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John Kenyon

Thank you for your comment Michael. I agree with you and hope to get the np tech consultants to agree to these and hopefully adhere to them. Your points make sense for consulting firms or those with subcontractors. Most people I know try to stick to their principles, but in a tough economy you can't eat your principles :). I think transparency and consistency are definitely important. I hope you'll join the discussion at NTC in March!

Michael Stein

interesting, John.. but seems to me that these are principles any technology consultant should adhere to. There are some specific issues that arise in the world of non-profit consulting, especially when working with advocacy organizations that our community should address. I have not honed this to a principle - its more a musing: Vendors serving primarily serving npos need to decide if they represent a particular viewpoint -- i.e. does your consulting group exist specifically to serve progressive clients -- or do you serve the wider non-profit community, and do your best to improve the functioning of each client regardless of their mission. Choice one means you have to hire with that viewpoint specifically in mind: It's hard to tell a guy you hired for his software skills that you are turning down jobs in a tough economy because you don't like the orgs that want to hire you. Choice two means you need to frequently put strongly held views aside to work for the best interest of your client.
Either choice is valid - but each demands transparency and consistency.



Hi John,

I'd like to suggest you somehow include the original "four principles" put forth by the NSNT (that led to the founding of NTEN -- based upon those principles... but that's been lost in time).

They are:

Technology Transparency … the idea that information technology should be a tool whose suitability, benefit, and ease of use makes its employment second nature (like the telephone). [I summerize this for today's audiences as "good technology gets out of the way." ]

Open Systems … an approach to technology innovation that emphasizes continuous contribution by many authors, with the results owned by no one, and by everyone.

Fair Exchange … the principle that those who receive the benefit of another’s technology should in some fashion reciprocate, propelling still more forward movement.

Fair Compensation … the idea that those who bring their time and talents to the cause of empowering nonprofits with technology deserve due recognition, financial and otherwise.

All-in-all, I think they were pretty prescient, and still applicable today.

You can find this is a brief history written by Tim Mills-Groninger at http://www.nptimes.com/May04/sr1.html



John Kenyon

Thank you for your comments Ivan! I will be creating a document that expands on these in detail and will add your thoughts. I think it is important to keep these top level items short and limit them to 10, but your point will be included in the details, as I think that applies to several of the main items.

#1 is really a bit tongue in cheek, based on the Hippocratic oath doctors take (first do no harm) but I have seen inexperienced people unintentionally mess up hardware! Always good to start with the basics I think :).


John, these look interesting. A few comments/thoughts:

* I really like (4) – that would help enormously.
* I wonder if something about showing the Benefits of the technology/service would be a useful inclusion? e.g. something along the lines of "explain/demonstrate the specific benefits our technology or services will bring to the nonprofit, especially with regard to the organisation’s mission".
* (1) is interesting – obviously important but is that really a problem you have seen?! Have I missed something?!

Ivan Wainewright

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