Even though I have been interning and volunteering in the nonprofit sector for over a year, I have found out that there is a lot out there that I didn’t even know about. This realization pushed me to make a better effort at getting in touch with the nonprofit community and to understand the conversations that other Nonprofiteers are taking part in.

I was tired of feeling like the new kid at school and wanted to understand the meta-messages and jargon that was being thrown over my head. When I started here, the number 501 was meant nothing and a 990 was just an ACT or GRE Test score to me . So I went on a search to see how I can better be connected to the nonprofit sector.

The first thing I did was search for websites and blogs that were devoted to the nonprofit sector. I found wonderful information from sites like NTEN, TechSoup, and Idealist. I know that these are primarily technology oriented, but they pointed me in the right direction to find out about great nonprofit blogs like Beth’s Blog, Wild Apricot Blog, Blue Avocado, and 501derful. These useful sites opened my eyes to a world of active, passionate Nonprofiteers that I had no idea existed.

From these local and national blogs I was able to identify key people the 501 world that contribute. Some local influencers came up like Andrea Ball and David Neff and some nationally renowned folks like Beth Kanter and Dan Palotta appeared to show up as well.

By just scratching the surface I was able to find out about philanthropy trends from blogs like Philanthropy 101, I was able to see how other nonprofits were using technology from sources like TechSoup, and I was able to grasp the Austin nonprofit community from people like Monica Williams who writes Giving City Austin.

While I have not met many if any of these people in person, I have learned so much from them. Now I try and keep up with all the information flying around with utilities like Google Reader; which helps me organize my Blog and Community rss feeds, and Tweetdeck; which allows me to organize who I follow via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

All of this information has led me to become more in tune with the nonprofit world and has also allowed me to see how I fit within that world. I am glad I have been able to embrace technology as a tool to help me understand the nonprofit world and hope that you too can become in tune with your job and passion in the same way.

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