A beginner’s guide to #BarcampNFP

I didn’t know what to expect of an ‘unconference’ before I went to Barcamp, if only there was a handy beginner’s guide…

Image credit: http://barcampnonprofits.com/

It’s not a conference

It’s an unconference! So don’t be surprised if you don’t get registered the moment you arrive. You might turn up at a session with no one leading it because they got caught up in something else. So?

That predictable stuff is for boring conference dwellers, at an unconference you just get stuck in: “as no one seems to be leading this, shall we just start chatting about social media fundraising.” So we did.

Out of chaos comes order

There is no pre set agenda, that as much was clear beforehand, but exactly what was in store I did not know until I got there. But then again, no one knew.

“One of the major rules of each barcamp is participation. This is exactly why the organisers almost expect all attendees to prepare to contribute to the day with their insights and willingness to take part in discussions. From this point of view all attendees are speakers! “

This actually made me a bit nervous, I’m often the person in the room who knows the most about digital/social media (it’s why I get invited to meetings) so this room filled with expertise had potential to intimidate. A bit.

But it was fear of the unknown really, the atmosphere was friendly and welcoming, the knowledge on the floor varied and so the emphasis on participation felt right, not daunting. I started to learn stuff.

Bring Questions, take answers

Because the day is free-form, you can help shape it. A great chance to really make use of the experience of others to help you do what you do. I took the opportunity to throw out a few questions underlining some of what I’m working on at MDC.

Getting to know how other people approach explaining digital tools and why they should use them to the “non techy”, how to show the value and impact of social media (if, in fact, it should be called that) and how to go about managing a website with multiple contributors. These where all things I got help with.

Share answers, take questions

I especially enjoyed Laila Takeh’s lunchtime session called if digital is integrated – who owns it? It covered a lot of ground, I enjoyed being involved but what I took away were questions. Who does own digital? I hope it’s me.

Learn stuff

I learnt a lot of stuff and have a bunch of ideas to take back to the orgs I work with, stuff like this.

I hope this beginner’s guide will be useful to someone; if you have any questions, just ask.

Image credit: http://barcampnonprofits.com/

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About medavep
I work in the UK charity sector and sometimes I blog about fundraising, digital and consumer experience. Sometimes I just moan.

One Response to A beginner’s guide to #BarcampNFP

  1. Laila Takeh says:

    cheers for the hat tip Dave 🙂
    That lunch session was a lot of fun and I think we all learnt something!

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