Amy Sample Ward is dedicated to educating and supporting organizations in using technology to create meaningful community engagement and make lasting change. Whether it is by connecting individuals, organizations, campaigns, or possibilities, Amy hopes to facilitate the nonprofit technology sector transitioning into a movement-based force for positive change.
In addition to serving as NTEN’s CEO, she is a speaker, author, and trainer having worked with groups and spoken at events around the world. In 2013, she co-authored Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to implement online multichannel strategies to spark advocacy, raise money, and engage your community with Allyson Kapin. She previously co-authored Social by Social, a handbook in using social technologies for social impact, and has contributed to various other publications about social change and technology.
After opportunities to live and travel around the US and beyond, she is happy to be back in her native state of Oregon. Offline, Amy is hiking, biking, or exploring with her husband and dog, with a preference for Oregon’s coast or wine country.
1- In no more than three sentences, please explain what you do
I help nonprofit staff and social changemakers understand the potential they have for being more effective and efficient in engaging their community and reaching their mission with the use of technology. As the CEO of NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network, I have the incredible job of working with an amazing team to support 70,000 people who are part of the NTEN community, and to connect with organizations and individuals not yet in the community by traveling, speaking, and sharing resources all over the world. I have a really great job.
2- Who inspires you?
I am inspired every day by people in the NTEN community – whether it’s stories of impact that an organization’s made or the value that our programs provided for an individual, members who offer to purchase an extra registration to the conference to provide a spot for someone who otherwise couldn’t afford to participate or the hundreds of people each year who so generously and openly share their ideas and expertise for others to learn from. I am also always inspired by acts of genuine kindness. I cry pretty easily!
3- What is the biggest change you want to see in the world?
There are so many things that I could say here, but when I peel back all of the various layers and issue areas, what I really want is for everyone to be truly connected, for no one to be alone. I think technology holds many opportunities for us to better connect with each other. I also think that connections are necessary for making real, lasting change in our lives, communities, and world. Instead of perpetuating and creating arbitrary barriers between ourselves and others, we should be working to take down barriers and pave meaningful pathways for all members of our communities and cities to participate.
4- What would you like to be remembered for?
Oh wow; that’s a big question. I’m not sure, to be honest.
I’d like to be remembered for being part of something – whether organizations, campaigns, events, relationships – that made others feel welcome, valued, and part of making an impact together. I’d like to be a good person, and I think that’s a pretty big goal.
5- What is the most interesting new idea you’ve come across in the past year?
There are new ideas every day; that’s what Twitter is for, right? I’ve really loved the evolution and advancements in the last year around making the financial world more accessible to people regardless of the local currency, their financial or technical literacy, and their Internet or even physical bank access.
6- Finally, how can people engage with your work if they’d like to learn more/help?