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Thu Aug 23 2007 14:13:31

Craigslist Foundation Nonprofit Boot Camp

By: Tom Shaughnessy

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Note: Tom Shaughnessy is guest-blogging for the AuctionBytes Blog.

Last weekend, I attended the San Francisco Bay Area 4th Annual Craigslist Boot Camp in my tag-along-Tom role (I have tagged along with my wife - Barbara - to all six of the past eBay Live conferences). Barbara attended the Craigslist Boot Camp last year and was already registered to attend this year's event when eBay Giving Works (a corporate sponsor of the event) retained Barbara to speak at one of the conference seminars on eBay Giving Works. Barbara (http://www.linkedin.com/in/barbshaughnessy) has been a panelist at eBay Live Giving Works sessions for the past three years. The conference was held at the University of California Berkeley and was attended by two thousand people (Boot Campers).

While most events were held indoors throughout the campus and at the student union, workshops were also held outside. The weather was beautiful: Moderate temperatures, low humidity, just perfect California weather (figure 1).


Figure 1: Outdoor workshops

The fact that eBay provided sponsorship of the event is consistent with last year's eBay Live recognition of Giving Works and the overall corporate commitment of the eBay Giving Works program.

The Boot Camp structure was similar to that of eBay Live conferences: Keynote addresses (two versus one), exhibit hall, training seminars. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack were provided without charge. Signage indicated that food was donated by various organizations throughout the Bay Area. Imagine free food at all eBay Live conferences! The tone of the conference was also different. The focus was "connecting the next generation of nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs". Not that money was an overlooked issue: During the keynote address, Ami Dar (Action Without Borders/Idealist.org) mentioned how vital money is to nonprofits and how nonprofits don't earn money through traditional sales channels and rely instead upon donations and philanthropy (figure 2).


Figure 2: Ami Dar at the Keynote address

Helping to generate cash-flow (money) for nonprofits through the eBay marketplace is the mission of Giving Works. During pre-keynote material projected inside Zellerbach Hall the eBay Giving Works seminar appeared numerous times (figure 3).


Figure 3: eBay Giving Works seminar Keynote announcements

The eBay Giving Works seminar was very well attended. The room was packed - every seat was taken and after several minutes, Boot Campers lined the walls. Well over a hundred Boot Campers crammed into the room (figure 4). Questions were rapid and usually very well focused. At the end of the allotted time, many remained to ask specific questions. The session could easily have lasted several hours.

Key points of the Giving Works Seminar included requirements for nonprofit MissionFish registration and the benefits of eBay Giving Works community and direct selling.


Figure 4: Boot Campers attending the eBay Giving Works seminar

The next Craigslist Nonprofit Boot Camp is scheduled for 9/15/07 in New York with potential future Boot Camps in Washington DC., Chicago and Los Angeles. See http://www.craigslistfoundation.org  for more information.

See the following links for more information on MissionFish and the eBay Giving Works program:

http://www.missionfish.org

http://givingworks.ebay.com

Even from my non-involved role as tag-along-Tom the Boot Camp was an enjoyable experience and certainly worth the time and effort - especially so if involved in nonprofit activities.

Tom Shaughnessy is co-founded and Vice-President of PowerCET Corporation, which provides consulting and training services in support of the power and electronics industries.




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