Yesterday was a "pre-day" for the annual Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) here in Washington DC.  Microsoft's Community Affairs team hosted a "Day in the Cloud," a series of sessions providing a deeper look at some of the online tools and how they can be useful for nonprofits.

The day's sessions included a look at Windows Live SkyDrive and the Office Web Apps, which enable people to create, collaborate and share documents and information. We also explored Bing Maps and the different Bing Map Applications that nonprofits can use to share valuable information and insight such as rich visual representations of community health metrics and service locations. One of the highlights of this session was Photosynth, a neat tool that allows any individual to upload photos to a "synth" and create a multi-dimensional photographic array which can be used to complement storytelling and documentation. (We even took a virtual tour of some D.C. sites.)

Shawn Michael and Linda Widdop of NPower Seattle and NPower Pennsylvania, respectively, led a discussion on Dynamics CRM for Nonprofits. We had an informal lunch at DuPont Circle's Flippin Pizza, followed by a session on Microsoft's software donations program and an impromptu training session from NPower's Shawn Michael on SharePoint for nonprofits. There was a great deal of interest in our SharePoint for nonprofits webinar earlier this month; you can access a recording here.  

It was likely that the 2,000 wired technology professionals in the same hotel had something to do with the on and off connectivity issues, but in the end we managed to connect with Xbox 360 Kinect at the evening's Science Fair! The Microsoft Citizenship booth includes a Kinect, which was a highlight last night at the Science Fair for many. We hope to see you tonight; Dance Central dance-off anyone?

Thursday was a great conference pre-day, and we are looking forward to Friday's and Saturday's NTC sessions. You can follow the conversation, in real time, from this year's Nonprofit Technology Conference on twitter at #11NTC, or follow our team's tweets from @msftcitizenship. Watch our Facebook page for images from the conference as well.

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