Reflecting on Digital Trends in 2015 and Looking Ahead to 2016: December NTEN Happy Hour and Discussion

IMG_3582On December 9th, 501cTECH, NetSquared DC, and the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) co-sponsored a happy hour and panel discussion on digital trends. Panelists included thought leaders in the digital engagement space: Charmaine Nokuri, Chris Tuttle, DeRay Mckesson, and Jo Miles, and Colin Delany and Roshani Kothari moderated.

The discussion focused on how nonprofits can use digital platforms to further their missions.

Photo: Colin Delany, Jo Miles, DeRay Mckesson


Chris Tuttle’s opening remarks summed up the focus of the discussion quite well. There are three areas where organizations tend to struggle on digital platforms:

  • Standing Out - With the internet being used more than ever before, organizations can get lost in promoting themselves, instead of organizing the communities they serve.
    • To combat this, organizations should focus their energy on using online platforms to organize communities offline.
  • Getting recognized - Organizations may confuse followers with recognition.
    • Remember that digital engagement is all about relationships. Followers do not equal relationships; a few actively engaged followers can be more influential than many followers.
  • Keeping up with current trends - Technology is always evolving and organizations may always feel like they are trying to catch up.
    • Instead, focus on creating new trends, and breaking through the noise.

A recurring theme in the discussion was the importance of having a conversation digitally that serves to build a community around that dialogue. Much of the value of digital engagement stems from converting online interaction into offline community engagement. It is important to remember that technology alone cannot define your message; you must actively target your message to your audience.

To learn more, watch a recording of the discussion.

More about the Panelists & Moderators:

Charmaine Nokuri has over 15 years of experience in the digital space. During the day she is a Web Analyst for Erickson Living and also moonlights as owner of Allegiance Branding.  She had developed or optimized over 30 digital marketing campaigns, and was recently named Marketing Director for the National African Business Association.

Chris Tuttle is a thought leader in the technology, social media, and communications industry, specifically in building relationships with nonprofits, and has worked with organizations such as GLSEN and Idealware.

Colin Delany, a leading expert on digital advocacy and internet politics, is the founder and editor of He has 17-years of experience in the field, and consults advocacy groups on how to leverage online tools. He was named one of “Ten Who Are Changing the World of Politics and the Internet” at the 2010 World E-Gov Forum.

DeRay Mckesson is a civil rights activist, known for using social media to promote conversation and to bring people together. With a twitter following of over 266K, Deray is a powerhouse in stimulating offline action through online engagement.

Jo Miles is the Digital Program Director at Food & Water Watch. She manages strategy for the use and integration of digital channels across the organization and uses online tools to win campaigns and engage and educate people who want to put their food and water above corporate profits.

Roshani Kothari is a nonprofit technology consultant, and co-organizer of NetSquared DC. With over 10 years of experience working with nonprofits. Her work focuses on the intersection of technology and social good.

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