Digesting Barcamp Nonprofits

Amy just posted about her feeling of an emotional hangover after last week’s Barcamp Nonprofits London so I thought it’s probably a good time for me too to gather all my thoughts too. Since last week’s event there have been a lot of interesting reactions to our event so before you check out my points, please listen (and leave a kind comment) on the following:

As for me I am simply HAPPY. When you have an idea which you feel is right but which requires a lot of effort, people and sometimes right time to ripe and become truly articulated…and then one day you simply see it happening…then how do you feel? It does not happen too often but I hope you can relate to it. My life has been a huge uphill in the last two years and I am enormously grateful to Laila (@spirals) for stepping up and taking the lead on our London event. This allowed me a bit of time and space to sort out everything else and come back to London event with new personal goals. I think Laila and the team of amazing organisers gave us everything we needed to discuss, negotiate and give birth to new ideas on the day. I was only there to help out so all the credit goes to her and the team really. THANK YOU for preparing this great day and for caring for the idea!

Choosing the sessions one is about to attend is probably the trickiest bit of a barcamp so I decided to stay in one, main room. Following the rules of barcamps and out Barcamp, I have left all my hats behind (ok, I might have had #BarcampNFP hat on for a few moments;)) and hosted only one session on Idea Lab for the barcamp. But I would like to mention three sessions that I found really useful.

First of all the celebration of FAIL. We all love Twitter Fail Whale but we find it really hard to stand up and admit a mistake so the Failure Swapshop was a brilliant one! You can see the notes here, but let me say – just as difficult as it is to admit the failure we all know that there are moment when we need to keep them to ourselves, and there are times when we need to share them with an audience. I am ever so happy to see the the barcamp audience proved to be so understanding and contributed with some really practical words of warning for all of us!;) (big hug to Barcamp Bournemouth for their 5th Birthday this year – March 9 so save the date;))

I really enjoyed the session hosted by @SteveBridger. It articulated the worry we all, BarcampNFP organisers, seem to share: how can we ensure that both tech and nonprofit world actually meet somewhere on the road to improve and innovate without landing in our own sector driven silo? Is it down to people, events or maybe is it a more complex challenge? I personally would love to see the idea of our BarCamp taken outside of just this format. I would love to see more and more types of events organised for both audiences, projects run by individuals wearing both hats and finally organisations focusing on social good and implementing best practice from both worlds.

I also really enjoyed agency vs. charity session – probably because I feel the pain of both sides on almost a daily basis. You can read it here and at the end of this post. I think it was priceless and it did make many of realising just how often we fall into the trap of putting people into the charity or agency box. At the end of the day we are all people! We all have senior management, we all have deadlines and most probably rather a crazy workload. So the key is to communicate, communicate better!

We were all asked to share our feedback as to how we can improve the event. From my side I will work on four aspects:

1. Taking our event to more cities and building larder audience to our events so that we can share practice with more people,

2. Working on the site and a central Idea Lab where we can all store our ideas, collaborate on our learnings and benefit from published case studies.

3. I will reach out to CEOs of both nonprofit and tech brands to join us on the day. Don’t ask me how…I do not know yet but I feel we really need them to be there and share their take.

4. I will get more involved! I will help in arranging a volunteer/blogger programme for the next London event. I would like us to have t-shirt, stickers and goodie bags – it’s silly, I know, but those little things become keepsakes of those few hours of hard work and great spirit.

I am so happy to see that spirit growing and I would like to thank each and every person who participated – it is all thanks to you that we had such a great day! Stay in touch!

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