My Personal Learning Environment
Using Facebook in Your Nonprofit

23 Things for Nonprofits--Need Your Help

Learning 2.0 and the 23 Things is a really cool series of Web 2.0 learning activities put together by North Carolina's Charlotte & Mecklenburg County public library to train library staff in how to use new media. (You can read Wired Magazine's coverage of their efforts here)

Like many good Web 2.0 citizens, they've kindly made their program available under a Creative Commons license, and I'm starting to look into the idea of adapting what they did to use with nonprofits as a sort of companion piece to my Web 2.0 in Nonprofits wiki and David Wilcox's Social Media wiki (although I haven't mentioned it to David yet). :-) For me it would be helpful to support a few projects I'm working on, but I also think it could have a benefit/application to the larger nonprofit community.

So here's where I need some help . . .

Is There a Need for a Learning 2.0 in Nonprofits?
First, take a quick look at the Learning 2.0 site and see what they did. Am I right that there might be some value in doing something like this specifically for nonprofits? Would it be helpful to have a series of "Discovery Activities" on using social media that could be mixed/matched and played with to further explore Web 2.0 and how it could fit into nonprofits? I know that there's a ton of great stuff out there and I'm not trying to re-invent the wheel. I'm seeing this more as a way to pull resources together into some manageable "chunks" for folks that they could pursue on their own or in small learning communities. I think the future of staff development is in these kinds of small, ongoing learning experiments, so it also gives me a way to play around with this idea more.

What Topical Areas Should Be Covered?
If you do think this is a good idea, then the second area where I could use feedback is in the topics. A lot of what the Learning 2.0 folks put together is generally applicable to nonprofits, but I'm also thinking that there are some additional areas that NPO staff would want to explore that weren't included in the original 23 Things. What I'm looking for here are the basic skills/tools that we think would be most useful in nonprofits. The topic areas I'm considering are:

  • An Introduction to Lifelong Learning (from the original)
  • Setting up a Blog (The original lessons used Blogger. I'm considering Vox or even Tumblr. Thoughts on that? I want it to be easy and fun, so these seem like better options to me)
  • Exploring Flickr for photosharing and playing with some Flickr Mashups
  • Using Slideshare for PowerPoint (Beth Kanter has a great screencast on using Flickr for Powerpoint, so maybe this isn't necessary, but for those of us who aren't huge Flickr users, Slideshare might be a good option)
  • Setting Up RSS and using Google Reader (the original lessons used Bloglines, which is an option, too. Although I'm tending towards Google Reader since so many people are starting to use Google as an integrated thing).
  • Setting up a Feed for Your Blog
  • Tagging and Social Bookmarking--I'm seeing and technorati here.
  • Wikis
  • Social Networking Sites--I'm feeling like there are two sides to this. One is participating in existing sites, like Facebook and MySpace. The other is setting up your own network. I just set up a site with Ning and I really liked how easy it was. Seems like a tool that should be explored as part of this process.
  • Using Widgets
  • LinkedIn
  • Creating an eportfolio of your work.
  • Multimedia--Videos and Podcasts

Is this list too ambitious? Are there particular areas that need focus? What would you add or get rid of? Also, I feel like this list is fairly "tool-oriented" rather than "skill-oriented." Are there some specific digital literacy areas that should be added?  All thoughts appreciated on the list.

Are There Specific Lessons/Activities You'd Recommend?
Like I said, I know that there's a lot of good stuff out there to support these Learning 2.0 chunks. Are there any in particular that you would recommend need to be incorporated into the activities? Any good tutorials, screencasts, videos, podcasts, etc? Open to any and all ideas here.

Next Steps
Right now, this is just something I'm thinking about doing--part of my thinking about needing to act from abundance. It would be a pretty big project and I'm probably crazy to even really consider doing it. But obviously that hasn't stopped me before. One thought I'm having is that I could potentially start the series here, doing periodic lessons, and then add them to a separate site as I go. That might be more manageable. At any rate, it would be really helpful to get feedback from others, so as always, email me or drop me a line in comments.

UPDATE--In doing some more thinking on this, I think I'd want to add some productivity tools to this mix--maybe Diigo and some of "To Do" list tools that are out there. I also wanted to do something with is so amazing and for a lot of people, really helpful.



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


This is pretty funny - I'm working up something similar for some upcoming training workshops I'm giving later this spring.

However, it's a lot of tackle, so I'm developing it in chunks. Right now I'm focusing tagging and social bookmarking and have a few discovery activities - which will be implemented online/webinar - because that the delivery mechanism for the instruction.

I'm also doing a session with individual artists/filmmakers on web2.0 and using the ten steps piece - but remixing a game a la David's approach - but this is more like personal learning game or personal first steps towards web 2.0.

I like were you are going with your thinking and plan Michelle. I am soon launching a blog and a wiki to a small group of practitioners working within a community of practice approach. These are educators, youth workers, crisis workers, mental health workers who work with youth experiencing poverty and or homelessness (also at risk of}. I have many of the similar resources stored in various locations (my blog, in-house wiki etc) but your organizing effort with accompanying "step by step " process will be a great help to me as I introduce these tools. Many of the practitioners are new to using ICT and are quite leery of diving into this world.

I think if you get the "ball rolling" through your plan, others with similar interest especially, from the non profit world will engage and hopefully contribute in some way. My one suggestion is to have have a best practice category, pulling together (showing) what NGO's and non profits are doing to engage their constituents with web 2.0 tools, would be great.

I will keep tracking your progress and contribute where I can, especially with my learning from applying these tools in our learning community (community of practice).

I really enjoy your Bamboo Blog!

Brent MacKinnon

Thanks for the feedback, Beth and Brent.

Brent, for the best practice stuff, you may want to check out my Web 2.0 in Nonprofits site (see link in right sidebar), which has some examples, although I need more.

Also, for both of you, from the list of topics I included, I'd be curious to know if you think that there are particular areas to cover first or where you think people would want to start.

Great idea Michele ... happy to help with anything from the socialmedia wiki work

I agree - this is a great idea.

As much as hands-on, step-by-step instruction on how to use these tools, I'd want examples of how nonprofits and government agencies have put these tools to work. Sometimes people need to see how their peers have done it in order to imagine that it can be done. Best practices - or even worst experiences (how we learned what NOT to do) - would be great. I'll definitely be checking out the places you've mentioned above for examples.

In the nonprofit world I seem to see Web 2.0 tools used a lot for advocacy, communication & fundraising. I'm not finding many examples of nonprofits (or gov't agencies) using them to provide direct services to clients, to enhance peer learning among program participants, or for program evaluation. Am I missing something, or is this the reality?

In my experience, the main bedrock of "learning 2.0" is not so much the technical know-how of how to use each of the tools, but an attitude toward technology/internet that provides the user with an understanding of *why* they should use those tools. I think a unit in the program that provided a basis like that would be crucial for the following tool tutorials to "stick" and be relevant to the user.

I realise that this is learning *2.0* specifically, but in the nonprofit area I'm working in, so many groups don't even see the value of having a presence online at all, let alone be at a point where they can consider what social media tools to use! I almost feel like a 101 on how information and communication occurs (and is important) online is necessary, too. (I come to this conclusion after having a look at the 23 steps - and the list above - and thinking about how the organisations I deal with would react to it as it is - mostly with befuddlement as to why I was showing it to them, I think.)

I've had thoughts on this kind of thing percolating for a few days, and this post of yours has helped me get my mind into order. So, thanks!

Bronwyn, I agree with you that there seems to be very little going on in terms of using Web 2.0 for services, staff training or evaluation. In fact, I posted about that a few weeks ago as part of my thinking around abundance. I find it really frustrating, actually, that we're looking at these tools to raise money, but not to improve the quality of services or staff training. That's actually what interests me more and I find myself writing and thinking about that much more frequently. Any ideas you have on this are most welcome.

Emily--you make a good point here about the need to convey the importance of an online presence and web 1.0. I just did a post on how nonprofits can get online very easily, but it sounds like you think that at least for some nonprofits, a better case needs to be made for that. Do you have any suggestions for what kinds of arguments might move people? I know that part of what we'd need to say is that more people are turning first to the Internet. But I wonder what else is important here.

Emily - you've hit it right on. Nonprofit staff hear us talking about online tools, and what they hear is "more work." Their reaction so often is, "This is complicated, I don't have time to learn it or use it, and really it doesn't help me help my clients/ customers/ program participants."

We need to help them understand *why* this stuff is useful, and *how* it can support their day-to-day work - maybe even help them get their jobs done more effectively and efficiently.

The comments to this entry are closed.