On September 16, 2011, the Nonprofit Commons, the longest running and largest community of nonprofits in the virtual world, celebrated its fourth anniversary with a series of events. We received nearly 300 visitors to the archipelago, who enjoyed musical performances, a fashion show, exhibit booths created by our members, and socializing with our members and friends.
A highlight of the festivities was the kick-off gathering from 8:30am to 10am PDT at the Plush Nonprofit Commons archipelago. Here are some highlights of the presentations during that time.
I would like to just say that I am so very grateful to all of you who have shown up dutifully, every week for all these years. This is an entirely volunteer-run community , and most of the space was donated. I am also very grateful to TechSoup for being innovative enough to believe in this platform to support a global community of nonprofit innovators.
Please remember that this is not our only way of connecting, and be sure to make this one spoke in the wheel. We are all connected via our various communities, and also, we hope you come to us with feedback if you have it. Thanks again for the many years of volunteer service, and I look forward to seeing you all at future TechSoup online events. The way you can help us keep this community sustainable is to tell your nonprofit friends about TechSoup. Also, participate in our various online events.
After Glitteractica, we welcomed Viale Linden, head of marketing at Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life:
I wanted to congratulate your team on four years in Second Life. It is great to see non-profits are continuing to see value in using SL to support their missions. Nonprofits are a great part of the diversity of SL.
SL users have a stronger interest in altruism and affecting real world social good than some outside SL may realize, and groups like this offer the community a way to have an impact, while helping RL organizations further their missions.
Just one correction Rik. I am not a VIP. The community is. Mayo clinic, Virtual Ability. I don't even come close.
My team leads community efforts at the lab and many of you heard at SLCC we have a change in philosophy. It's not about LL and kiss a linden events. Its all about the community being brought forward. You can see this with our Destination Guide efforts. The white space in SL is unlimited self expression and shared creativity - the community does this like no other community. The non profits are big part of this.
And it is always an eye opener for the RL folks that have never heard of SL. Rik, Susan - you have obviously made this happen here by looking at the diversity. if your communities need our help bringing the value forward - please contact us at email@example.com. Thanks all.
One of our veteran members and leaders in the community, Mr. Coughran Mayo of Preferred Family Healthcare, offered his greetings:
I can say with certainty that finding NPC when I first got to Second Life was one of the true factors that made it "sticky" for me. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
I remember when we dedicated Plush, and I was able to say a few words then about the future of SL for nonprofits. Cerainly this has proven to be an important factor in the advancement of Preferred Family Healthcare over the past few years. We have received a lot of good publicity about our smart use of new technology, from many outside sources. And a not insignificant amount of grant money to pilot projects.
The best part is the many friends I have made in the nonprofit community around the world. People I would neve have met but for the SL/NPC experience.
HB Eternal of Love Foundation talked about how Second Life has expanded the reach of his organization:
The Love Foundation came to SL in April 2010 to host our first ever virtual version event for Global Love Day on May 1st where over 200 people participated inworld. Three weeks later we came to NPC in Plush and since then have had over 600 visitors to our office, making many new RL friends....
This May 1st we held our Global Love Day virtual event for the second time on a beachfront gifted to us by volunteers and had over 1,000 visitors during the day, again offering TLF info and teleports to our NPC office. Since we are connected to people in over 140 countries in RL, SL has been a great opportunity to meet and get to know some of our international contacts inworld. We have had 5 CNN iReports written about TLF both for Global Love Day and our presence in NPC.
It has been an amazing and fruitful collaboration among so many wonderful people here in NPC and SL and we are grateful to everyone for their friendship and support!
Chayenn of Protect Yourself 1 talked about her work on HIV/AIDS:
Our organization Protect Yourself 1 was set up by sarvana haalan beginning of this year. The Protect Yourself 1, Inc.'s mission is to increase Awareness, Education and Prevention of HIV and related diseases by using art, entertainment, nature, animals and events to foster a sense of individual responsibility that encourages positive behavioral change among the general public. Protect Yourself 1, Inc.'s Goals: to decrease the taboos, myths and stigma associated with the HIV virus, to lower the number of new infections and reduce HIV transmission.
Thank you to you TechSoup we can network and collaborate here in NPC. We have social marketing media campaigns one called safe2live, HIV prevention for youth using mobile puppet theater and PSA, and one for adult Protect Yourself.
Calliope Lexington of the Italian nonprofit Espica talked about her work:
I represent an Italian group, Esplica-non profit - Laboratory for the Cultural and Scientific dissemination in the digital age is an Italian RL and SL group. It started in 2010, but the groups that joined had been engaged in scientific-cultural dissemination in Second Life since 2008. The initiatives of Esplica are addressed to the general public, the young, the school and learning, and are the natural cross-bridge from the cultural experiences in the virtual environment, to Real Life.
We think SL is also important to knock down physical and psycho-cultural barriers, differently abled. Esplica promotes: cultural and formative activities for the general public, the school, the professions, the social activities, voluntary work and leisure; Our activities remark the correlations between their artistic, literary, musical, historical, pictorial aspects, with the scientific or technological ones;
We organizes cross-universe events ( RL-SL). For example "Let's read in Second Life" last fall, an exhibition of digital publishing inworld,connected with the eBookFest in RL in Italy.
We discovered NPC Googling for"non profit" and "Second Life", the programmes, the meetings inworld. And hope to start a collaboration with the other groups that are so far as I've know so far really engaged and advanced on the way of using the virtual environment for RL purposes.
Finally Buffy Beale, one of the organizers of the celebration and a "mentor" at the Nonprofit Commons, closed out the meeting:
SL has been a path leading me to the most beautiful kind-hearted loving and caring people I could ever dream to meet, friends who are near and dear to my heart despite the fact they look like a pink cat, a silly furry, a towering fairy, a penguin, a Transformer, a cabbage, a robot, running around with funny headphones on, or wearing funny hats, or clad in daring attire ready to rock makes me almost want to change to human form, to name a few.
It's been meeting the heart and mind behind the avatars who, like me are striving to make a difference however small for the good in life for all; people who are here for the educational side who work hard to make SL work as a classroom; or people who laugh and dance and sing and create astonishing things to be marveled at. These people negate any and all of the seedy and ugly side of SL for me, they make both of my worlds a better place.
So it's people like all of you here today who have joined us from around the world to help us celebrate the fact we have not just survived, but have expanded and we'll continue to grow I just know it.
Thank you TechSoup, you are my hope that one day all non-profits will be connected to work smarter together while keeping current with technology. I know the SL Nonprofit Commons is a very very small part of what you do but to me it is the cherry on top.
A special wave to the organizers of today's event, MacZ Urbanowicz, Parhelion Palou, Brena Benoir and Zinnia Zauber and to those who came and put up a display, this is no small task to put on, so thank you for all your effort to mark this wonderful day.
And finally, thank you so much everyone for coming here today to join in our celebration of our 4th year at the Nonprofit Commons, feel the magic and warmth as you walk around, I just know my gushing will rub off on you :)
And a special special thank you to Glitter for having the vision to see this come true four years ago, I heard how you had to plead for this Glitter.
We couldn't have said it better ourselves, Buffy! Thanks to everyone who came and made this fourth anniversary celebration so special.