Sunday, September 16, 2007

Craigslist Foundation Nonprofit Boot Camp New York Report

On Saturday I participated in the Craigslist Foundation Second Annual Nonprofit Boot Camp held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I volunteered for the "Ask an Expert" part of the program providing expertise in the areas of strategic planning and board development. The setup was like a speed dating environment and in two hours and twenty minutes I met with 7 people - for 20 minutes each. When the bell rang, the new people were ready to meet you and after a quick goodbye it was onto the next organization. I met with people involved with theater, women's groups, youth development and gay literature. When I was done my head was spinning, my mouth was dry and I needed to find the ladies room! But it was very invigorating and I'm happy to have been part of this wonderful event.

Over 1000 people roamed around the beautiful Brooklyn Academy of Museum facilities. The Master of Ceremonies was Darian Rodriguez Heyman, Executive Director of the Craigslist Foundation and the keynote speakers were Nancy Lublin of Do Something and Ana Oliveira of the New York Women's Foundation. There were three workshops in each of 7 tracks. The exhibit hall featured about 40 organizations and I got to meet with people at organizations that I have only known through their websites including NY Charities and Governance Matters.

A highlight of the day for me was finally meeting Laura Quinn of Idealware in person. I ALWAYS recommend Laura's articles at whenever I have a technology for nonprofits question. They are top notch. I feel privileged to have contributed - in a very small way - to a couple of her articles. Anyway, Laura returned to NY from her new home in Maine for the event and I was so happy to finally be able to have a conversation in person with her.

Overall, I'd say that the event was a major success. It attracted a huge audience and had a wide variety of opportunities to offer. Much of the program was geared to those new to the nonprofit world and I don't think I would recommend it to expereinced people. But for those new to nonprofits or just starting one up, it is an incredible resource.

Marion Conway Consulting

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