection conference" – being a small part of something that is so much bigger than me is really cool and good for the soul. The conversations & opportunities to share are priceless. Attend NTC, join in, ask questions, become a part of a vibrant & growing community - engage!
NTC is all about the "human side" of technology.
a not for profit human-focused technologist driving A.R.T.