Field Report #11: The Importance of Knowing Your Neighbors


The N-TEN Conference and Meeting Other VISTAs

Photo: bensheldon

Chicago: You're Stuck Here


The big story of the week is that I was supposed to speak at a conference in Ocean City, MD about free and low-cost tools for nonprofits. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I live in

Comment from Anita Lie on February 29, 2008 - 8:59pm

You can try out these website then:



We redesigned our website. But of course you don't have to read all the checkpoints if you don't plan on putting some of things like tables and stuff..

There was a website the checked to make sure it was accessible for free, but now you have to buy it. You can still check it out at : http://www.watchfire.com/default.aspx

Comment from Anita Lie on February 29, 2008 - 9:11pm

Comment from Mike Moore on March 5, 2008 - 4:59pm

Comment from Morgan Sully on April 9, 2008 - 5:00pm

Hey Anita,
these links are great. Good to have an expert on board. Did you document any of this in your manual that you are composing? Or did you stick mainly with hardware?


10 Tactics for Growing Your Community Online


Last week I attended an NTEN Member Appreciation Webinar entitled: 10 Tactics for Growing Your Community Online. As NAMAC's Online Community Manager, I found this webinar very helpful, engaging and well worth my time.

Getting settled in


So after the flight home to Florida from the PSO, I made it to Portland in 4 days.

Comment from Sarah Pierantoni on July 17, 2007 - 9:32am

Hey Rob! Hope the cross country drive was awesome. Good luck with everything...

Comment from Jack Waugh on July 19, 2007 - 6:48pm

In re "I am not a big fan of wannabe catchy pop phrases", I'm on board with you on that one. Nothing takes the place of good old plain language.

Jack Waugh

Comment from Morgan Sully on August 28, 2007 - 2:28pm

I'm wondering what's up with catchy pop phrases too. Though I did laugh when someone asked at a conference last year if there was a site where they could go to "download Web 2.0" - They were earnest though, yet I'm laughing? How do you reconcile the 'digital knowledge affluence' you swim in with the disparities of the world? How can your efforts as a knowledgeable, fresh out of college VISTA support others? Explore what tricks exist.

In the meantime, some txt humor 4 u:




My name is Rob Heck and I'm originally from Gainesville, FL. I will be serving as the Events and Program Coordinator for the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) in Portland, OR.

Comment from Victoria Edwards on June 20, 2007 - 4:30pm

what the HECK are you doing??
haha....it's still funny

Comment from Rob Heck on June 23, 2007 - 10:10pm

You're so original!

Nonprofit Communications 2.0


Last week I attended NTEN's 2007 Nonprofit Technology Conference and sat in on a wonderful session entitled Nonprofit Communications 2.0: Seven Steps to Transform Your Organization. Led by Lauren-Glenn Davitian of the CCTV Center for Media and Democracy, the session provided a strong framework for nonprofits to better communicate in an increasingly networked society.

(crossposted from my personal blog)

I am also very lucky to serve with Lauren-Glenn on the editorial board of the Community Media Review.

The video itself is approximately 1 hour, 24 minutes long and worth every second, but I included my notes from the session below.

The NTC, a Bike Ride, and a Discovered Website


Everything’s going quite well here at NTEN as we’re of course very busy tying up all the loose ends before the NTC. As far as what's new and exciting in my work, I finally managed to make a breakthrough in using our sometimes unwieldy CMS (netFORUM) to design a searchable member database for our website. That project had been on my plate since the beginning of January (and until yesterday I’d made very little progress), so it was nice to finally make some real headway there - and it should soon be up on our website and ready for use.

Comment from Corey Funderburk on March 21, 2007 - 1:59pm

Wow that is awesome! I am totally going to track my next ride with that tool. Thanks for sharing!

Travel Tip


Our fellow VISTA, Carl, sent me a website for a great airfare finder: http://www.farecast.com/

It's pretty cool because it not only tells you where to find the cheapest fare, but gives advice on whether to buy now or later based on trends in airfare prices. If you haven't bought your airfare for the conference yet, I definitely suggest you check it out.

Issues and Updates


It has truly been a while since I wrote a blog. Anyone who reads Laura's blogs, however, pretty much knows what I'm doing. My friends here in San Diego call Laura my "life partner" because we spend so much time together - living, commuting, working. Thankfully, we get along and haven’t killed each other yet :). I feel like recently most of my time has been spent in trying to overcome a lot of bureaucracy.

Comment from gariet cowin on January 9, 2007 - 4:24pm

You know what also would have been nice? Somebody explaining that there is a BIG difference in the amount of food stamps you get if you sign up BEFORE the PSO, rather than after.

But cheer up! At least you have a super sweet life partner. I have to settle for my imaginary co-worker. And he's an asshole.


Comment from danielle martin on January 9, 2007 - 7:00pm

You would have gotten more in food stamps if you signed up before the PSO? I only ask because we've got a new crew starting next week so I want to give them the right story...


Comment from danielle martin on January 9, 2007 - 7:13pm

Hey Corey,

My mom has this little saying I say to myself very often in my VISTA service: "Nobody said life is fair." [I know, it used to piss me off when she said it, but I'm old enough to be ok with the fact that at some point you turn into your parents.] I know for myself, I try to remind myself that the challenges of doing a year of full-time volunteer service are only marginally comparable to the experiences of the people I'm trying to ultimately serve. Unfortunately we live in a country that doesn't have a national healthcare system and where only a quarter of the population even get a chance to get a 4 year college degree. I'm not trying to be unsympathetic - I'm admittedly idealist enough to think NOBODY should have to jump through ridiculous hoops to not be sick and get an education. So the system stinks, let's change it. Let's write some letters. Or help us make it clearer for the next set of VISTAs.

That being said, I'm impressed with all the amazing stuff your doing at Pangea. I'd love to keep hearing more often about the great things you're accomplishing this year (and hope you share some of the lessons learned and resourced you developed) and hope you let us know when we can help.


PS Tell Mike D. that I love him right back...him and his positive attitude ;)