[Evangelism] report of the Plone Foundation booth at NTEN NTC conference in San Francisco

Nate Aune natea at jazkarta.com
Thu Apr 30 07:21:48 UTC 2009

I'm just returning from attending the NTEN NTC conference
(http://nten.org/ntc), the largest conference about non-profit
technology in the US, which took place in San Francisco this year.
This was the first time that the Plone Foundation had a booth at the
exhibitor's "Science Fair" which took ran from 3pm-8pm on sunday. The
foot traffic to the booth was much greater than anticipated, and there
was a lot of interest in Plone from the 1,400 attendees of the

Many people came up and asked about Plone and how it compared to
Drupal and Joomla. Luckily we had reprints of the Plone excerpt from
the Idealware OSS CMS report to hand out to people, and the Idealware
booth was right next to ours, so we could send them next door to
inquire about the full 60 pg report.

We also had a lot of questions about Plone and Salesforce integration,
as this is the holy grail for non-profits to have their CMS integrated
with their CRM for donor management and tracking their constituents
level of engagement with their organization. The only other vendors
providing this level of integration are large commercial vendors such
as Convio and Blackbaud who charge a minimum of $30,000 per year,
which pretty much leaves the smaller non-profits turning to open
source solutions such as Plone combined with the free Salesforce
Nonprofit Starter Pack.

The booth had pretty much non-stop traffic for the 3-8pm hours of the
expo. The 5 of us were plenty busy answering questions and showing
demos of Plone+Salesforce integration on the 17" monitor, while we had
screencasts rolling on the 23" Cinema display. We ran out of the 15
Questions about Plone brochures
and we gave out a lot of the little Plone stickers and bumper
stickers. Thanks to Six Feet Up for printing them.

Lessons learned:

1) make some Plone+Salesforce screencasts and show them on the big
screen. Chris ended up being a bottleneck because he could only show
one person at a time on the little monitor.

2) make a brochure about "Plone for Nonprofits" which highlights NPOs
that are using Plone, more info about the Salesforce integration. This
provides a "take home" that they can show their boss. It's hard to
capture a conversation and re-summarize it when you get back home.

3) Giving away the Practical Plone book was a good way to get people
to drop their business cards into the glass bowl for a chance to win
the free book.

4) Printing up a large format vinyl banner with grommets is not too
expensive at Kinkos (around $100). Thanks to David Brenneman for
taking care of this! (I only wish we had discovered the 25% off coupon
on banners before we paid for it ;)

Thanks to Jon Stahl, Chris Johnson, David Brenneman, Ross Patterson
and Alexander Limi for helping out at the booth!  We're planning to
apply for a Plone Foundation booth at the OpenSourceWorld dotorg
pavilion that is taking place in August, also in San Francisco, so if
you would like to help out with this, please let us know!


Nate Aune - natea at jazkarta.com
Sign up for Plone Developer training on the Amalfi Coast of Italy (5/11-12).

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