I went to Barcamp NFP in London yesterday, with lots of other charity digital people, developers and all round clever folk.
There was no agenda. If you were interested in a topic, you wrote it on a post-it and gathered others who were similarly interested.
Sessions covered topics like:
- Digital storytelling
- Open source
- Cool free tools
- How to stand out online
- Prototyping new ideas
- Swapping stories of failure
As you can see from the Storify of the event, and indeed the notes taken at all of the sessions, there was a huge amount of expertise in every session. Knowledge was shared willingly by generous folk who wanted to do what they do even better and help others to do the same, from raising more money for vital causes or building digital products that change lives.
No substitute for real life
Throughout the day, I was reminded how important it is to get together in person to share knowledge.
We work in digital and champion the use of digital technologies to reach more people every day. But there is no substitute for the spark of creativity and connection that you get from making real eye contact with real people in the same room as you. I met several people yesterday that I’d only tweeted or emailed before – the conversations were more frank and the connections stronger for it!
It’s no exaggeration to say I owe my current career to the knowledge gained and friendships made at NFP Tweetup, and other events like it So, wherever you have the opportunity, go to these events.
And not only that – DM that person you tweet about charity stuff with and suggest a coffee sometime. Talk about the challenges of your role, what you hope to achieve and ask them about the same things. You’ll both walk away with new ideas, new ways of working and new tools to use when you get back to your desk.
I’m only sorry that I couldn’t stay longer at Barcamp NFP drinks – in person chats get even more interesting with a drink in hand…
P.S. Come along for an after-work drink to SLAMDUNC next Wednesday if you missed Barcamp NFP to experience this phenomenon for yourself.