Open Source Bidding and Innovation

A few weeks ago, Michelle Murrain asked a great question--How do we make change if we keep doing things the same way? (I would argue that you can't, but that's not the point of this post.) Now David Wilcox and some other collaborators are looking at how they can use a different process for a familiar nonprofit activity--responding to a Request for Proposal/Invitation to Tender (depending on your location). Writes... Read more →

Using Facebook in Your Nonprofit

I spent yesterday with my college freshman daughter who revealed to me the extent to which FaceBook has taken over the social lives of teens and twenty-somethings (with the "older folk" coming on fast). Let's just say that if it's not happening through FaceBook, then it's not happening. By sheer coincidence, I'd used the train ride into NYC to read (among other things) Fast Company's profile of 22-year old (!)... Read more →

Social Media and Web 2.0 Best Practices Wiki Carnival

A few weeks ago, David Wilcox contacted me to discuss our two wikis. His is Social Media A-Z, which I've mentioned earlier and mine is Best Practices in Using Web 2.0 in Nonprofits. Since then, via Skype and Google Docs, we've cobbled together an idea that we want to share and get feedback on before we start it up. (I should add that it was the always helpful and brilliant... Read more →

How to Make Online Collaboration Work

E-Learning Online reposts a great tip from Patti Shank, an instructional designer and principal for Learning Peaks, LLC. To make online collaborations work well, Patti suggests developing a team agreement that clearly articulates the following: Will the team have a leader and if so, who will this be, and will this role be rotated? How will work be distributed? Who will do what? Who is the designated backup? What work... Read more →

The Technology Steward and Communities of Practice

David Wilcox and I had a great conversation yesterday (my first opportunity to use Skype--thanks, David!) and among many topics, we discussed the concept of the technology steward in a community of practice.(David has been doing some thinking about it lately here.) In case you haven't seen this term, technology stewards have been defined by Nancy White, Etienne Wenger and John Smith as: “. . . people with enough experience... Read more →

A Great Teambuilding Exercise

Sass Hat asks: "A small nonprofit organization I assist on occasion is in the midst of a communication crisis among the members of its very small (<10) staff - infighting and communication breakdowns are happening with increasing frequency. I suggested they try some team building/communication exercises to get the (highly stressed) staff members to open up and understand each other a bit better. They asked me to try to find... Read more →

It's Not Just About "Good Enough," It's About Empowerment

My post earlier this week on disruptive innovations and "good enough" solutions sparked an interesting response from Niels Unis: "Bamboo gives the example of micro-lending which has changed many people’s lives. What is so effective about micro-lending, among other things, is that it empowers people to change their own lives finding solutions in situations that they know and understand. This empowerment, however, is a radical idea, and much more than... Read more →

When Funding Priorities Change

An article in this morning's Marin Independent Journal about the impact of Marin Community Foundation funding cuts led me to this article on the Foundation's recent decision to change their funding priorities: The foundation announced in June that its board of trustees had decided to split its giving equally between sustaining and initiating grants. As a result, nonprofit organizations that serve some of Marin's neediest residents will have to reconfigure... Read more →

Creating Nonprofit Skill Networks

Lately I've been exploring the concepts of nonprofit networks here, what it takes to form and nurture connections among various nonprofits and between nonprofits and individuals. We've talked about building connectivity networks that link people to people, affinity networks that reinforce commonalities among network members and production networks that move affinities into collective action. The other day I was researching learning management systems for a client interested in tracking staff... Read more →

Need to Mashup a Google Map? Try Wayfaring

In a meeting yesterday, a couple of my clients wanted to be able to see the locations of various employers in their community on a map, but weren't sure how to do this. I knew that this was something we could do using Google Maps, but not being a programmer, I also knew it was beyond my minimal capacities to be fooling around with Google's API. So I started to... Read more →