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Nonprofit Online News The Best of 2005 This report compiles 127 of the best resources from Nonprofit Online News in 2005 organized into 44 categories, including Evaluation, Strategy, Leadership, Communication & PR, Software, Community Building, Knowledge & Learning, Collaboration, Planning, and a good number of cross cutting issues. Titles of all resources are live hyperlinks. Nonprofit Online News has been in continual publication by The Gilbert Center since April 1997 and is written & edited by Michael C. Gilbert. Free email subscriptions are available through the web site.

Nonprofit Online News: http://www.nonprofitnews.org The Gilbert Center: http://www.gilbert.org


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Table of Contents 3 ..... Organization 3 ..... Evaluation 6 ..... General Considerations 12 ..... History 14 ..... Liability 15 ..... Mission & Purpose 16 ..... Planning 18 ..... Policy Issues 19 ..... Start Up 20 ..... Strategy 23 ..... Systems & Standards 24 ..... Types of Nonprofits

25 ..... Management

66 ..... Regulations 66 ..... Advocacy 68 ..... Federal Laws 69 ..... Federal Regulations 70 ..... Lobbying 71 ..... Political Action

72 ..... Resources 72 ..... Books (Bibliography) 73 ..... Community Building 77 ..... Government Agencies 78 ..... International Organizations 81 ..... Knowledge & Learning 86 ..... Philanthropy 88 ..... Politics/Policy 89 ..... Research Organization & Reports 91 ..... Terminology 92 ..... Websites

25 ..... Budget & Finance 26 ..... Collaboration 30 ..... Communication & PR 39 ..... Compensation 40 ..... Databases 41 ..... Internet Use 93 ..... Development 49 ..... Leadership 93 ..... Development 51 ..... Marketing 94 ..... Foundations 53 ..... Meetings 95 ..... Fundraising 54 ..... Personnel 56 ..... Research & Data Collection 57 ..... Software 97 ..... Copyright 60 ..... Theories of Management 64 ..... Training 65 ..... Volunteer Programs

During the year, Nonprofit Online News organizes its resources as a weblog, in chronological order. For this compilation, we have instead grouped them according to the Nonprofit FAQ Keyword table, which can be found at: http://www.nonprofits.org

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Organization Evaluation

Seven Knowledge Management Mistakes http://news.gilbert.org/7KMMistakes

Writing for me is a way of testing my ideas, a tool for thinking. Sometimes, that thinking is s real pleasure, which was the a case with writing our newest feature article, based on a section of my recent Logic of Learning workshop: Seven Knowledge Management Mistakes . The seven mistakes that I explore are called: 1. Letʼs Go Shopping! 2. Taxonomy Too! 3. Mixed Messages. 4. “Best” Practices. 5. Documental Illness. 6. Another Thing to Read. 7. The Work of Art.

eRider Starter Kit

http://www.eriders.net/docs/resource/366_eRider_starter_kit_V.1_3006_web.pdf

In the process of researching an article for a forthcoming publication from N-TEN, I found myself lingering over Tactical Techʼs free ebook called the eRider Starter Kit (92 page PDF). In essence, itʼs a basic guide to nonprofit technology consulting and it shows the maturity of the field and the accumulated wisdom of Theresa Crawford and her colleagues. For example, it goes further than most such guides in developing some opening inquiries that are not too technocentric. Itʼs packed with checklists and other forms that would provide solid support for the integrity of any consultant. Itʼs published under a Creative Commons license, for the widest possible distribution. And itʼs prominently labeled version 1.0, so I would encourage every user to offer their feedback for future editions.

Toward a Conceptual Framework for Evaluating Social Change Networks http://www.mande.co.uk/docs/Towards%20a%20Conceptual%20Framework%20for%20Evalua ting%20Networks.pdf

In their case study of the Oilwatch Network, entitled Toward a Conceptual Framework for Evaluating Social Change Networks (7 page PDF), Martha Nunez and Ricardo Wilson-Grau propose four criteria: (1) Democracy, (2) Diversity, (3) Dynamism, and (4) Excellence. These criteria are applied to three major aspects of the networkʼs operation: (1) political purpose and strategies, (2) organisation and management, and (3) leadership and participation.

The Hard Work of Failure Analysis

http://hbsworkingknowledge.hbs.edu/item.jhtml?id=4959&t=organizations

Writing in the Harvard Business Schoolʼs Working Knowledge newsletter, Amy Edmondson and Mark Cannon look at The Hard Work of Failure Analysis . Sadly, I think that many philanthropists and nonprofit leaders are better avoiders of failure than they are seekers of success. This leads to a great many lost lessons.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Evaluation (cont)

Role Models of Rigor and Vision: Barbara Kibbe and The Skoll Foundation http://news.gilbert.org/KibbeSkollFdn

One of the great rewards of my work is the people I get to meet. In Role Models of Rigor and Vision , I profile Barbara Kibbe and her current work. I have been an admirer of hers for nearly a decade now and I think she has found a great partnership in her new home at the Skoll Foundation, where she directs the Social Sector Program and initiatives related to the effectiveness of the foundation itself.

Guidelines for Measuring Trust in Organizations http://www.instituteforpr.com/pdf/2003_measuring-trust.pdf

The Institute for Public Relations has published a set of Guidelines for Measuring Trust in Organizations (17 page PDF). It might offer some insight to those of you who are into measuring things, as I sometimes can be. But it might just be an odd exercise, when looked at from the nonprofit perspective, where trust is the very currency of our existence.

Practice Matters: The Improving Philanthropy Project http://www.foundationcenter.org/for_grantmakers/practice_matters/

The Foundation Center maintains a set of online resources called Practice Matters: The Improving Philanthropy Project . These are lengthy, well developed papers on great topics in philanthropy. I recommend the entire series, but I particularly enjoyed the material on creativity, communication, and capacity building.

Philanthropy始s New Clothes

http://www.foundationnews.org/CME/article.cfm?ID=3272

In Philanthropy始s New Clothes , Kathleen Enright looks at why honest feedback is sometimes hard to find in the field of philanthropy. Only a small fraction of grantmakers solicit feedback from grantees. A great many demand practices of their grantees that they themselves don始t do. There are some hopeful signs of change, and her article is very much a call to action.

Online Donor Cultivation: The Quest for Metrics http://news.gilbert.org/cultivation2005

I just taught an online workshop yesterday on the subject of online donor cultivation, as part of our Frictionless Fundraising series. I believe that two of the great opportunities of online fundraising are the ability to cheaply cultivate relationships with many donors and the ability to track that cultivation numerically. I address the latter issue in my latest article entitled Online Donor Cultivation: The Quest for Metrics.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Evaluation (cont)

WKKF Logic Model Development Guide

http://www.wkkf.org/Pubs/Tools/Evaluation/Pub3669.pdf

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has an excellent guide to logic model development (64 page PDF). This is a great resource for project planners and proposal writers, covering techniques for modeling your theory of change, your implementation, and your evaluation process.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

General Considerations

How to be an Activist

http://www.sierraclub.ca/activist-publication/

Itʼs been around for years, but I just came across Elizabeth Mayʼs article on How to be an Activist . Itʼs a simple introduction to lobbying, press relations, grassroots campaign tactics, and some of the philosophical, social, and emotional basics of what it means to be an activist. I would give this to any new volunteer in an advocacy organization. The fundraising advice is weak and caters to some of the classic weaknesses of many organizations, such as an unfortunate predilection for raising money from events. But there is plenty of practical wisdom in this short piece to make up for that.

ACLU: FBI Spy Files

http://www.aclu.org/spyfiles/

If you want to find out if the FBI has been spying on your organization, there is no single way to do so. But you can start by looking at the files that have been made public by the ACLU. They are highly redacted, but itʼs a start.

Benchmarking Digital Inclusion

http://public.gov3.net/public_pages/limited/global/news/news_articles/Benchmarking%20Digita l%20Inclusion%20White%20Paper.pdf

A new report entitled Benchmarking Digital Inclusion (36 page PDF) groups countries together on the basis of factors such as size, economic strength, and technology infrastructure. It argues that if the leaders in each group could help those doing less well, millions more people across the world would be online. This report is partly promotional in nature, coming from a consultancy that would help share such practices, but the numbers are solid and the recommendations sensible.

Spirit Rising

http://www.coanews.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=451

In Spirit Rising , Michael Nagler describes “A Hundred Flowers in Search of a Garden”. That is his metaphor for the many progressive, spiritually motivated people who lack a coherent movement within which to do meaningful work at the scale of which their numbers would suggest they are capable. But his experience with this is the same as mine: Too many people want such a thing to come together for it not to happen.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

General Considerations (cont)

Whose Vision of an Information Society? http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue10_5/pyati/

Today is the last day of official meetings of the World Summit on the Information Society being held in the censorship-rife country of Tunisia. There have been parallel events, protests, and highly critical commentary about the Summit, much of which makes for interesting reading. Iʼm encouraged by the connections that have been made between civil society actors in the context of this event, as much as I am discouraged by the content of the event itself. So, rather than a pile of links to this particular issue or that particular outrage, I will point you to Ajit Pyatiʼs excellent piece in First Monday earlier this year: WSIS: Whose vision of an information society?

Source book on Public Service Broadcasting published by UNESCO

http://portal.unesco.org/ci/admin/ev.php?URL_ID=20394&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_ SECTION=201

UNESCOʼs Source book on Public Service Broadcasting is an impressive collection that focuses on key notions such as editorial independence, universality, secured funding free of all pressures, distinctiveness, diversity, representativeness, unbiased information, education and enlightenment, social cohesion, citizenship, public accountability and credibility. Itʼs available as a PDF and as an interactive CD ROM.

Nonviolent Activists Placed on Terrorist List in FBI Notes http://coanews.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=334

Freedom of Information Act requests have revealed that nonviolent activist organizations have been placed on terrorist lists by the FBI . Combine this with other stories, if you will, such as the Utah police attacking young people at a dance with a paramilitary raid or recent federal court rulings that allow indefinite detention of American citizens without having to charge them with a crime. If your work is even remotely outside the mainstream, I would sincerely hope that you are discussing these threats at the highest levels of your organizationʼs leadership.

9/11 and Manipulation of the USA

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0911-29.htm

In 9/11 and Manipulation of the USA (an excerpt from his book, War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death), Norman Solomon looks at how the tragic crime of September 11, 2001 has been used to move us dramatically in the direction of a state of perpetual fear and war. Clearly it hasnʼt been used to make us more capable of responding to disaster. That is a very sad way to honor the people who died in that attack. Today, I only hope that we all find room in our actions for more fitting memorials.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

General Considerations (cont)

There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch http://news.gilbert.org/TINSTAAFL

In todayʼs feature article, There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch , Putnam Barber takes a hard hitting look at the culture of entitlement that is so prevalent in our sector. Although I do believe that you can be a tax protester with integrity, I agree that far too often, nonprofits try to justify some pretty dreadful things by pleading neediness. If you work with a lot of nonprofits, I think you will nod with recognition at his observations.

The Hard Work of Failure Analysis

http://hbsworkingknowledge.hbs.edu/item.jhtml?id=4959&t=organizations

Writing in the Harvard Business Schoolʼs Working Knowledge newsletter, Amy Edmondson and Mark Cannon look at The Hard Work of Failure Analysis . Sadly, I think that many philanthropists and nonprofit leaders are better avoiders of failure than they are seekers of success. This leads to a great many lost lessons.

Role Models of Rigor and Vision: Barbara Kibbe and The Skoll Foundation http://news.gilbert.org/KibbeSkollFdn

One of the great rewards of my work is the people I get to meet. In Role Models of Rigor and Vision , I profile Barbara Kibbe and her current work. I have been an admirer of hers for nearly a decade now and I think she has found a great partnership in her new home at the Skoll Foundation, where she directs the Social Sector Program and initiatives related to the effectiveness of the foundation itself.

How Citizensʼ Groups Destroy Themselves http://www.vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook/wilt.html

Charles Dobsonʼs take on How Citizensʼ Groups Destroy Themselves accurately reflects my own experience with dysfunctional organizations over the years. His key contributors to organizational demise are: (1) too little fun, (2) too much of an inward focus, (3) too many people (interesting one), (4) the wrong people, (5) too little contact, and (6) objectives outmatch resources.

Nonprofit Quarterly: Infrastructure Issue http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/section/496.html

If you havenʼt already read it and studied it, itʼs not too late to take in last Fallʼs Infrastructure Issue from the Nonprofit Quarterly. The full issue is available as a PDF, as are the individual articles. My favorite is “Why Every Foundation Should Fund Infrastructure”.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

General Considerations (cont)

Demos - Catalogue - Start with People

http://www.demos.co.uk/catalogue/startwithpeople/

John Craig and Paul Skidmoreʼs book Start with People is available in full at the Demos web site. (Demos is based in Britain and describes itself as a “think tank for everyday democracy”.) The book, based upon thoughtful and recent research, examines the critical role of community organizations in preserving and sustaining public participation and democratic processes.

Nonprofits and Public Broadcasting: We Need Each Other http://news.gilbert.org/NonprofitsPB

My short call to action yesterday does not do justice to either the urgency or the importance of the current threat to public broadcasting in the U.S. I firmly believe that there is a great deal of interdependence in the nonprofit sector. Public broadcasting is a great example of this. In my article, Nonprofits and Public Broadcasting: We Need Each Other , I describe that interdependence, some aspects of the current threat, and ask you to take action today.

Philanthropyʼs New Clothes

http://www.foundationnews.org/CME/article.cfm?ID=3272

In Philanthropyʼs New Clothes , Kathleen Enright looks at why honest feedback is sometimes hard to find in the field of philanthropy. Only a small fraction of grantmakers solicit feedback from grantees. A great many demand practices of their grantees that they themselves donʼt do. There are some hopeful signs of change, and her article is very much a call to action.

Ten Myths of Global Civil Society

http://www.charityvillage.com/cv/research/rsta22.html

Melanie Lovering documents Lester Salamonʼs Ten Myths of Global Civil Society in Charity Village. The ten myths are: Myth #1: That civil society is only made up of NGOs. Myth #2: That the civil society sector is a marginal actor economically. This is simply not true, as research assembled from countries all around the world proves. Myth #3 & 4: Civil society organizations are chiefly an American phenomenon and are not present in the welfare states of Europe, where reliance on government is greater; and that there is no civil society sector for all intents and purposes in the Scandinavian countries, where the welfare state is most fully developed. Myth #5 & 6: Volunteers play a more important role in the civil society workforce in developing than developed countries; and paid staff drives out reliance on volunteers. Myth #7: The civil society sector is mostly engaged in the provision of services. Myth #8 & 9: Philanthropy is the chief source of civil society revenue; and philanthropy is at least the chief source of civil society revenue in the United States. Myth #10: The civil society sector is growing at a slower rate than the private business sector.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

General Considerations (cont)

The Looking-Glass World of Nonprofit Money http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/section/704.html

Clara Miller has written a thought provoking, but infuriating piece in the current Nonprofit Quarterly entitled The Looking-Glass World of Nonprofit Money . Itʼs thought provoking because it points out the differences between nonprofit and for profit approaches to money, and in so doing, brings to light several areas of nonprofit practice that could use improvement. Whatʼs infuriating is how condescending the article ends up being, by using the business world as utterly normative and portraying the nonprofit world as though it were Lewis Carroll nonsense.

David Barnard and Michael Gilbert interviewed on South African radio http://sangonet.org.za/conference2005/sabc_interview_compressed.mp3

David Barnard of SANGONeT and I were interviewed last month on South African radio. We talked about the role of ICTs in civil society and in development. You can listen to us online , if you like. I was pleased to see the mainstream media take an interest!

Whither the Renaissance Man?

http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/05/issue/megaphone.asp?trk=nl

In Whither the Renaissance Man? , Michael Hawley explores the people and the social conditions that give rise to periods of innovation. He says we are woefully lacking in our versions of Benjamin Franklin and I think he may be right.

A Craving for Social Change

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/6826

In an expression of his frustration for the overselling of new technology, François Joseph de Kermadec writes about our craving for social change and how we get sucked into the hype.

Pragmatic Politics

http://www.ncrp.org/PDF/RP-Winter2005-CohenOpEd-ccrc-md.doc

In a hard hitting editorial called Pragmatic Politics (MS Word document), Rick Cohen of the National Center for Responsive Philanthropy makes his case that “something grave is missing from the moral compass of the nonprofit sector at this point in history”. In particular, he looks at nonprofit complicity in issues such as the elevation of Rick Santorum in the Senate, the passage of even more tax cuts, and targeted IRS investigations. I worry about his conclusion that, as a sector, we are too easily bought off.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

General Considerations (cont)

NGOs Win Greater Trust than Media and Businesses http://www.strategiy.com/anews.asp?id=20050126023803

According to an international poll, nonprofits are trusted more than media, businesses, or governments . This trend is particularly true in the United States, where trust ratings for nonprofits have risen from 36 percent in 2001 to 55 percent today. When you consider whatʼs happened in this country in the last four years, this should come as no surprise.

World Social Forum Principles

http://www.forumsocialmundial.org.br/main.php?id_menu=4&cd_language=2

The World Social Forum Principles are a great example of how to organize a constituency without dictating to it. The forum meets in Brazil next week to further develop strategies for a compassionate and just alternative to corporate globalization.

Dead Movement Walking?

http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2005/01/14/death_of_environmentalism/index.html

The environmental movement is one of the most devastating examples of how the inherent fragmentation of the nonprofit sector has led to failure. In Dead Movement Walking , Katharine Mieszkowski reviews the current turmoil faced by environmentalists who have been fighting small defensive battles for decades, and therefore losing. I agree with the underlying lesson that environmentalism cannot stand alone as a cause.

How Nonprofit Careerism Derailed the “Revolution” http://www.counterpunch.org/donnelly12272004.html

I have built my career around the common values of the nonprofit sector, even though Iʼm frequently criticized for speaking about those common values, which I regard as fundamentally progressive. Now, in a very thought provoking article, Michael Donnelly suggests that a progressive social change agenda has been undermined by the rise of the nonprofit sector in the last 50 years. In particular, he cites one of my ongoing concerns: the compartmentalization of issues and the isolation of different causes from each other, as a result of the patterns of funding and professionalization of the sector.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

History

The Rise of Professional Journalism

http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2427/

In an excerpt from their new book, Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols present a brief, eye opening history of The Rise of Professional Journalism . As someone who floats at the edges of the world of journalism -- as a blogger, as a source, as an editorialist -- Iʼm fascinated by how the profession came to be so captured by the powerful.

Spirit Rising

http://www.coanews.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=451

In Spirit Rising , Michael Nagler describes “A Hundred Flowers in Search of a Garden”. That is his metaphor for the many progressive, spiritually motivated people who lack a coherent movement within which to do meaningful work at the scale of which their numbers would suggest they are capable. But his experience with this is the same as mine: Too many people want such a thing to come together for it not to happen.

9/11 and Manipulation of the USA

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0911-29.htm

In 9/11 and Manipulation of the USA (an excerpt from his book, War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death), Norman Solomon looks at how the tragic crime of September 11, 2001 has been used to move us dramatically in the direction of a state of perpetual fear and war. Clearly it hasnʼt been used to make us more capable of responding to disaster. That is a very sad way to honor the people who died in that attack. Today, I only hope that we all find room in our actions for more fitting memorials.

Think Progress - Katrina Timeline

http://www.thinkprogress.org/katrina-timeline

Think Progress is maintaining a Katrina Timeline , which can be very useful in fast based environments like weʼve been facing in the wake of the hurricane. They are missing the incidents such as water and fuel trucks being turned away, people trying to rescue themselves sent back into the city at gunpoint, and related events that show the magnitude of our failing, but they hit all the major points. This will help keep us oriented as the political spin starts to speed up.

Whither the Renaissance Man?

http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/05/issue/megaphone.asp?trk=nl

In Whither the Renaissance Man? , Michael Hawley explores the people and the social conditions that give rise to periods of innovation. He says we are woefully lacking in our versions of Benjamin Franklin and I think he may be right.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

History (cont)

A Decade of Online Fundraising

http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/files/578-204.pdf

In A Decade of Online Fundraising (7 page PDF), Michael Stein and John Kenyon take a snapshot of the field. Even if, like me, you would date the birth of online fundraising back to the first email appeal, long before the birth of the web, this is definitely worth reading.

How Nonprofit Careerism Derailed the “Revolution” http://www.counterpunch.org/donnelly12272004.html

I have built my career around the common values of the nonprofit sector, even though Iʼm frequently criticized for speaking about those common values, which I regard as fundamentally progressive. Now, in a very thought provoking article, Michael Donnelly suggests that a progressive social change agenda has been undermined by the rise of the nonprofit sector in the last 50 years. In particular, he cites one of my ongoing concerns: the compartmentalization of issues and the isolation of different causes from each other, as a result of the patterns of funding and professionalization of the sector.

The 2004 Election and the Nonprofit Sector http://news.gilbert.org/2004ElectionNPSector

It will come as no surprise to any of you that I regard the re-election of George W. Bush as President of the United States as a huge setback for civil society and civil organizations. But given the diversity of the sector, itʼs remarkable just how widespread the impact might be. In an article on The 2004 Election and the Nonprofit Sector , I browse through the sections of the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities -- the closest thing we have to a list of all the categories of nonprofits -- looking at the record of the Bush administration with regard to each one. Itʼs eye opening.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Liability

EFF: Legal Guide for Bloggers http://www.eff.org/bloggers/lg/

If your organization or those associated with it are writing weblogs or considering, it, I recommend you take a look at the Electronic Frontier Foundation始s Legal Guide for Bloggers . Actually, much of this advice relates to anyone who maintains a web site or an email newsletter as well.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Mission & Purpose

Spirit Rising

http://www.coanews.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=451

In Spirit Rising , Michael Nagler describes “A Hundred Flowers in Search of a Garden”. That is his metaphor for the many progressive, spiritually motivated people who lack a coherent movement within which to do meaningful work at the scale of which their numbers would suggest they are capable. But his experience with this is the same as mine: Too many people want such a thing to come together for it not to happen.

Branding Your Nonprofit Through Your Website http://www.alderconsulting.com/branding.html

Alder Consulting has published a nice article on Branding Your Nonprofit Through Your Website . They explore the roles of statements, functionality, priorities, and design in influencing the brand impression made by your site. While I continue to believe that we communicate more of our brand through the interactions we have with stakeholders (for example through email), I find this to be sensible, valuable, and hype free advice.

Pragmatic Politics

http://www.ncrp.org/PDF/RP-Winter2005-CohenOpEd-ccrc-md.doc

In a hard hitting editorial called Pragmatic Politics (MS Word document), Rick Cohen of the National Center for Responsive Philanthropy makes his case that “something grave is missing from the moral compass of the nonprofit sector at this point in history”. In particular, he looks at nonprofit complicity in issues such as the elevation of Rick Santorum in the Senate, the passage of even more tax cuts, and targeted IRS investigations. I worry about his conclusion that, as a sector, we are too easily bought off.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Planning

Donʼt Pick the Tools First

http://37signals.com/svn/archives2/getting_real_dont_pick_the_tools_ahead_of_the_ craftsman.php

The smart folks at 37 Signals make the quick and compelling point that we wouldnʼt pick the tools ahead of the craftsman if we were building a house, but that this is exactly what we do with a great many software projects. Iʼve been very disappointed to see this happen over and over in the nonprofit sector.

Like Pulling Teeth

http://michaelatmo.blogspot.com/2005/09/like-pulling-teeth.html

In Like Pulling Teeth , Michael Stein expresses the frustration of technology consultants and vendors everywhere: There continues to be deep resistance to conducting the kind of examination of their own business processes that would allow most nonprofits to present meaningful requirements for new tools. I explored this subject in a speaking tour I did a few years back, in which I lay the blame with impatient nonprofit leaders, slightly desperate and overly eager technologist, and funders who are unwilling to pay for planning.

Three Principles Behind All Creativity Tools http://www.directedcreativity.com/pages/Principles.html

Iʼm fascinated by creativity and innovation. Like many of you, I have mixed opinions about the plethora of creativity games that facilitators play with people in meetings. But I was fascinated by Paul Plsekʼs idea that there are just Three Principles Behind All Tools : Attention, Escape, and Movement. They look so much like some of the principles of organizational change management, that I started wondering if they could be applied at the strategic level, as well as at the level of the meeting. Interesting stuff. Take a look at his massive “Directed Creativity” toolkit while youʼre there.

How to Write a Book in One Year http://news.gilbert.org/WriteBook1Year

Iʼm neck deep in a lot of writing projects right now and as usual, Iʼm interested in sharing the process of my work as much as the product. Not too long ago, we launched the Keystrokes pilot project, in support of writers who wanted to develop their discipline, rather than just their craft. One of the products of that pilot project is a simple, but effective model for helping people develop the vision and practice needed for completing large writing endeavors. Iʼve outlined this model in a new article: How to Write a Book in One Year.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Planning (cont)

The Role of the Executive Director in Nonprofit Technology http://news.gilbert.org/RoleEDNPTech

In the last ten years, nonprofit leaders have faced a series of sophisticated decisions related to the opportunities and challenges of information and communication technology in their organizations. Because nonprofit leaders rarely have the time for conferences or workshops outside their issue areas, the potential to make the same mistakes over and over continues to be an issue for many organizations. In a new article, I explore The Role of the Executive Director in Nonprofit Technology . Next week, I始ll be teaching a series of online executive briefings on the subject.

WKKF Logic Model Development Guide

http://www.wkkf.org/Pubs/Tools/Evaluation/Pub3669.pdf

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has an excellent guide to logic model development (64 page PDF). This is a great resource for project planners and proposal writers, covering techniques for modeling your theory of change, your implementation, and your evaluation process.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Policy Issues

Proxy Season Preview 2005

http://www.asyousow.org/newsletter.pdf

Foundation assets are largely in shares of publicly traded corporations. As You Sow is an organization devoted to helping foundations use the influence they have as shareholders to advance their social goals. The current issue of their newsletter (16 page PDF) reviews key corporations and key issues coming up in the upcoming proxy voting season.

Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Start-Up

How Citizensʼ Groups Destroy Themselves http://www.vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook/wilt.html

Charles Dobsonʼs take on How Citizensʼ Groups Destroy Themselves accurately reflects my own experience with dysfunctional organizations over the years. His key contributors to organizational demise are: (1) too little fun, (2) too much of an inward focus, (3) too many people (interesting one), (4) the wrong people, (5) too little contact, and (6) objectives outmatch resources.

PledgeBank - Not Finished Yet http://www.pledgebank.com/

This is a simple idea that I have been wanting to see for years. On June 13, 2005, MySociety will launch PledgeBank , a kind of contingent organizing tool. It works like this. You make a pledge to do something (make a donation, take an action), but only if a certain number of other people do it. Itʼs a simple, powerful, and age old tactic just waiting for this kind of technological support to bring it to scale.

How to Start a Startup

http://www.paulgraham.com/start.html

Paul Graham writes about How to Start a Startup . Itʼs very tech oriented and I donʼt entirely agree with a few of the business values expressed, but I still think that it makes a key point about investing in the right kind of people early on. I especially like the emphasis on prioritizing unanimity over inclusion at the early stages of a project. A lot of nonprofits could benefit from that discipline.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Strategy

The Knowledge Sharing Approach of the United Nations Development Programme http://www.km4dev.org/journal/index.php/km4dj/article/viewFile/21/60

Kim Henderson does a great job describing the knowledge sharing approach of the United Nations Development Programme (12 page PDF), with a focus on their six years of experience applying a “Communities of Practice” approach to their far flung activities. She identifies the ingredients of a healthy CoP, successful operating modalities, methods to promote participation and ways to link CoPs to policy outcomes.

Spirit Rising

http://www.coanews.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=451

In Spirit Rising , Michael Nagler describes “A Hundred Flowers in Search of a Garden”. That is his metaphor for the many progressive, spiritually motivated people who lack a coherent movement within which to do meaningful work at the scale of which their numbers would suggest they are capable. But his experience with this is the same as mine: Too many people want such a thing to come together for it not to happen.

The Practitionerʼs Landscape

http://emergence.org/ECO_site/ECO_Archive/Issue_6_1-2/Eoyang.pdf

Well-informed nonprofit communication and technology consultants are aware of the field of complexity, but there are probably only a few who are able to put that field to any use in their work. The Practitionerʼs Landscape (six page PDF), by Glenda Eoyang, is a nice attempt to put the field of complexity of human systems into a sensible taxonomy. Her twelve categories, which derive from a three by four matrix thatʼs meant to help practitioners apply the right tool in the right context, are: Butterfly Effects, Coupling, Balanced Scorecard, Reflection, Attractors, Future Search, Network Analysis, Intuition, Open Space Technology, Computer Simulation Models, and Nonlinear Time Series Modeling.

Inviting the World to Transform

http://www.contemplativenet.org/programs/cnet/inviting.pdf

Back in 2002, the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society published Inviting the World to Transform (91 page PDF), a report on the powerful role that contemplative practice can play in nourishing social justice work. They also explore the challenges involved in creating organizations and movements that are open to contemplation.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Strategy (cont)

Social Movements: A Summary of What Works http://www.vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook/movements.pdf

Charles Dobsonʼs summary of what works in social movements (10 page PDF) is a refreshing piece of work. If youʼre not familiar with the scholarly literature on effective social movements, then this would be a great place to start. He explores preconditions for success, individual inducements, the ingredients of micromobilization, and the maintenance of movements.

How Citizensʼ Groups Destroy Themselves http://www.vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook/wilt.html

Charles Dobsonʼs take on How Citizensʼ Groups Destroy Themselves accurately reflects my own experience with dysfunctional organizations over the years. His key contributors to organizational demise are: (1) too little fun, (2) too much of an inward focus, (3) too many people (interesting one), (4) the wrong people, (5) too little contact, and (6) objectives outmatch resources.

Tipping Point - Net Version

http://radio.weblogs.com/0107127/stories/2003/01/01/tippingPointNetVersion.html

If you havenʼt already read Malcolm Gladwellʼs book The Tipping Point and you donʼt plan to, you might be interested in Robert Pattersonʼs three page paraphrase, currently making the rounds on various link lists. The Tipping Point - Net Version is also entitled “How to Start a Revolution” and covers all the main concepts of the book. Worth a review if youʼre thinking about networks.

Practice Matters: The Improving Philanthropy Project http://www.foundationcenter.org/for_grantmakers/practice_matters/

The Foundation Center maintains a set of online resources called Practice Matters: The Improving Philanthropy Project . These are lengthy, well developed papers on great topics in philanthropy. I recommend the entire series, but I particularly enjoyed the material on creativity, communication, and capacity building.

Proxy Season Preview 2005

http://www.asyousow.org/newsletter.pdf

Foundation assets are largely in shares of publicly traded corporations. As You Sow is an organization devoted to helping foundations use the influence they have as shareholders to advance their social goals. The current issue of their newsletter (16 page PDF) reviews key corporations and key issues coming up in the upcoming proxy voting season.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Strategy (cont)

Pragmatic Politics

http://www.ncrp.org/PDF/RP-Winter2005-CohenOpEd-ccrc-md.doc

In a hard hitting editorial called Pragmatic Politics (MS Word document), Rick Cohen of the National Center for Responsive Philanthropy makes his case that “something grave is missing from the moral compass of the nonprofit sector at this point in history�. In particular, he looks at nonprofit complicity in issues such as the elevation of Rick Santorum in the Senate, the passage of even more tax cuts, and targeted IRS investigations. I worry about his conclusion that, as a sector, we are too easily bought off.

WKKF Logic Model Development Guide

http://www.wkkf.org/Pubs/Tools/Evaluation/Pub3669.pdf

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has an excellent guide to logic model development (64 page PDF). This is a great resource for project planners and proposal writers, covering techniques for modeling your theory of change, your implementation, and your evaluation process.

World Social Forum Principles

http://www.forumsocialmundial.org.br/main.php?id_menu=4&cd_language=2

The World Social Forum Principles are a great example of how to organize a constituency without dictating to it. The forum meets in Brazil next week to further develop strategies for a compassionate and just alternative to corporate globalization.

Dead Movement Walking?

http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2005/01/14/death_of_environmentalism/index.html

The environmental movement is one of the most devastating examples of how the inherent fragmentation of the nonprofit sector has led to failure. In Dead Movement Walking , Katharine Mieszkowski reviews the current turmoil faced by environmentalists who have been fighting small defensive battles for decades, and therefore losing. I agree with the underlying lesson that environmentalism cannot stand alone as a cause.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Systems & Standards

The Practitionerʼs Landscape

http://emergence.org/ECO_site/ECO_Archive/Issue_6_1-2/Eoyang.pdf

Well-informed nonprofit communication and technology consultants are aware of the field of complexity, but there are probably only a few who are able to put that field to any use in their work. The Practitionerʼs Landscape (six page PDF), by Glenda Eoyang, is a nice attempt to put the field of complexity of human systems into a sensible taxonomy. Her twelve categories, which derive from a three by four matrix thatʼs meant to help practitioners apply the right tool in the right context, are: Butterfly Effects, Coupling, Balanced Scorecard, Reflection, Attractors, Future Search, Network Analysis, Intuition, Open Space Technology, Computer Simulation Models, and Nonlinear Time Series Modeling.

Social Source Software: The Big Idea

http://blog.social-source.com/2005/06/big-idea.html

Back in June, I missed David Geilhufeʼs Big Idea for a different kind of software ecosystem for nonprofits. The key problem, as he sees it, is this: “Leading firms donʼt work with one another to build markets, but focus on building proprietary software platforms that seek to be all things to all people or focus on a small little niche.” His solution is widespread adoption of the same open source technologies and standards. Frankly, I would settle for the standards alone.

World Social Forum Principles

http://www.forumsocialmundial.org.br/main.php?id_menu=4&cd_language=2

The World Social Forum Principles are a great example of how to organize a constituency without dictating to it. The forum meets in Brazil next week to further develop strategies for a compassionate and just alternative to corporate globalization.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Types of Nonprofits

Demos - Catalogue - Start with People

http://www.demos.co.uk/catalogue/startwithpeople/

John Craig and Paul Skidmoreʼs book Start with People is available in full at the Demos web site. (Demos is based in Britain and describes itself as a “think tank for everyday democracy”.) The book, based upon thoughtful and recent research, examines the critical role of community organizations in preserving and sustaining public participation and democratic processes.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Management Budget & Finance

Recommendations and Total Cost of Ownership Analysis

http://securityawareness.blogspot.com/2005/09/mad-as-hell-finale-recommendations-and.html

Itʼs been years since I allowed myself to get sucked into public conversations about operating systems. They were fun for a few minutes and these days my attention is all on the network. But small and medium sized organizations still need good advice about new computers. If youʼre a large organization, there are too many variables, but the smaller you are, the more likely it is your needs resemble those of many other small and home office (SOHO) users. Winn Schwartau is a well-known security consultant who has done his own Recommendations and Total Cost of Ownership Analysis . The report is available as a PDF with an Excel spreadsheet for supporting data. Itʼs focused on small businesses and home users and is very application to the circumstances of most nonprofits. It includes a simple way to do your own cost analysis. Itʼs also funny.

Software Comparison Report

http://www.bridges.org/software_comparison/report.html

Bridges.org has published a report comparing open source and proprietary software solutions in public computer labs in Africa. As usual, their findings indicate that it is the human costs, such as software support, that are the biggest issue. They do place some hope in more maintainable, thin-client computing models.

The Looking-Glass World of Nonprofit Money http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/section/704.html

Clara Miller has written a thought provoking, but infuriating piece in the current Nonprofit Quarterly entitled The Looking-Glass World of Nonprofit Money . Itʼs thought provoking because it points out the differences between nonprofit and for profit approaches to money, and in so doing, brings to light several areas of nonprofit practice that could use improvement. Whatʼs infuriating is how condescending the article ends up being, by using the business world as utterly normative and portraying the nonprofit world as though it were Lewis Carroll nonsense.

Business Model - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_model

Recently, when trying to explain the concept of the “business model” to some people taking a technology planning workshop from me, I was pleased to discover that my favorite resource on the subject is the Wikipedia entry . Itʼs solid, well-balanced, accessible, and richly linked.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Collaboration

The Knowledge Sharing Approach of the United Nations Development Programme http://www.km4dev.org/journal/index.php/km4dj/article/viewFile/21/60

Kim Henderson does a great job describing the knowledge sharing approach of the United Nations Development Programme (12 page PDF), with a focus on their six years of experience applying a “Communities of Practice” approach to their far flung activities. She identifies the ingredients of a healthy CoP, successful operating modalities, methods to promote participation and ways to link CoPs to policy outcomes.

Spirit Rising

http://www.coanews.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=451

In Spirit Rising , Michael Nagler describes “A Hundred Flowers in Search of a Garden”. That is his metaphor for the many progressive, spiritually motivated people who lack a coherent movement within which to do meaningful work at the scale of which their numbers would suggest they are capable. But his experience with this is the same as mine: Too many people want such a thing to come together for it not to happen.

Science in the Web Age

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7068/full/438548a.html

In Science in the Web Age , Declan Butler looks at the emerging use of weblogs and wikis in scientific communities. There are new knowledge building communities of practice emerging, which continue to use older tools, such as peer reviewed journals, along side these new tools, with their rapid response, high touch communication models. If scientists, with all their competition for resources and their high stakes inquiries, can incorporate new models, there is great hope that our own communities of good work can do the same.

Nonprofits and Weblogs

http://news.gilbert.org/NPOWeblogs

I had the recent privilege of being interviewed by Beth Kanter on the subject of nonprofits and weblogs. Just this week, I got to deliver a talk on weblogs to audiences in three South African cities as part of World Development Information Day. I think the idea is actually catching on. My new article on Nonprofits and Weblogs is derived largely from my interview with Beth. It covers the origin of Nonprofit Online News (one of the two oldest weblogs still around), the potential of blogging for nonprofits, the nature of the motivation to blog, and some thoughts on the subject of information overload and focus. I think youʼll enjoy it.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Collaboration (cont)

Models of Collaboration

http://www.collaborate.com/publication/newsletter/publications_newsletter_september03.html

I missed this back when it was published in 2003, but I really like Timothy Butler and David Colemanʼs Models of Collaboration . They created a matrix of level of interaction and group size and came up with five models: Library, Solicitation, Team, Community, and Process Support.

Help People Stay Connected to the Communities They Love http://www.neworleansnetwork.org/

I am very pleased to note the philosophy of the New Orleans Network . They are focusing on rebuilding the community connections that have been stretched thin by the government supported diaspora of citizens. Iʼm not sure what programs they have running yet to do this, other than some online discussion forums, but this is really the right idea.

When Open Standards Really Matter - The Katrina Factor http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2005091305273070

Pamela Jones at GrokLaw has written a fantastic account of When Open Standards Really Matter , in the context of Hurrican Katrina. The short version is that, once again, in a horrific public emergency, the Internet succeeded as a communication network, where closed proprietary systems failed, and probably cost lives. Read it through to the end. There is much more, including a substantial followup discussion.

Social Source Software: The Big Idea

http://blog.social-source.com/2005/06/big-idea.html

Back in June, I missed David Geilhufeʼs Big Idea for a different kind of software ecosystem for nonprofits. The key problem, as he sees it, is this: “Leading firms donʼt work with one another to build markets, but focus on building proprietary software platforms that seek to be all things to all people or focus on a small little niche.” His solution is widespread adoption of the same open source technologies and standards. Frankly, I would settle for the standards alone.

Nonprofit Quarterly: Infrastructure Issue http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/section/496.html

If you havenʼt already read it and studied it, itʼs not too late to take in last Fallʼs Infrastructure Issue from the Nonprofit Quarterly. The full issue is available as a PDF, as are the individual articles. My favorite is “Why Every Foundation Should Fund Infrastructure”.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Collaboration (cont)

Nonprofit Networking: The New Way to Grow

http://hbsworkingknowledge.hbs.edu/item.jhtml?id=4801&t=nonprofit

Martha Lagaceʼs Nonprofit Networking: The New Way to Grow reflects the growing interest in collaboration that has come with the growth of the Internet. The article looks at the research of Jane Wei-Skillern, which supports the idea that networking between organizations is a vast untapped tool for nonprofit effectiveness.

A Practical Approach to Collaboration http://news.gilbert.org/PracticalCollaboration

I have been paying a lot of attention to models of cooperation and collaboration between organizations recently. In A Practical Approach to Collaboration , I share one insight and a related example. The example is a very successful campaign I ran a number of years back. The insight is this: The only agreement you have to have to collaborate is an agreement on what you are all going to do. Thatʼs it.

Communities of Practice and Networks

http://inasp.ilrt.org/include/getdoc.php?jid=3&id=10&article=7

In Communities of Practice and Networks (15 page PDF), Sarah Cummings and Arin van Zee look at how new theories about knowledge management are starting to come together with older ideas about networking on the ground, with the particular example of agricultural networking and local development. This is an excellent peer reviewed paper on a key concept in real life knowledge work.

Itʼs About the Community Plumbing: The Social Aspects of Content Management Systems http://kairosnews.org/node/4313

In Itʼs About the Community Plumbing , Charles Lowe and Dries Buytaert look at the social aspects of content management. They start from the same position that I start with: An emphasis on content (even in the name “content management”) is a strategic mistake. The emphasis should be on the people and their relationships.

Sharing Nicely

http://www.yalelawjournal.org/pdf/114-2/Benkler_FINAL_YLJ114-2.pdf

In Sharing Nicely (86 page PDF), Yochai Benkler explores large scale, effective practices of sharing, such as carpooling and distributed computing, along with their social, economic, and political implications. I particularly enjoyed the analysis about peer based content development.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Collaboration (cont)

Toward a New Literacy of Cooperation in Business

http://cooperation.smartmobs.com/cs/files/IFTF_New_Literacy_of_Cooperation1.pdf

In 2004, Andrea Saveri, Howard Rheingold, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, and Kathi Vian, under the auspices of The Institute for the Future, wrote a report called Toward a New Literacy of Cooperation in Business (57 page PDF). The central premise of the report is that new environments of connectivity are increasing the needs for cooperative, rather than competitive strategies in business. I believe that this phenomenon is an order of magnitude more important in the more traditionally cooperative world of civil society. The report explores the topic from four angles: (1) a conceptual map of the nature of cooperation, (2) research on seven different forms of cooperation, (3) choices faced by organizations wishing to be ready for cooperation, and (4) managing expectations, opportunities, and disruptions.

The Three Pillars of Social Source

http://www.movementasnetwork.org/threepillars-1.0.pdf

In The Three Pillars of Social Source (12 page PDF), Gideon Rosenblatt of ONE Northwest takes a stab at a taxonomy of nonprofit technology provision with the goal of greater focus and coordination among the players. He identifies the three pillars as application developers, application integrators, and application hosters, and speaks out strongly against conflation of those roles. I have to say I agree, at least in part. We learned this lesson at Social Ecology: When we decided to get out of the consulting business (where we were competing with our natural allies, the integrators), business boomed for us. I think the greatest flaw in this analysis, however, is that it is still too technocentric. There is still a fourth pillar (or perhaps it is the roof itself, to stretch the metaphor) which consists of communication professionals, such as marketing staff, fundraising consultants, advocates, organizers, and all the rest of the professionals whose communication vision and needs are meant to be served by technology.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Communication & PR

Seven Knowledge Management Mistakes http://news.gilbert.org/7KMMistakes

Writing for me is a way of testing my ideas, a tool for thinking. Sometimes, that thinking is s real pleasure, which was the a case with writing our newest feature article, based on a section of my recent Logic of Learning workshop: Seven Knowledge Management Mistakes . The seven mistakes that I explore are called: 1. Letʼs Go Shopping! 2. Taxonomy Too! 3. Mixed Messages. 4. “Best” Practices. 5. Documental Illness. 6. Another Thing to Read. 7. The Work of Art.

The Rise of Professional Journalism

http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2427/

In an excerpt from their new book, Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols present a brief, eye opening history of The Rise of Professional Journalism . As someone who floats at the edges of the world of journalism -- as a blogger, as a source, as an editorialist -- Iʼm fascinated by how the profession came to be so captured by the powerful.

Email Design Guidelines for 2006

http://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/archives/2005/11/html_email_desi.html

I highly recommend Campaign Monitorʼs Email Design Guidelines for 2006 . In brief, their six recommendations are: (1) Never use images for important content like headlines, links and any calls to action. (2) Use alt text for all images for a better experience in Gmail and always add the height and width to the image to ensure that the blank placeholder image doesnʼt throw your design out. (3) Add a text-based link to a web version of your design at the top of your email. (4) Ensure your most compelling content is at the top (and preferably to the left). (5) Test your design in a preview pane, full screen and with images turned on and off before you send it. (6) Ask your subscriber to add your From address to their address book at every opportunity.

Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload

http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item.jhtml?id=4438&t=srobbins

Stever Robbins has compiled some great Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload , which include: Use the subject line to summarize, not describe. Give your reader the full context at the start of your message. Make action requests clear. Separate topics into separate emails. Edit forwarded messages. Make your messages one page or less. Check email at defined times each day. Send out delayed messages. And finally, my favorite, charge people for sending you messages. (Youʼll have to read it to know what this means.)

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Communication & PR (cont)

Some Disasters Compel Us to Give

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/05/AR2005110500276.html?n av=rss_business

In Some Disasters Compel Us to Give , the Washington Post reports on what sorts of calamities bring in the money and what sorts do not. Their conclusions are revealing: (1) “Natural” disasters beat manmade disasters. (2) Sudden disasters beat slow-moving crises. (3) TV counts. (4) Drama counts. (5) Timing counts. (6) Ease of giving makes a big difference. (7) Personal experience helps. (8) Simple beats complex. (9) Disaster giving doesnʼt supplant donations to other causes.

A Cognitive Analysis of Tagging

http://www.rashmisinha.com/archives/05_09/tagging-cognitive.html

Tagging of content (especially in contrast to classification) is all the rage right now. Itʼs great to see some thoughtful work such as Rashmi Sinhaʼs cognitive analysis of tagging . As is the case with many other tools, tagging is popular because of the lower “cognitive costs”, in essence meaning that there are fewer mental steps required to assign the metadata. I think her diagrams in particular are helpful in thinking this question through in more general terms.

Nonprofits and Weblogs

http://news.gilbert.org/NPOWeblogs

I had the recent privilege of being interviewed by Beth Kanter on the subject of nonprofits and weblogs. Just this week, I got to deliver a talk on weblogs to audiences in three South African cities as part of World Development Information Day. I think the idea is actually catching on. My new article on Nonprofits and Weblogs is derived largely from my interview with Beth. It covers the origin of Nonprofit Online News (one of the two oldest weblogs still around), the potential of blogging for nonprofits, the nature of the motivation to blog, and some thoughts on the subject of information overload and focus. I think youʼll enjoy it.

Introduction to Stocks and Flows in Online Communication (part 1 of 3) http://www.commoncraft.com/archives/000593.html

Lee Lefevreʼs three part Introduction to Stocks and Flows in Online Communication is a great example of communication centered analysis producing valuable insights. In the classic language of systems thinking, he concludes that Weblogs are highly suited to facilitating the flow of information and that Wikis are highly suited to developing stocks. He concludes with some excellent systems questions to ask when developing online knowledge and communication tools.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Communication & PR (cont)

Streaming Grantmaker Knowledge http://news.gilbert.org/StreamingKnowledge

When the W.K. Kellogg Foundation released their revised website at the beginning of this year, there was a distribution medium in use. The foundation is now using RSS to syndicate content from various streams of information, including program news and new grants made. In Streaming Grantmaker Knowledge , I describe a step by step, six part procedure for assessing your online content and making it available in RSS, so that it can be subscribed to by people using newsreaders and built upon by online aggregators.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=542

Reporters Without Borders has published a truly fantastic Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents (46 page PDF). The contributors are top notch thinkers on the subject of grassroots communication and technology. I highly recommend this handbook to organizations that are considering blogging and more importantly, to any organization that has a stake in promoting open communication and truth telling about its issues.

Third Party Technique - SourceWatch

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Third_party_technique

Source Watch describes the Third Party Technique , whereby corporations develop and support mouthpiece organizations to support their causes, because corporations themselves are too blatantly self-interested to advocate publicly. I understand why they do this. I led a local growth control initiative many years ago that we won, because the more money developers poured into opposing it, the more support they lost. Thatʼs how little credibility they had with most people and so it is with corporations at large. What makes me sad is when otherwise legitimate nonprofit organizations get sucked into playing the third party role.

The Enduring Power of “The Gilbert Email Manifesto” http://www.getactive.com/wordofnet/gilbert080805.html

I seem to be a popular interview subject recently. Michael Stein of GetActive just published a conversation we had about The Enduring Power of “The Gilbert Email Manifesto” . We talked about putting strategy before tools and how email thinking can help you do that. I also laid out three recommendations for vendors who want to help nonprofits think critically about online communication.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Communication & PR (cont)

Guidelines for Measuring Trust in Organizations http://www.instituteforpr.com/pdf/2003_measuring-trust.pdf

The Institute for Public Relations has published a set of Guidelines for Measuring Trust in Organizations (17 page PDF). It might offer some insight to those of you who are into measuring things, as I sometimes can be. But it might just be an odd exercise, when looked at from the nonprofit perspective, where trust is the very currency of our existence.

Mapping Emotions

http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/jul2005/di20050727_882437.htm

For nonprofits, I regard the Internetʼs potential for “scaling up listening” (in the form of understanding our stakeholders) to be even more important than its ability to “scale up talking” (in the form of broadcasting to them). But itʼs not always clear how to systematize the listening process. One bit of advice can be drawn from new marketing concepts such as Mapping Emotions . Using some simple two dimensional grids to track peopleʼs feelings over time can give you some deep insight into the feelings of your stakeholders. The examples in this article are commercial, of course, but the lessons are crystal clear nonetheless.

Patterns for Personal Web Sites

http://www.rdrop.com/~half/Creations/Writings/Web.patterns/index.html

In 2003, Mark Irons published an elegant analysis entitled Patterns for Personal Web Sites . As it becomes increasingly clear to nonprofits that personal voice and relationship building (in contrast to corporate voice and broadcast) are keys to online success, these guidelines should assume great importance to the people in charge of nonprofit websites.

To Be Heard Above the Din: Communication, Nonprofits, and Spam http://news.gilbert.org/ToBeHeard

My friend and colleague Samantha Moscheck has written a great feature article for us, entitled To Be Heard Above the Din: Communication, Nonprofits, and Spam . She covers all the core issues, including how spam threatens nonprofits (both individually and as a sector) and what we can do about it. I am particularly pleased with her specific recommendations to funders. This is a must read for anyone doing online relationship building.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Communication & PR (cont)

Itʼs About the Community Plumbing: The Social Aspects of Content Management Systems http://kairosnews.org/node/4313

In Itʼs About the Community Plumbing , Charles Lowe and Dries Buytaert look at the social aspects of content management. They start from the same position that I start with: An emphasis on content (even in the name “content management”) is a strategic mistake. The emphasis should be on the people and their relationships.

EFF: Legal Guide for Bloggers http://www.eff.org/bloggers/lg/

If your organization or those associated with it are writing weblogs or considering, it, I recommend you take a look at the Electronic Frontier Foundationʼs Legal Guide for Bloggers . Actually, much of this advice relates to anyone who maintains a web site or an email newsletter as well.

Toolbox + Workflow = GTD

http://cvnp.typepad.com/blog/2005/06/toolbox_workflo.html

In Toolbox + Workflow = GTD (GTD = “Getting Things Done”), Sonny Cloward documents parts of his day to day online workflow, starting with a very well done diagram. The interesting highlights include extensive use of low tech interoperability, such as email and RSS and complete integration of his key tools within his web browser. I was greatly pleased to read how the process of making the diagram helped him improve his workflow. Thatʼs the essence of communication centered planning. I encourage you to engage in a similar process of reflection and share your results.

e-Engagement Tools That Fit http://blog.angus-reid.com/?p=47

Angus Reid takes a stab at a taxonomy of e-engagement tools by setting forth a two by two matrix of organizational attitudes toward engagement and technology. Certain online communication tools are more suited to some cultures than others. This could be a nice piece of back pocket advice for consultants out there.

Nonprofits and Public Broadcasting: We Need Each Other http://news.gilbert.org/NonprofitsPB

My short call to action yesterday does not do justice to either the urgency or the importance of the current threat to public broadcasting in the U.S. I firmly believe that there is a great deal of interdependence in the nonprofit sector. Public broadcasting is a great example of this. In my article, Nonprofits and Public Broadcasting: We Need Each Other , I describe that interdependence, some aspects of the current threat, and ask you to take action today.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Communication & PR (cont)

Practice Matters: The Improving Philanthropy Project http://www.foundationcenter.org/for_grantmakers/practice_matters/

The Foundation Center maintains a set of online resources called Practice Matters: The Improving Philanthropy Project . These are lengthy, well developed papers on great topics in philanthropy. I recommend the entire series, but I particularly enjoyed the material on creativity, communication, and capacity building.

From the Editor: Commonplace Thoughts

http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/07/issue/editor.asp?trk=nl

In From the Editor: Commonplace Thoughts, Jason Pontin makes the connection between nineteenth century “commonplace books” to the modern phenomenon of weblogs.

We Media

http://www.hypergene.net/wemedia/weblog.php

In 2003, Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis wrote We Media (not to be confused with Dan Gillmorʼs recent book with a similar title). The report explores how audiences are shaping the future of news and information. If youʼre interested in how participatory journalism could play a role in your own organization, I recommend this report. The effects are being felt far more widely than just in formal news media.

Branding Your Nonprofit Through Your Website http://www.alderconsulting.com/branding.html

Alder Consulting has published a nice article on Branding Your Nonprofit Through Your Website . They explore the roles of statements, functionality, priorities, and design in influencing the brand impression made by your site. While I continue to believe that we communicate more of our brand through the interactions we have with stakeholders (for example through email), I find this to be sensible, valuable, and hype free advice.

Whatʼs Your Content Gathering and Filtering Workflow? http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2005/05/are_you_standin.html

Some of the nonprofit consultants whom I most respect have taken an interest in my recent exploration of the workflow for publishing Nonprofit Online News. The commentary that interests me the most is that which takes the matter of workflow seriously and therefore tries to map out the relationship between the tools used. So, take a look at Beth Kanterʼs content filtering diagram , as an example. Lists of software promote feature comparison conversations, but workflow diagrams promote systems thinking.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Communication & PR (cont)

Everyday Software: Nonprofit Online News Publishing http://news.gilbert.org/ESNONPublishing

Everywhere I go, people are curious about the technology that supports Nonprofit Online News. In the third article in our Everyday Software series, we go into some detail about the tools we use for Nonprofit Online News Publishing . We donʼt touch on news gathering or on relationship management, but look only at content management and distribution. That said, it was illuminating for us to put it together this way and we hope you enjoy the results.

Return Path White Papers

http://www.returnpath.biz/download/download.php?id=5999

The online marketing company Return Path has a great selection of short white papers . Most of them are very practical guides to email marketing challenges.

Typology of Syndication Applications

http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/pat/20050426#typology_of_syndication_applications

This Typology of Syndication Applications at the Sun blogs is both a nice illustration of the ecosystem of RSS syndication and a good introduction to the applications. I love the diagram.

International Freedom of Expression eXchange http://www.ifex.org/

For international NGOs that rely upon a climate conducive to civil society and free communication, the International Freedom of Expression eXchange would be a valuable resource for planning and evaluating projects in various countries. With a leadership consisting of “organisations whose members refuse to turn away when those who have the courage to insist upon their fundamental human right to free expression are censored, brutalized or killed”, IFEX serves as a useful clearinghouse for all organizations that depend upon free expression to conduct their work successfully.

Communication Toolkit

http://www.causecommunications.org/CC/CC_news06_1.html

Cause Communications has assembled a great Communication Toolkit , a 134 page book available as a free download. Although it really just barely touches on the power of online communication, it does provide a solid foundation in a number of basics, such as research, competitive analysis, identity, and message development. It also serves as a good introduction to the key traditional areas of communication including advertising and media relations.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Communication & PR (cont)

Online Donor Cultivation: The Quest for Metrics http://news.gilbert.org/cultivation2005

I just taught an online workshop yesterday on the subject of online donor cultivation, as part of our Frictionless Fundraising series. I believe that two of the great opportunities of online fundraising are the ability to cheaply cultivate relationships with many donors and the ability to track that cultivation numerically. I address the latter issue in my latest article entitled Online Donor Cultivation: The Quest for Metrics .

Report on the @Stanford Newsletter

http://www.stanford.edu/~jpearson/@stanford.pdf

Thanks to Mark Carr, I learned about this report on the effectiveness of @Stanford (21 page PDF), a free email newsletter for the university. It始s nice to note that they tested not just perceived effectiveness (which, alas, is what most evaluation tests), but also some metrics of actual effectiveness. They found positive correlations to many of their communication objectives, including giving. The recommendations include many expansions to the newsletter program.

ItrainOnline: Resources for Trainers http://www.itrainonline.org/itrainonline/mmtk/

The ItrainOnline Multimedia Training Kit has a nice range of material in support of media skills including producing content for radio, writing for the web, secure online communication, and a number of policy issues. Although mostly distributed under Creative Commons licenses, for some reason the files seem to be primarily in proprietary formats, which is disappointing. But the content itself seems valuable.

Corporate Blogging Primer

http://www.corporateblogging.info/basics/corporatebloggingprimer.pdf

Fredrik Wack氓 is a Swedish communication consultant. He has published a Corporate Blogging Primer (16 page PDF) that has many lessons for nonprofit organizations. His six types of corporate blogs don始t quite match up to the nonprofit context, but his 14 steps toward blogging certainly do.

Writing for the Web

http://businesslogs.com/whitepaper/BL_writingfortheweb.pdf

The team at Business Logs, Mike Rundle, Paul Scrivens, and Matthew Oliphant, have produced a guide to Writing for the Web (6 page PDF), and it始s a must read for anyone preparing content for online distribution. He covers issues such as writing styles, audience, voice, length, scanability, and humor.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Communication & PR (cont)

NGOs Win Greater Trust than Media and Businesses http://www.strategiy.com/anews.asp?id=20050126023803

According to an international poll, nonprofits are trusted more than media, businesses, or governments . This trend is particularly true in the United States, where trust ratings for nonprofits have risen from 36 percent in 2001 to 55 percent today. When you consider whatʼs happened in this country in the last four years, this should come as no surprise.

Email Marketing Articles From Email Labs http://www.emaillabs.com/pdf/BestPracticesArticles.pdf

Online services vendor Email Labs has collected some of their articles in Email Marketing Best Practices (43 page PDF). It includes some nice advice for reducing bounces and improving subject lines, but I would say itʼs more of a collection of tips than a framework of best practices.

Disinfopedia

http://www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Disinfopedia

Iʼm a big believer in exposing the false “objectivity” of propagandists. Disinfopedia.org is a collaborative project to produce a directory of public relations firms, think tanks, industry-funded organizations and industry-friendly experts that work to influence public opinion and public policy on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests.

Gapminder

http://gapminder.org/

Iʼm very attracted to the persuasive and explanatory powers of images. Gapminder is a nonprofit project dedicated to “Making sense of the world by having fun with statistics”. Their fondness for proprietary file formats and their navigation are frustrating, but their use of charts to illustrate issues is sharp.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Compensation

The Economics of Sharing

http://www.economist.com/finance/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3623762

The Economist has published a nice little piece on The Economics of Sharing . While it始s always entertaining to me to watch economists try to explain everything through the narrow lens of greed, it pleased me to see reciprocity and networks extolled in this article. Still, I think the nonprofit world has a better handle on the concept.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Databases

eRider Starter Kit

http://www.eriders.net/docs/resource/366_eRider_starter_kit_V.1_3006_web.pdf

In the process of researching an article for a forthcoming publication from N-TEN, I found myself lingering over Tactical Techʼs free ebook called the eRider Starter Kit (92 page PDF). In essence, itʼs a basic guide to nonprofit technology consulting and it shows the maturity of the field and the accumulated wisdom of Theresa Crawford and her colleagues. For example, it goes further than most such guides in developing some opening inquiries that are not too technocentric. Itʼs packed with checklists and other forms that would provide solid support for the integrity of any consultant. Itʼs published under a Creative Commons license, for the widest possible distribution. And itʼs prominently labeled version 1.0, so I would encourage every user to offer their feedback for future editions.

A Cognitive Analysis of Tagging

http://www.rashmisinha.com/archives/05_09/tagging-cognitive.html

Tagging of content (especially in contrast to classification) is all the rage right now. Itʼs great to see some thoughtful work such as Rashmi Sinhaʼs cognitive analysis of tagging . As is the case with many other tools, tagging is popular because of the lower “cognitive costs”, in essence meaning that there are fewer mental steps required to assign the metadata. I think her diagrams in particular are helpful in thinking this question through in more general terms.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Internet Use

eRider Starter Kit

http://www.eriders.net/docs/resource/366_eRider_starter_kit_V.1_3006_web.pdf

In the process of researching an article for a forthcoming publication from N-TEN, I found myself lingering over Tactical Techʼs free ebook called the eRider Starter Kit (92 page PDF). In essence, itʼs a basic guide to nonprofit technology consulting and it shows the maturity of the field and the accumulated wisdom of Theresa Crawford and her colleagues. For example, it goes further than most such guides in developing some opening inquiries that are not too technocentric. Itʼs packed with checklists and other forms that would provide solid support for the integrity of any consultant. Itʼs published under a Creative Commons license, for the widest possible distribution. And itʼs prominently labeled version 1.0, so I would encourage every user to offer their feedback for future editions.

Benchmarking Digital Inclusion

http://public.gov3.net/public_pages/limited/global/news/news_articles/Benchmarking%20Digita l%20Inclusion%20White%20Paper.pdf

A new report entitled Benchmarking Digital Inclusion (36 page PDF) groups countries together on the basis of factors such as size, economic strength, and technology infrastructure. It argues that if the leaders in each group could help those doing less well, millions more people across the world would be online. This report is partly promotional in nature, coming from a consultancy that would help share such practices, but the numbers are solid and the recommendations sensible.

Email Design Guidelines for 2006

http://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/archives/2005/11/html_email_desi.html

I highly recommend Campaign Monitorʼs Email Design Guidelines for 2006 . In brief, their six recommendations are: (1) Never use images for important content like headlines, links and any calls to action. (2) Use alt text for all images for a better experience in Gmail and always add the height and width to the image to ensure that the blank placeholder image doesnʼt throw your design out. (3) Add a text-based link to a web version of your design at the top of your email. (4) Ensure your most compelling content is at the top (and preferably to the left). (5) Test your design in a preview pane, full screen and with images turned on and off before you send it. (6) Ask your subscriber to add your From address to their address book at every opportunity.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Internet Use (cont)

Science in the Web Age

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7068/full/438548a.html

In Science in the Web Age , Declan Butler looks at the emerging use of weblogs and wikis in scientific communities. There are new knowledge building communities of practice emerging, which continue to use older tools, such as peer reviewed journals, along side these new tools, with their rapid response, high touch communication models. If scientists, with all their competition for resources and their high stakes inquiries, can incorporate new models, there is great hope that our own communities of good work can do the same.

An Introduction to Activism on the Internet http://www.backspace.com/action/all.php

Iʼm profoundly impressed with John Emersonʼs Introduction to Activism on the Internet . The topics he touches on (complete with rather current links) include: International Web Landscape, Campaigns Around the World, Cell Phones, Surveillance and Crackdown, Protection and Anonymity, Advocacy Tools, Email, Blogs, Openness, Viral Marketing, Translation and Accessibility, Examples of Effective Action, and Torture and Terrorism.

Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload

http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item.jhtml?id=4438&t=srobbins

Stever Robbins has compiled some great Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload , which include: Use the subject line to summarize, not describe. Give your reader the full context at the start of your message. Make action requests clear. Separate topics into separate emails. Edit forwarded messages. Make your messages one page or less. Check email at defined times each day. Send out delayed messages. And finally, my favorite, charge people for sending you messages. (Youʼll have to read it to know what this means.)

Whose Vision of an Information Society? http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue10_5/pyati/

Today is the last day of official meetings of the World Summit on the Information Society being held in the censorship-rife country of Tunisia. There have been parallel events, protests, and highly critical commentary about the Summit, much of which makes for interesting reading. Iʼm encouraged by the connections that have been made between civil society actors in the context of this event, as much as I am discouraged by the content of the event itself. So, rather than a pile of links to this particular issue or that particular outrage, I will point you to Ajit Pyatiʼs excellent piece in First Monday earlier this year: WSIS: Whose vision of an information society?

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Internet Use (cont)

Weblogs and Wikis: New Ways to Advocate for Your Development Cause http://sangonet.org.za/portal/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2151&Itemid=1

In Weblogs and Wikis: New Ways to Advocate for Your Development Cause , SANGONeT covers my recent talk on the occasion of World Development Information Day and the launch of the SANGONeT portal.

Loosely Coupled Communities and the NPTech Tag http://ext337.org/category/tagging

In the late nineties, I wrote a piece of software called InWeb, a web based knowledge management system. One of its key paradigms was the use of tagging, rather than the folder metaphor, for organizing content. Users maintained their own bookmarks and assigned tags (technically facets) and short descriptions in a way that any user of one of the current crop of social bookmarking systems like del.icio.us would immediately recognize. We added RSS feeds and all the rest. Users hated it. Over and over again, we got the same complaint, from people who I thought would know better: Where are the folders? So, itʼs with a complex mix of feelings that Iʼve taken note of the distinct interest now being shown to tagging by nonprofit techies. In her notes for a talk that sheʼll be giving at Tag Camp, Marnie web explores Loosely Coupled Communities and the nptech Tag . Itʼs well-linked, thoughtful, and poses many interesting questions.

Nonprofits and Weblogs

http://news.gilbert.org/NPOWeblogs

I had the recent privilege of being interviewed by Beth Kanter on the subject of nonprofits and weblogs. Just this week, I got to deliver a talk on weblogs to audiences in three South African cities as part of World Development Information Day. I think the idea is actually catching on. My new article on Nonprofits and Weblogs is derived largely from my interview with Beth. It covers the origin of Nonprofit Online News (one of the two oldest weblogs still around), the potential of blogging for nonprofits, the nature of the motivation to blog, and some thoughts on the subject of information overload and focus. I think youʼll enjoy it.

E-strategies Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit

http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/ict/resources.nsf/InfoResources/B3590B631857789885256F970 057DE12

Aref Adamal, Bruno Lanvin, and Robert Schware have published an Estrategies Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit (80 page PDF). The focus of their methods are on holding national ICT strategies meant to alleviate poverty to some standards of effectiveness. Too many ICT for development projects, in this country and internationally, lack this kind of rigor. The toolkit looks to incorporate monitoring and evaluation into fifty different strategies.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Internet Use (cont)

Streaming Grantmaker Knowledge http://news.gilbert.org/StreamingKnowledge

When the W.K. Kellogg Foundation released their revised website at the beginning of this year, there was a distribution medium in use. The foundation is now using RSS to syndicate content from various streams of information, including program news and new grants made. In Streaming Grantmaker Knowledge , I describe a step by step, six part procedure for assessing your online content and making it available in RSS, so that it can be subscribed to by people using newsreaders and built upon by online aggregators.

Understanding E-Relationships http://news.gilbert.org/ERelationships

My research and consulting colleague Michael Soper has written a great piece called Understanding E-Relationships . It could also easily be called by either of its two subheadings: Real Relationships are Rich in Options and Beyond the Unsubscribe Link. If you do any kind of email relationship building with your stakeholders, youʼll find Michaelʼs thinking to be the source of many good ideas.

When Open Standards Really Matter - The Katrina Factor http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2005091305273070

Pamela Jones at GrokLaw has written a fantastic account of When Open Standards Really Matter , in the context of Hurrican Katrina. The short version is that, once again, in a horrific public emergency, the Internet succeeded as a communication network, where closed proprietary systems failed, and probably cost lives. Read it through to the end. There is much more, including a substantial followup discussion.

Five Reasons Social Networking Doesnʼt Work

http://www.cnet.com/4520-6033_1-6240543-1.html?tag=cnetfd.li

As we witness the decline of sites like Friendster and the changing of sites like Linked In into classified ad servers, itʼs smart to ask what happened to all the hype about “social networking”. In Five Reasons Social Networking Doesnʼt Work , Molly Wood does just that. Stating the desperately needed obvious, she says: (1) Thereʼs nothing to do there. (2) It takes too much time. (3) Traffic alone isnʼt enough. (4) Strangers kind of suck (or, put nicely, the social hierarchy is really not that attractive). (5) We already have the Internet. That last one is my favorite and is also one of the reasons why central bookmarking systems like del.icio.us will eventually have to give way to decentralized alternatives.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Internet Use (cont)

The Enduring Power of “The Gilbert Email Manifesto” http://www.getactive.com/wordofnet/gilbert080805.html

I seem to be a popular interview subject recently. Michael Stein of GetActive just published a conversation we had about The Enduring Power of “The Gilbert Email Manifesto” . We talked about putting strategy before tools and how email thinking can help you do that. I also laid out three recommendations for vendors who want to help nonprofits think critically about online communication.

Myths About Online Volunteering

http://www.coyotecommunications.com/volunteer/ovmyths.html

The very thoughtful Jayne Cravens has documented the twelve Myths About Online Volunteering , which are (in brief): Online volunteering is great for people who donʼt have time to volunteer! People who volunteer online donʼt volunteer face-to-face. People who volunteer online do so for organizations that are geographically far from them. People who volunteer online are mostly young, affluent and living in the USA. People who volunteer online are very shy and have trouble interacting with others. Online volunteers engage primarily in technology-related tasks. Online volunteering is impersonal. Interviewing potential volunteers face-to-face is much more reliable than interviewing people online. The Internet Is Dangerous and, therefore, online volunteering opens an organization and its clients up to many risks. The biggest obstacle to online volunteering is lack of Internet access. Much more needs to be done to get people to volunteer online. Online volunteering is a very new concept.

Patterns for Personal Web Sites

http://www.rdrop.com/~half/Creations/Writings/Web.patterns/index.html

In 2003, Mark Irons published an elegant analysis entitled Patterns for Personal Web Sites . As it becomes increasingly clear to nonprofits that personal voice and relationship building (in contrast to corporate voice and broadcast) are keys to online success, these guidelines should assume great importance to the people in charge of nonprofit websites.

To Be Heard Above the Din: Communication, Nonprofits, and Spam http://news.gilbert.org/ToBeHeard

My friend and colleague Samantha Moscheck has written a great feature article for us, entitled To Be Heard Above the Din: Communication, Nonprofits, and Spam . She covers all the core issues, including how spam threatens nonprofits (both individually and as a sector) and what we can do about it. I am particularly pleased with her specific recommendations to funders. This is a must read for anyone doing online relationship building.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Internet Use (cont)

Virtual Volunteering Guide

http://www.serviceleader.org/new/documents/vvguide.pdf

Published originally back in 2000, Iʼm surprised I havenʼt recommended this sooner. The Virtual Volunteering Guide (138 page PDF) is a superb handbook by the two acknowledged experts in online volunteerism, Susan Ellis and Jayne Cravens. The free ebook covers every issue, including online recruitment, designing online volunteer projects, online project and relationship management, including people with disabilities, and dealing with the idiosyncrasies of online communication.

Toolbox + Workflow = GTD

http://cvnp.typepad.com/blog/2005/06/toolbox_workflo.html

In Toolbox + Workflow = GTD (GTD = “Getting Things Done”), Sonny Cloward documents parts of his day to day online workflow, starting with a very well done diagram. The interesting highlights include extensive use of low tech interoperability, such as email and RSS and complete integration of his key tools within his web browser. I was greatly pleased to read how the process of making the diagram helped him improve his workflow. Thatʼs the essence of communication centered planning. I encourage you to engage in a similar process of reflection and share your results.

e-Engagement Tools That Fit http://blog.angus-reid.com/?p=47

Angus Reid takes a stab at a taxonomy of e-engagement tools by setting forth a two by two matrix of organizational attitudes toward engagement and technology. Certain online communication tools are more suited to some cultures than others. This could be a nice piece of back pocket advice for consultants out there.

We Media

http://www.hypergene.net/wemedia/weblog.php

In 2003, Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis wrote We Media (not to be confused with Dan Gillmorʼs recent book with a similar title). The report explores how audiences are shaping the future of news and information. If youʼre interested in how participatory journalism could play a role in your own organization, I recommend this report. The effects are being felt far more widely than just in formal news media.

Smarter, Simpler Social

http://www.headshift.com/moments/archive/sss2.html

Lee Bryantʼs Smarter, Simpler Social was written in 2003, but is still a superb introduction to online social software methodology. The seven sections are:(1) Software becoming bigger, more stupid. (2) From Online Communities to Social Software. (3) Networked individuals and personal publishing. (4) Supporting emergent networked behaviour. (5) Mapping social networks. (6) Knowledge Sharing and Social Capital. (7) Towards a social methodology. This remains a relevant and insightful groundwork for thinking about online communities. Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Internet Use (cont)

ICT Development Indices

http://www.unctad.org/en/docs/iteipc20054_en.pdf

If you work on international “digital divide” issues in any way, you are probably already familiar with the United Nationsʼ ICT Development Indices (73 page PDF) from 2004. It covers telephony, computing, and network access across the world, with an in depth look at Africa and success stories from China, Egypt, Korea, and the Czech Republic.

David Barnard and Michael Gilbert interviewed on South African Radio http://sangonet.org.za/conference2005/sabc_interview_compressed.mp3

David Barnard of SANGONeT and I were interviewed last month on South African radio. We talked about the role of ICTs in civil society and in development. You can listen to us online , if you like. I was pleased to see the mainstream media take an interest!

Return Path White Papers

http://www.returnpath.biz/download/download.php?id=5999

The online marketing company Return Path has a great selection of short white papers . Most of them are very practical guides to email marketing challenges.

Typology of Syndication Applications

http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/pat/20050426#typology_of_syndication_applications

This Typology of Syndication Applications at the Sun blogs is both a nice illustration of the ecosystem of RSS syndication and a good introduction to the applications. I love the diagram.

SANGONeT Conference & Exhibition 2005 http://sangonet.org.za/conference2005/programme.php

SANGONeT has posted slides and handouts related to the programme of their recent Conference and Exhibition in Johannesburg, at which I spoke. There is a wealth of great material there.

Email Is the New Database

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4167633.stm

Five years ago at Social Ecology we wrote OrgMail, an application for email based knowledge building. I think our timing must have been off because now the mainstream press is reporting that email is the new database.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Internet Use (cont)

A Craving for Social Change

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/6826

In an expression of his frustration for the overselling of new technology, François Joseph de Kermadec writes about our craving for social change and how we get sucked into the hype.

Report on the @Stanford Newsletter

http://www.stanford.edu/~jpearson/@stanford.pdf

Thanks to Mark Carr, I learned about this report on the effectiveness of @Stanford (21 page PDF), a free email newsletter for the university. Itʼs nice to note that they tested not just perceived effectiveness (which, alas, is what most evaluation tests), but also some metrics of actual effectiveness. They found positive correlations to many of their communication objectives, including giving. The recommendations include many expansions to the newsletter program.

A Brief Look at Blogs, Feeds and Aggregators

http://markc1.typepad.com/blogs4orgs/files/tlc_blog_outline.pdf

Mark Carr has compiled some statistics, ideas, and resources (admittedly some of them are my own) in A Brief Look at Blogs, Feeds and Aggregators (3 page PDF). Donʼt expect more than a great outline, but this is still worth looking at.

Corporate Blogging Primer

http://www.corporateblogging.info/basics/corporatebloggingprimer.pdf

Fredrik Wackå is a Swedish communication consultant. He has published a Corporate Blogging Primer (16 page PDF) that has many lessons for nonprofit organizations. His six types of corporate blogs donʼt quite match up to the nonprofit context, but his 14 steps toward blogging certainly do.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Leadership

EvaluLEAD Guide Book

http://www.evalulead.net/docs/EvaluLEADGuidebook.pdf

I just recently came across the EvaluLEAD Guide Book: A Guide For Shaping And Evaluating Leadership Development Programs (51 page PDF) by John T. Grove, Barry M. Kibel, and Taylor Haas. There are a great many such programs and a great many more graduates of them, which makes such a guide invaluable. It tackles the underlying issues of leadership development with rigor and vision.

The Role of the Executive Director in Nonprofit Technology http://news.gilbert.org/RoleEDNPTech

In the last ten years, nonprofit leaders have faced a series of sophisticated decisions related to the opportunities and challenges of information and communication technology in their organizations. Because nonprofit leaders rarely have the time for conferences or workshops outside their issue areas, the potential to make the same mistakes over and over continues to be an issue for many organizations. In a new article, I explore The Role of the Executive Director in Nonprofit Technology . Next week, Iʼll be teaching a series of online executive briefings on the subject.

How to Start a Startup

http://www.paulgraham.com/start.html

Paul Graham writes about How to Start a Startup . Itʼs very tech oriented and I donʼt entirely agree with a few of the business values expressed, but I still think that it makes a key point about investing in the right kind of people early on. I especially like the emphasis on prioritizing unanimity over inclusion at the early stages of a project. A lot of nonprofits could benefit from that discipline.

Pragmatic Politics

http://www.ncrp.org/PDF/RP-Winter2005-CohenOpEd-ccrc-md.doc

In a hard hitting editorial called Pragmatic Politics (MS Word document), Rick Cohen of the National Center for Responsive Philanthropy makes his case that “something grave is missing from the moral compass of the nonprofit sector at this point in history”. In particular, he looks at nonprofit complicity in issues such as the elevation of Rick Santorum in the Senate, the passage of even more tax cuts, and targeted IRS investigations. I worry about his conclusion that, as a sector, we are too easily bought off.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Leadership (cont)

How Nonprofit Careerism Derailed the “Revolution” http://www.counterpunch.org/donnelly12272004.html

I have built my career around the common values of the nonprofit sector, even though Iʼm frequently criticized for speaking about those common values, which I regard as fundamentally progressive. Now, in a very thought provoking article, Michael Donnelly suggests that a progressive social change agenda has been undermined by the rise of the nonprofit sector in the last 50 years. In particular, he cites one of my ongoing concerns: the compartmentalization of issues and the isolation of different causes from each other, as a result of the patterns of funding and professionalization of the sector.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Marketing

Email Design Guidelines for 2006

http://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/archives/2005/11/html_email_desi.html

I highly recommend Campaign Monitor始s Email Design Guidelines for 2006 . In brief, their six recommendations are: (1) Never use images for important content like headlines, links and any calls to action. (2) Use alt text for all images for a better experience in Gmail and always add the height and width to the image to ensure that the blank placeholder image doesn始t throw your design out. (3) Add a text-based link to a web version of your design at the top of your email. (4) Ensure your most compelling content is at the top (and preferably to the left). (5) Test your design in a preview pane, full screen and with images turned on and off before you send it. (6) Ask your subscriber to add your From address to their address book at every opportunity.

Weblogs and Wikis: New Ways to Advocate for Your Development Cause http://sangonet.org.za/portal/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2151&Itemid=1

In Weblogs and Wikis: New Ways to Advocate for Your Development Cause , SANGONeT covers my recent talk on the occasion of World Development Information Day and the launch of the SANGONeT portal.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=542

Reporters Without Borders has published a truly fantastic Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents (46 page PDF). The contributors are top notch thinkers on the subject of grassroots communication and technology. I highly recommend this handbook to organizations that are considering blogging and more importantly, to any organization that has a stake in promoting open communication and truth telling about its issues.

Understanding E-Relationships http://news.gilbert.org/ERelationships

My research and consulting colleague Michael Soper has written a great piece called Understanding E-Relationships . It could also easily be called by either of its two subheadings: Real Relationships are Rich in Options and Beyond the Unsubscribe Link. If you do any kind of email relationship building with your stakeholders, you始ll find Michael始s thinking to be the source of many good ideas.

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Marketing (cont)

Mapping Emotions

http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/jul2005/di20050727_882437.htm

For nonprofits, I regard the Internetʼs potential for “scaling up listening” (in the form of understanding our stakeholders) to be even more important than its ability to “scale up talking” (in the form of broadcasting to them). But itʼs not always clear how to systematize the listening process. One bit of advice can be drawn from new marketing concepts such as Mapping Emotions . Using some simple two dimensional grids to track peopleʼs feelings over time can give you some deep insight into the feelings of your stakeholders. The examples in this article are commercial, of course, but the lessons are crystal clear nonetheless.

Report on the @Stanford Newsletter

http://www.stanford.edu/~jpearson/@stanford.pdf

Thanks to Mark Carr, I learned about this report on the effectiveness of @Stanford (21 page PDF), a free email newsletter for the university. Itʼs nice to note that they tested not just perceived effectiveness (which, alas, is what most evaluation tests), but also some metrics of actual effectiveness. They found positive correlations to many of their communication objectives, including giving. The recommendations include many expansions to the newsletter program.

Corporate Blogging Primer

http://www.corporateblogging.info/basics/corporatebloggingprimer.pdf

Fredrik Wackå is a Swedish communication consultant. He has published a Corporate Blogging Primer (16 page PDF) that has many lessons for nonprofit organizations. His six types of corporate blogs donʼt quite match up to the nonprofit context, but his 14 steps toward blogging certainly do.

Email Marketing Articles From Email Labs http://www.emaillabs.com/pdf/BestPracticesArticles.pdf

Online services vendor Email Labs has collected some of their articles in Email Marketing Best Practices (43 page PDF). It includes some nice advice for reducing bounces and improving subject lines, but I would say itʼs more of a collection of tips than a framework of best practices.

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Meetings

Foundation for Community Encouragement Training Materials http://www.fce-community.org/downloads/index.php

When the Foundation for Community Encouragement decided to close in 2001, they made all of their Training Materials available for free online. The FCE was a community building organization and their key method was a workshop that built intimacy in a group setting. The materials cover pretty much all aspects of their workshops, including surveys, preparation and guidelines, as well as general material on the vision and practice of community.

Open Space Technology: A Userʼs NON-Guide http://www.chriscorrigan.com/openspace/nonguide5.pdf

Iʼve been noticing that the “Open Space” meeting process has become quite popular at conferences in the last few years. If you havenʼt encountered it yourself, you probably will soon. I have mixed feelings about the approach, largely because it depends profoundly on the skills of the participants, rather than the facilitators. Just as I believe that a democracy requires citizens with certains skills, knowledge, and motivation, rather than just good voting technology, so does Open Space require qualified participants. At most conferences, little effort is put into either selecting or training the participants. But in the hope that you might be prepared next time you are part of this process, I suggest you take a look at the Open Space Userʼs NON-Guide (114 page PDF).

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Personnel

The Practitionerʼs Landscape

http://emergence.org/ECO_site/ECO_Archive/Issue_6_1-2/Eoyang.pdf

Well-informed nonprofit communication and technology consultants are aware of the field of complexity, but there are probably only a few who are able to put that field to any use in their work. The Practitionerʼs Landscape (six page PDF), by Glenda Eoyang, is a nice attempt to put the field of complexity of human systems into a sensible taxonomy. Her twelve categories, which derive from a three by four matrix thatʼs meant to help practitioners apply the right tool in the right context, are: Butterfly Effects, Coupling, Balanced Scorecard, Reflection, Attractors, Future Search, Network Analysis, Intuition, Open Space Technology, Computer Simulation Models, and Nonlinear Time Series Modeling.

The Ten Faces of Innovation

http://www.tenfacesofinnovation.com/tenfaces/index.htm

Tom Kelley runs an innovation consulting firm. In The Ten Faces of Innovation he describes a vision of innovation that has a place for everyone. His ten faces are The Anthropologist, The Experimenter, The Cross-Pollinator, The Hurdler, The Collaborator, The Director, The Experience Architect, The Set Designer, The Storyteller, and The Caregiver. I think too often innovation is seen as the role of specialists or of certain very specific personality types, so it is encouraging to see a vision that is so inclusive.

The Real Reasons Youʼre Working So Hard

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_40/b3953601.htm?campaign_id=nws_ insdr_sep23&link_position=link1

With far less corporate naivete than I would have expected from Business Week, Michael Mandel and others look for The Real Reasons Youʼre Working So Hard . They take a big picture perspective to the very real issue of professional overwork, a dysfunction that plagues for profits and nonprofits alike. The authors explore the mismatch between classic organizational bureaucracies and the new communication environments in which we are expected to succeed. Dedicated professionals have to live in both worlds. The authors make some very meaningful suggestions on how to get beyond this impasse.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Personnel (cont)

The Role of the Executive Director in Nonprofit Technology http://news.gilbert.org/RoleEDNPTech

In the last ten years, nonprofit leaders have faced a series of sophisticated decisions related to the opportunities and challenges of information and communication technology in their organizations. Because nonprofit leaders rarely have the time for conferences or workshops outside their issue areas, the potential to make the same mistakes over and over continues to be an issue for many organizations. In a new article, I explore The Role of the Executive Director in Nonprofit Technology . Next week, Iʼll be teaching a series of online executive briefings on the subject.

How Nonprofit Careerism Derailed the “Revolution” http://www.counterpunch.org/donnelly12272004.html

I have built my career around the common values of the nonprofit sector, even though Iʼm frequently criticized for speaking about those common values, which I regard as fundamentally progressive. Now, in a very thought provoking article, Michael Donnelly suggests that a progressive social change agenda has been undermined by the rise of the nonprofit sector in the last 50 years. In particular, he cites one of my ongoing concerns: the compartmentalization of issues and the isolation of different causes from each other, as a result of the patterns of funding and professionalization of the sector.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Research & Data Collection

Streaming Grantmaker Knowledge http://news.gilbert.org/StreamingKnowledge

When the W.K. Kellogg Foundation released their revised website at the beginning of this year, there was a distribution medium in use. The foundation is now using RSS to syndicate content from various streams of information, including program news and new grants made. In Streaming Grantmaker Knowledge , I describe a step by step, six part procedure for assessing your online content and making it available in RSS, so that it can be subscribed to by people using newsreaders and built upon by online aggregators.

Guidelines for Measuring Trust in Organizations http://www.instituteforpr.com/pdf/2003_measuring-trust.pdf

The Institute for Public Relations has published a set of Guidelines for Measuring Trust in Organizations (17 page PDF). It might offer some insight to those of you who are into measuring things, as I sometimes can be. But it might just be an odd exercise, when looked at from the nonprofit perspective, where trust is the very currency of our existence.

Treemaps for Space-Constrained Visualization of Hierarchies http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/treemap-history/index.shtml

I始m sure this is a bit esoteric for many of you, but I have enjoyed spending time in the last year working through the resources and tools at Ben Shneiderman始s page on Treemaps for Space-Constrained Visualization of Hierarchies . What originated as an idea for visually displaying information on a full hard drive has evolved into an entire discipline for the display of hierarchically organized information of many kinds.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Software

Recommendations and Total Cost of Ownership Analysis

http://securityawareness.blogspot.com/2005/09/mad-as-hell-finale-recommendations-and.html

Itʼs been years since I allowed myself to get sucked into public conversations about operating systems. They were fun for a few minutes and these days my attention is all on the network. But small and medium sized organizations still need good advice about new computers. If youʼre a large organization, there are too many variables, but the smaller you are, the more likely it is your needs resemble those of many other small and home office (SOHO) users. Winn Schwartau is a well-known security consultant who has done his own Recommendations and Total Cost of Ownership Analysis . The report is available as a PDF with an Excel spreadsheet for supporting data. Itʼs focused on small businesses and home users and is very application to the circumstances of most nonprofits. It includes a simple way to do your own cost analysis. Itʼs also funny.

Idealware: Vision

http://idealware.org/vision.php

I am a fan of Laura Quinn and all the folks who have helped start Idealware , a Consumer-Reports style approach to software reviews for nonprofits. This is probably the right vision for such an endeavor, although I think there are a lot of potential barriers. The number one issue is going to be to develop criteria that are relevant to actual communication centered requirements of different clusters of nonprofits and different usage scenarios. It will be interesting to watch their methodologies develop.

Donʼt Pick the Tools First

http://37signals.com/svn/archives2/getting_real_dont_pick_the_tools_ahead_of_the_ craftsman.php

The smart folks at 37 Signals make the quick and compelling point that we wouldnʼt pick the tools ahead of the craftsman if we were building a house, but that this is exactly what we do with a great many software projects. Iʼve been very disappointed to see this happen over and over in the nonprofit sector.

Five Reasons Social Networking Doesnʼt Work

http://www.cnet.com/4520-6033_1-6240543-1.html?tag=cnetfd.li

As we witness the decline of sites like Friendster and the changing of sites like Linked In into classified ad servers, itʼs smart to ask what happened to all the hype about “social networking”. In Five Reasons Social Networking Doesnʼt Work , Molly Wood does just that. Stating the desperately needed obvious, she says: (1) Thereʼs nothing to do there. (2) It takes too much time. (3) Traffic alone isnʼt enough. (4) Strangers kind of suck (or, put nicely, the social hierarchy is really not that attractive). (5) We already have the Internet. That last one is my favorite and is also one of the reasons why central bookmarking systems like del.icio.us will eventually have to give way to decentralized alternatives.

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Software (cont)

Social Source Software: The Big Idea

http://blog.social-source.com/2005/06/big-idea.html

Back in June, I missed David Geilhufeʼs Big Idea for a different kind of software ecosystem for nonprofits. The key problem, as he sees it, is this: “Leading firms donʼt work with one another to build markets, but focus on building proprietary software platforms that seek to be all things to all people or focus on a small little niche.” His solution is widespread adoption of the same open source technologies and standards. Frankly, I would settle for the standards alone.

Toolbox + Workflow = GTD

http://cvnp.typepad.com/blog/2005/06/toolbox_workflo.html

In Toolbox + Workflow = GTD (GTD = “Getting Things Done”), Sonny Cloward documents parts of his day to day online workflow, starting with a very well done diagram. The interesting highlights include extensive use of low tech interoperability, such as email and RSS and complete integration of his key tools within his web browser. I was greatly pleased to read how the process of making the diagram helped him improve his workflow. Thatʼs the essence of communication centered planning. I encourage you to engage in a similar process of reflection and share your results.

Software Comparison Report

http://www.bridges.org/software_comparison/report.html

Bridges.org has published a report comparing open source and proprietary software solutions in public computer labs in Africa. As usual, their findings indicate that it is the human costs, such as software support, that are the biggest issue. They do place some hope in more maintainable, thin-client computing models.

Smarter, Simpler Social

http://www.headshift.com/moments/archive/sss2.html

Lee Bryantʼs Smarter, Simpler Social was written in 2003, but is still a superb introduction to online social software methodology. The seven sections are:(1) Software becoming bigger, more stupid. (2) From Online Communities to Social Software. (3) Networked individuals and personal publishing. (4) Supporting emergent networked behaviour. (5) Mapping social networks. (6) Knowledge Sharing and Social Capital. (7) Towards a social methodology. This remains a relevant and insightful groundwork for thinking about online communities.

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Software (cont)

Whatʼs Your Content Gathering and Filtering Workflow? http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2005/05/are_you_standin.html

Some of the nonprofit consultants whom I most respect have taken an interest in my recent exploration of the workflow for publishing Nonprofit Online News. The commentary that interests me the most is that which takes the matter of workflow seriously and therefore tries to map out the relationship between the tools used. So, take a look at Beth Kanterʼs content filtering diagram , as an example. Lists of software promote feature comparison conversations, but workflow diagrams promote systems thinking.

Everyday Software: Nonprofit Online News Publishing http://news.gilbert.org/ESNONPublishing

Everywhere I go, people are curious about the technology that supports Nonprofit Online News. In the third article in our Everyday Software series, we go into some detail about the tools we use for Nonprofit Online News Publishing . We donʼt touch on news gathering or on relationship management, but look only at content management and distribution. That said, it was illuminating for us to put it together this way and we hope you enjoy the results.

N-TEN Forecast: Open Standards – A Call To Action http://nten.typepad.com/forecast/2005/02/open_standards_.html

Iʼve been an advocate for open standards for some time and in fact, I delivered the first session on the subject at an N-TEN conference several years ago. So, itʼs with some pleasure that I read Nick Gleason and Zach Rosenʼs Call To Action for Open Standards , published as an N-TEN Forecast. Now my question is: Will people respond to the call this time?

The Three Pillars of Social Source

http://www.movementasnetwork.org/threepillars-1.0.pdf

In The Three Pillars of Social Source (12 page PDF), Gideon Rosenblatt of ONE Northwest takes a stab at a taxonomy of nonprofit technology provision with the goal of greater focus and coordination among the players. He identifies the three pillars as application developers, application integrators, and application hosters, and speaks out strongly against conflation of those roles. I have to say I agree, at least in part. We learned this lesson at Social Ecology: When we decided to get out of the consulting business (where we were competing with our natural allies, the integrators), business boomed for us. I think the greatest flaw in this analysis, however, is that it is still too technocentric. There is still a fourth pillar (or perhaps it is the roof itself, to stretch the metaphor) which consists of communication professionals, such as marketing staff, fundraising consultants, advocates, organizers, and all the rest of the professionals whose communication vision and needs are meant to be served by technology.

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Theories of Management

The Practitionerʼs Landscape

http://emergence.org/ECO_site/ECO_Archive/Issue_6_1-2/Eoyang.pdf

Well-informed nonprofit communication and technology consultants are aware of the field of complexity, but there are probably only a few who are able to put that field to any use in their work. The Practitionerʼs Landscape (six page PDF), by Glenda Eoyang, is a nice attempt to put the field of complexity of human systems into a sensible taxonomy. Her twelve categories, which derive from a three by four matrix thatʼs meant to help practitioners apply the right tool in the right context, are: Butterfly Effects, Coupling, Balanced Scorecard, Reflection, Attractors, Future Search, Network Analysis, Intuition, Open Space Technology, Computer Simulation Models, and Nonlinear Time Series Modeling.

Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload

http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item.jhtml?id=4438&t=srobbins

Stever Robbins has compiled some great Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload , which include: Use the subject line to summarize, not describe. Give your reader the full context at the start of your message. Make action requests clear. Separate topics into separate emails. Edit forwarded messages. Make your messages one page or less. Check email at defined times each day. Send out delayed messages. And finally, my favorite, charge people for sending you messages. (Youʼll have to read it to know what this means.)

Philanthropy as a Field of Practice

http://www.gifthub.org/2005/11/philanthropy_as.html

In Philanthropy as a Field of Practice , Philip Cubeta makes a plea for philanthropy to come together with a common focus, a community of practice, and collegiality. He argues that the subsectors of philanthropy barely speak the same language. He identifies those subsectors as: (1) Donor Groups, (2) Financial Advisors, (3) Donor Advisors/Foundation Advisors, (4) Wealth Counselors, (5) Family Therapists, (6) Wealth Coaches, (7) Life Coaches, (8) Fundraisers/Planned Giving People, (9) Political Fundraisers, (10) Values-based planners, and (12) Trickster Heroes.

Toward a Conceptual Framework for Evaluating Social Change Networks http://www.mande.co.uk/docs/Towards%20a%20Conceptual%20Framework%20for%20Evalua ting%20Networks.pdf

In their case study of the Oilwatch Network, entitled Toward a Conceptual Framework for Evaluating Social Change Networks (7 page PDF), Martha Nunez and Ricardo Wilson-Grau propose four criteria: (1) Democracy, (2) Diversity, (3) Dynamism, and (4) Excellence. These criteria are applied to three major aspects of the networkʼs operation: (1) political purpose and strategies, (2) organisation and management, and (3) leadership and participation.

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Theories of Management (cont)

The Ten Faces of Innovation

http://www.tenfacesofinnovation.com/tenfaces/index.htm

Tom Kelley runs an innovation consulting firm. In The Ten Faces of Innovation he describes a vision of innovation that has a place for everyone. His ten faces are The Anthropologist, The Experimenter, The Cross-Pollinator, The Hurdler, The Collaborator, The Director, The Experience Architect, The Set Designer, The Storyteller, and The Caregiver. I think too often innovation is seen as the role of specialists or of certain very specific personality types, so it is encouraging to see a vision that is so inclusive.

Models of Collaboration

http://www.collaborate.com/publication/newsletter/publications_newsletter_september03.html

I missed this back when it was published in 2003, but I really like Timothy Butler and David Coleman始s Models of Collaboration . They created a matrix of level of interaction and group size and came up with five models: Library, Solicitation, Team, Community, and Process Support.

The Real Reasons You始re Working So Hard

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_40/b3953601.htm?campaign_id=nws_ insdr_sep23&link_position=link1

With far less corporate naivete than I would have expected from Business Week, Michael Mandel and others look for The Real Reasons You始re Working So Hard . They take a big picture perspective to the very real issue of professional overwork, a dysfunction that plagues for profits and nonprofits alike. The authors explore the mismatch between classic organizational bureaucracies and the new communication environments in which we are expected to succeed. Dedicated professionals have to live in both worlds. The authors make some very meaningful suggestions on how to get beyond this impasse.

Inviting the World to Transform

http://www.contemplativenet.org/programs/cnet/inviting.pdf

Back in 2002, the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society published Inviting the World to Transform (91 page PDF), a report on the powerful role that contemplative practice can play in nourishing social justice work. They also explore the challenges involved in creating organizations and movements that are open to contemplation.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Theories of Management (cont)

How Citizensʼ Groups Destroy Themselves http://www.vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook/wilt.html

Charles Dobsonʼs take on How Citizensʼ Groups Destroy Themselves accurately reflects my own experience with dysfunctional organizations over the years. His key contributors to organizational demise are: (1) too little fun, (2) too much of an inward focus, (3) too many people (interesting one), (4) the wrong people, (5) too little contact, and (6) objectives outmatch resources.

ICT and Training: A Proposal for an Ecological Model of Innovation http://ifets.ieee.org/periodical/vol_1_2003/tatnall.html

Arthur Tatnall and Bill Davey have developed A Proposal for an Ecological Model of Innovation in the context of training in ICTs. They take a hard look at the social systems inside most organizations and propose some methods for improving the rate of adoption of new innovations and tools.

Virtual Volunteering Guide

http://www.serviceleader.org/new/documents/vvguide.pdf

Published originally back in 2000, Iʼm surprised I havenʼt recommended this sooner. The Virtual Volunteering Guide (138 page PDF) is a superb handbook by the two acknowledged experts in online volunteerism, Susan Ellis and Jayne Cravens. The free ebook covers every issue, including online recruitment, designing online volunteer projects, online project and relationship management, including people with disabilities, and dealing with the idiosyncrasies of online communication.

A Practical Approach to Collaboration http://news.gilbert.org/PracticalCollaboration

I have been paying a lot of attention to models of cooperation and collaboration between organizations recently. In A Practical Approach to Collaboration , I share one insight and a related example. The example is a very successful campaign I ran a number of years back. The insight is this: The only agreement you have to have to collaborate is an agreement on what you are all going to do. Thatʼs it.

Three Principles Behind All Creativity Tools http://www.directedcreativity.com/pages/Principles.html

Iʼm fascinated by creativity and innovation. Like many of you, I have mixed opinions about the plethora of creativity games that facilitators play with people in meetings. But I was fascinated by Paul Plsekʼs idea that there are just Three Principles Behind All Tools : Attention, Escape, and Movement. They look so much like some of the principles of organizational change management, that I started wondering if they could be applied at the strategic level, as well as at the level of the meeting. Interesting stuff. Take a look at his massive “Directed Creativity” toolkit while youʼre there.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Theories of Management (cont)

Toward a New Literacy of Cooperation in Business

http://cooperation.smartmobs.com/cs/files/IFTF_New_Literacy_of_Cooperation1.pdf

In 2004, Andrea Saveri, Howard Rheingold, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, and Kathi Vian, under the auspices of The Institute for the Future, wrote a report called Toward a New Literacy of Cooperation in Business (57 page PDF). The central premise of the report is that new environments of connectivity are increasing the needs for cooperative, rather than competitive strategies in business. I believe that this phenomenon is an order of magnitude more important in the more traditionally cooperative world of civil society. The report explores the topic from four angles: (1) a conceptual map of the nature of cooperation, (2) research on seven different forms of cooperation, (3) choices faced by organizations wishing to be ready for cooperation, and (4) managing expectations, opportunities, and disruptions.

The Looking-Glass World of Nonprofit Money http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/section/704.html

Clara Miller has written a thought provoking, but infuriating piece in the current Nonprofit Quarterly entitled The Looking-Glass World of Nonprofit Money . Itʼs thought provoking because it points out the differences between nonprofit and for profit approaches to money, and in so doing, brings to light several areas of nonprofit practice that could use improvement. Whatʼs infuriating is how condescending the article ends up being, by using the business world as utterly normative and portraying the nonprofit world as though it were Lewis Carroll nonsense.

Business Model - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_model

Recently, when trying to explain the concept of the “business model” to some people taking a technology planning workshop from me, I was pleased to discover that my favorite resource on the subject is the Wikipedia entry . Itʼs solid, well-balanced, accessible, and richly linked.

The Role of the Executive Director in Nonprofit Technology http://news.gilbert.org/RoleEDNPTech

In the last ten years, nonprofit leaders have faced a series of sophisticated decisions related to the opportunities and challenges of information and communication technology in their organizations. Because nonprofit leaders rarely have the time for conferences or workshops outside their issue areas, the potential to make the same mistakes over and over continues to be an issue for many organizations. In a new article, I explore The Role of the Executive Director in Nonprofit Technology . Next week, Iʼll be teaching a series of online executive briefings on the subject.

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Training

How to be an Activist

http://www.sierraclub.ca/activist-publication/

It始s been around for years, but I just came across Elizabeth May始s article on How to be an Activist . It始s a simple introduction to lobbying, press relations, grassroots campaign tactics, and some of the philosophical, social, and emotional basics of what it means to be an activist. I would give this to any new volunteer in an advocacy organization. The fundraising advice is weak and caters to some of the classic weaknesses of many organizations, such as an unfortunate predilection for raising money from events. But there is plenty of practical wisdom in this short piece to make up for that.

ICT and Training: A Proposal for an Ecological Model of Innovation http://ifets.ieee.org/periodical/vol_1_2003/tatnall.html

Arthur Tatnall and Bill Davey have developed A Proposal for an Ecological Model of Innovation in the context of training in ICTs. They take a hard look at the social systems inside most organizations and propose some methods for improving the rate of adoption of new innovations and tools.

EvaluLEAD Guide Book

http://www.evalulead.net/docs/EvaluLEADGuidebook.pdf

I just recently came across the EvaluLEAD Guide Book: A Guide For Shaping And Evaluating Leadership Development Programs (51 page PDF) by John T. Grove, Barry M. Kibel, and Taylor Haas. There are a great many such programs and a great many more graduates of them, which makes such a guide invaluable. It tackles the underlying issues of leadership development with rigor and vision.

ItrainOnline: Resources for Trainers http://www.itrainonline.org/itrainonline/mmtk/

The ItrainOnline Multimedia Training Kit has a nice range of material in support of media skills including producing content for radio, writing for the web, secure online communication, and a number of policy issues. Although mostly distributed under Creative Commons licenses, for some reason the files seem to be primarily in proprietary formats, which is disappointing. But the content itself seems valuable.

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Volunteer Programs

How to be an Activist

http://www.sierraclub.ca/activist-publication/

Itʼs been around for years, but I just came across Elizabeth Mayʼs article on How to be an Activist . Itʼs a simple introduction to lobbying, press relations, grassroots campaign tactics, and some of the philosophical, social, and emotional basics of what it means to be an activist. I would give this to any new volunteer in an advocacy organization. The fundraising advice is weak and caters to some of the classic weaknesses of many organizations, such as an unfortunate predilection for raising money from events. But there is plenty of practical wisdom in this short piece to make up for that.

Myths About Online Volunteering

http://www.coyotecommunications.com/volunteer/ovmyths.html

The very thoughtful Jayne Cravens has documented the twelve Myths About Online Volunteering , which are (in brief): Online volunteering is great for people who donʼt have time to volunteer! People who volunteer online donʼt volunteer face-to-face. People who volunteer online do so for organizations that are geographically far from them. People who volunteer online are mostly young, affluent and living in the USA. People who volunteer online are very shy and have trouble interacting with others. Online volunteers engage primarily in technology-related tasks. Online volunteering is impersonal. Interviewing potential volunteers face-to-face is much more reliable than interviewing people online. The Internet Is Dangerous and, therefore, online volunteering opens an organization and its clients up to many risks. The biggest obstacle to online volunteering is lack of Internet access. Much more needs to be done to get people to volunteer online. Online volunteering is a very new concept.

Virtual Volunteering Guide

http://www.serviceleader.org/new/documents/vvguide.pdf

Published originally back in 2000, Iʼm surprised I havenʼt recommended this sooner. The Virtual Volunteering Guide (138 page PDF) is a superb handbook by the two acknowledged experts in online volunteerism, Susan Ellis and Jayne Cravens. The free ebook covers every issue, including online recruitment, designing online volunteer projects, online project and relationship management, including people with disabilities, and dealing with the idiosyncrasies of online communication.

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Regulation

An Introduction to Activism on the Internet

Advocacy

I始m profoundly impressed with John Emerson始s Introduction to Activism on the Internet . The topics he touches on (complete with rather current links) include: International Web Landscape, Campaigns Around the World, Cell Phones, Surveillance and Crackdown, Protection and Anonymity, Advocacy Tools, Email, Blogs, Openness, Viral Marketing, Translation and Accessibility, Examples of Effective Action, and Torture and Terrorism.

http://www.backspace.com/action/all.php

Toward a Conceptual Framework for Evaluating Social Change Networks http://www.mande.co.uk/docs/Towards%20a%20Conceptual%20Framework%20for%20Evalua ting%20Networks.pdf

In their case study of the Oilwatch Network, entitled Toward a Conceptual Framework for Evaluating Social Change Networks (7 page PDF), Martha Nunez and Ricardo Wilson-Grau propose four criteria: (1) Democracy, (2) Diversity, (3) Dynamism, and (4) Excellence. These criteria are applied to three major aspects of the network始s operation: (1) political purpose and strategies, (2) organisation and management, and (3) leadership and participation.

Weblogs and Wikis: New Ways to Advocate for Your Development Cause http://sangonet.org.za/portal/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2151&Itemid=1

In Weblogs and Wikis: New Ways to Advocate for Your Development Cause , SANGONeT covers my recent talk on the occasion of World Development Information Day and the launch of the SANGONeT portal.

Third Party Technique - SourceWatch

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Third_party_technique

Source Watch describes the Third Party Technique , whereby corporations develop and support mouthpiece organizations to support their causes, because corporations themselves are too blatantly self-interested to advocate publicly. I understand why they do this. I led a local growth control initiative many years ago that we won, because the more money developers poured into opposing it, the more support they lost. That始s how little credibility they had with most people and so it is with corporations at large. What makes me sad is when otherwise legitimate nonprofit organizations get sucked into playing the third party role.

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Advocacy (cont)

Dead Movement Walking?

http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2005/01/14/death_of_environmentalism/index.html

The environmental movement is one of the most devastating examples of how the inherent fragmentation of the nonprofit sector has led to failure. In Dead Movement Walking , Katharine Mieszkowski reviews the current turmoil faced by environmentalists who have been fighting small defensive battles for decades, and therefore losing. I agree with the underlying lesson that environmentalism cannot stand alone as a cause.

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Federal Laws

Source book on Public Service Broadcasting published by UNESCO

http://portal.unesco.org/ci/admin/ev.php?URL_ID=20394&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_ SECTION=201

UNESCO始s Source book on Public Service Broadcasting is an impressive collection that focuses on key notions such as editorial independence, universality, secured funding free of all pressures, distinctiveness, diversity, representativeness, unbiased information, education and enlightenment, social cohesion, citizenship, public accountability and credibility. It始s available as a PDF and as an interactive CD ROM.

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Federal Regulations

ACLU: FBI Spy Files

http://www.aclu.org/spyfiles/

If you want to find out if the FBI has been spying on your organization, there is no single way to do so. But you can start by looking at the files that have been made public by the ACLU. They are highly redacted, but itʼs a start.

Nonviolent Activists Placed on Terrorist List in FBI Notes http://coanews.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=334

Freedom of Information Act requests have revealed that nonviolent activist organizations have been placed on terrorist lists by the FBI . Combine this with other stories, if you will, such as the Utah police attacking young people at a dance with a paramilitary raid or recent federal court rulings that allow indefinite detention of American citizens without having to charge them with a crime. If your work is even remotely outside the mainstream, I would sincerely hope that you are discussing these threats at the highest levels of your organizationʼs leadership.

9/11 and Manipulation of the USA

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0911-29.htm

In 9/11 and Manipulation of the USA (an excerpt from his book, War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death), Norman Solomon looks at how the tragic crime of September 11, 2001 has been used to move us dramatically in the direction of a state of perpetual fear and war. Clearly it hasnʼt been used to make us more capable of responding to disaster. That is a very sad way to honor the people who died in that attack. Today, I only hope that we all find room in our actions for more fitting memorials.

Why Should Intellectual Property Rights Matter to Civil Society? http://africa.rights.apc.org/?apc=he_1&x=288591

I know that sometimes I write about things here and I donʼt make clear their relevance to nonprofit organizations. Patent, copyright, and related issues are one example, so I was very pleased to read this accessible piece by Communications Rights in the Information Society on Why Should Intellectual Property Rights Matter to Civil Society?

The 2004 Election and the Nonprofit Sector http://news.gilbert.org/2004ElectionNPSector

It will come as no surprise to any of you that I regard the re-election of George W. Bush as President of the United States as a huge setback for civil society and civil organizations. But given the diversity of the sector, itʼs remarkable just how widespread the impact might be. In an article on The 2004 Election and the Nonprofit Sector , I browse through the sections of the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities -- the closest thing we have to a list of all the categories of nonprofits -- looking at the record of the Bush administration with regard to each one. Itʼs eye opening. Copyright 2005 - 2006. Creative Commons License - See Page 97.


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Lobbying

Pragmatic Politics

http://www.ncrp.org/PDF/RP-Winter2005-CohenOpEd-ccrc-md.doc

In a hard hitting editorial called Pragmatic Politics (MS Word document), Rick Cohen of the National Center for Responsive Philanthropy makes his case that “something grave is missing from the moral compass of the nonprofit sector at this point in history�. In particular, he looks at nonprofit complicity in issues such as the elevation of Rick Santorum in the Senate, the passage of even more tax cuts, and targeted IRS investigations. I worry about his conclusion that, as a sector, we are too easily bought off.

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Political Action

How to be an Activist

http://www.sierraclub.ca/activist-publication/

Itʼs been around for years, but I just came across Elizabeth Mayʼs article on How to be an Activist . Itʼs a simple introduction to lobbying, press relations, grassroots campaign tactics, and some of the philosophical, social, and emotional basics of what it means to be an activist. I would give this to any new volunteer in an advocacy organization. The fundraising advice is weak and caters to some of the classic weaknesses of many organizations, such as an unfortunate predilection for raising money from events. But there is plenty of practical wisdom in this short piece to make up for that.

Social Movements: A Summary of What Works http://www.vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook/movements.pdf

Charles Dobsonʼs summary of what works in social movements (10 page PDF) is a refreshing piece of work. If youʼre not familiar with the scholarly literature on effective social movements, then this would be a great place to start. He explores preconditions for success, individual inducements, the ingredients of micromobilization, and the maintenance of movements.

Demos - Catalogue - Start with People

http://www.demos.co.uk/catalogue/startwithpeople/

John Craig and Paul Skidmoreʼs book Start with People is available in full at the Demos web site. (Demos is based in Britain and describes itself as a “think tank for everyday democracy”.) The book, based upon thoughtful and recent research, examines the critical role of community organizations in preserving and sustaining public participation and democratic processes.

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Resources Books (Bibliography)

eRider Starter Kit

http://www.eriders.net/docs/resource/366_eRider_starter_kit_V.1_3006_web.pdf

In the process of researching an article for a forthcoming publication from N-TEN, I found myself lingering over Tactical Techʼs free ebook called the eRider Starter Kit (92 page PDF). In essence, itʼs a basic guide to nonprofit technology consulting and it shows the maturity of the field and the accumulated wisdom of Theresa Crawford and her colleagues. For example, it goes further than most such guides in developing some opening inquiries that are not too technocentric. Itʼs packed with checklists and other forms that would provide solid support for the integrity of any consultant. Itʼs published under a Creative Commons license, for the widest possible distribution. And itʼs prominently labeled version 1.0, so I would encourage every user to offer their feedback for future editions.

The Rough Guide to a Better World

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/pubs/files/rough-guide/better-world.pdf

The Rough Guide to a Better World (112 page PDF) is a lay personʼs overview of global poverty and development work. Itʼs not a radical book, by any means, but for a general audience interested in knowing more than just that periodically they hear about people starving in Africa, I think itʼs spot on. Plus, it has all the production values of the Rough Guide travel books, which makes it a pleasant ebook to read. Given the subject, thatʼs a smart idea.

Virtual Volunteering Guide

http://www.serviceleader.org/new/documents/vvguide.pdf

Published originally back in 2000, Iʼm surprised I havenʼt recommended this sooner. The Virtual Volunteering Guide (138 page PDF) is a superb handbook by the two acknowledged experts in online volunteerism, Susan Ellis and Jayne Cravens. The free ebook covers every issue, including online recruitment, designing online volunteer projects, online project and relationship management, including people with disabilities, and dealing with the idiosyncrasies of online communication.

Demos - Catalogue - Start with People

http://www.demos.co.uk/catalogue/startwithpeople/

John Craig and Paul Skidmoreʼs book Start with People is available in full at the Demos web site. (Demos is based in Britain and describes itself as a “think tank for everyday democracy”.) The book, based upon thoughtful and recent research, examines the critical role of community organizations in preserving and sustaining public participation and democratic processes.

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Community Building

The Knowledge Sharing Approach of the United Nations Development Programme http://www.km4dev.org/journal/index.php/km4dj/article/viewFile/21/60

Kim Henderson does a great job describing the knowledge sharing approach of the United Nations Development Programme (12 page PDF), with a focus on their six years of experience applying a “Communities of Practice” approach to their far flung activities. She identifies the ingredients of a healthy CoP, successful operating modalities, methods to promote participation and ways to link CoPs to policy outcomes.

The Practitionerʼs Landscape

http://emergence.org/ECO_site/ECO_Archive/Issue_6_1-2/Eoyang.pdf

Well-informed nonprofit communication and technology consultants are aware of the field of complexity, but there are probably only a few who are able to put that field to any use in their work. The Practitionerʼs Landscape (six page PDF), by Glenda Eoyang, is a nice attempt to put the field of complexity of human systems into a sensible taxonomy. Her twelve categories, which derive from a three by four matrix thatʼs meant to help practitioners apply the right tool in the right context, are: Butterfly Effects, Coupling, Balanced Scorecard, Reflection, Attractors, Future Search, Network Analysis, Intuition, Open Space Technology, Computer Simulation Models, and Nonlinear Time Series Modeling.

Toward a Conceptual Framework for Evaluating Social Change Networks http://www.mande.co.uk/docs/Towards%20a%20Conceptual%20Framework%20for%20Evalua ting%20Networks.pdf

In their case study of the Oilwatch Network, entitled Toward a Conceptual Framework for Evaluating Social Change Networks (7 page PDF), Martha Nunez and Ricardo Wilson-Grau propose four criteria: (1) Democracy, (2) Diversity, (3) Dynamism, and (4) Excellence. These criteria are applied to three major aspects of the networkʼs operation: (1) political purpose and strategies, (2) organisation and management, and (3) leadership and participation.

Foundation for Community Encouragement Training Materials http://www.fce-community.org/downloads/index.php

When the Foundation for Community Encouragement decided to close in 2001, they made all of their Training Materials available for free online. The FCE was a community building organization and their key method was a workshop that built intimacy in a group setting. The materials cover pretty much all aspects of their workshops, including surveys, preparation and guidelines, as well as general material on the vision and practice of community.

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Community Building (cont)

Open Space Technology: A Userʼs NON-Guide http://www.chriscorrigan.com/openspace/nonguide5.pdf

Iʼve been noticing that the “Open Space” meeting process has become quite popular at conferences in the last few years. If you havenʼt encountered it yourself, you probably will soon. I have mixed feelings about the approach, largely because it depends profoundly on the skills of the participants, rather than the facilitators. Just as I believe that a democracy requires citizens with certains skills, knowledge, and motivation, rather than just good voting technology, so does Open Space require qualified participants. At most conferences, little effort is put into either selecting or training the participants. But in the hope that you might be prepared next time you are part of this process, I suggest you take a look at the Open Space Userʼs NON-Guide (114 page PDF).

Estrategies Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit

http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/ict/resources.nsf/InfoResources/B3590B631857789885256F970 057DE12

Aref Adamal, Bruno Lanvin, and Robert Schware have published an Estrategies Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit (80 page PDF). The focus of their methods are on holding national ICT strategies meant to alleviate poverty to some standards of effectiveness. Too many ICT for development projects, in this country and internationally, lack this kind of rigor. The toolkit looks to incorporate monitoring and evaluation into fifty different strategies.

Nonprofit Networking: The New Way to Grow

http://hbsworkingknowledge.hbs.edu/item.jhtml?id=4801&t=nonprofit

Martha Lagaceʼs Nonprofit Networking: The New Way to Grow reflects the growing interest in collaboration that has come with the growth of the Internet. The article looks at the research of Jane Wei-Skillern, which supports the idea that networking between organizations is a vast untapped tool for nonprofit effectiveness.

Evolving Communities of Practice: IBM Global Services Experience http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj/404/gongla.html

I have worked on community building throughout my career, but the Internet has allowed me to affordably test many of my ideas at a large scale. The same has been true of organizations far larger than mine. The IBM Global Services experience with Evolving Communities of Practice , as documented by Gongla and Rizzuto in 2001, remains one of the best descriptions of how the kinds of communities I work with most often grow and change over time.

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Community Building (cont)

Tipping Point - Net Version

http://radio.weblogs.com/0107127/stories/2003/01/01/tippingPointNetVersion.html

If you havenʼt already read Malcolm Gladwellʼs book The Tipping Point and you donʼt plan to, you might be interested in Robert Pattersonʼs three page paraphrase, currently making the rounds on various link lists. The Tipping Point - Net Version is also entitled “How to Start a Revolution” and covers all the main concepts of the book. Worth a review if youʼre thinking about networks.

Demos - Catalogue - Start with People

http://www.demos.co.uk/catalogue/startwithpeople/

John Craig and Paul Skidmoreʼs book Start with People is available in full at the Demos web site. (Demos is based in Britain and describes itself as a “think tank for everyday democracy”.) The book, based upon thoughtful and recent research, examines the critical role of community organizations in preserving and sustaining public participation and democratic processes.

Communities of Practice and Networks

http://inasp.ilrt.org/include/getdoc.php?jid=3&id=10&article=7

In Communities of Practice and Networks (15 page PDF), Sarah Cummings and Arin van Zee look at how new theories about knowledge management are starting to come together with older ideas about networking on the ground, with the particular example of agricultural networking and local development. This is an excellent peer reviewed paper on a key concept in real life knowledge work.

PledgeBank - Not Finished Yet http://www.pledgebank.com/

This is a simple idea that I have been wanting to see for years. On June 13, 2005, MySociety will launch PledgeBank , a kind of contingent organizing tool. It works like this. You make a pledge to do something (make a donation, take an action), but only if a certain number of other people do it. Itʼs a simple, powerful, and age old tactic just waiting for this kind of technological support to bring it to scale.

Smarter, Simpler Social

http://www.headshift.com/moments/archive/sss2.html

Lee Bryantʼs Smarter, Simpler Social was written in 2003, but is still a superb introduction to online social software methodology. The seven sections are:(1) Software becoming bigger, more stupid. (2) From Online Communities to Social Software. (3) Networked individuals and personal publishing. (4) Supporting emergent networked behaviour. (5) Mapping social networks. (6) Knowledge Sharing and Social Capital. (7) Towards a social methodology. This remains a relevant and insightful groundwork for thinking about online communities.

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Community Building (cont)

Civil Society Building

http://www.civilsocietybuilding.net

I heard a presentation today about a project quietly launched by Hivos in December 2004. Civil Society Building is an online knowledge exchange network for professionals from around the world involved in building civil society organizations and communities. There is already some superb content on the site.

The Economics of Sharing

http://www.economist.com/finance/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3623762

The Economist has published a nice little piece on The Economics of Sharing . While it始s always entertaining to me to watch economists try to explain everything through the narrow lens of greed, it pleased me to see reciprocity and networks extolled in this article. Still, I think the nonprofit world has a better handle on the concept.

Folksonomies - Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata

http://www.adammathes.com/academic/computer-mediated-communication/folksonomies.html

When it comes to knowledge management and classification, I tend to like a mix of top down and bottom up approaches. The latter gets a thought provoking analysis from Adam Mathes in Folksonomies - Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Government Agencies

ACLU: FBI Spy Files

http://www.aclu.org/spyfiles/

If you want to find out if the FBI has been spying on your organization, there is no single way to do so. But you can start by looking at the files that have been made public by the ACLU. They are highly redacted, but it始s a start.

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International Organizations

The Knowledge Sharing Approach of the United Nations Development Programme http://www.km4dev.org/journal/index.php/km4dj/article/viewFile/21/60

Kim Henderson does a great job describing the knowledge sharing approach of the United Nations Development Programme (12 page PDF), with a focus on their six years of experience applying a “Communities of Practice” approach to their far flung activities. She identifies the ingredients of a healthy CoP, successful operating modalities, methods to promote participation and ways to link CoPs to policy outcomes.

Benchmarking Digital Inclusion

http://public.gov3.net/public_pages/limited/global/news/news_articles/Benchmarking%20Digita l%20Inclusion%20White%20Paper.pdf

A new report entitled Benchmarking Digital Inclusion (36 page PDF) groups countries together on the basis of factors such as size, economic strength, and technology infrastructure. It argues that if the leaders in each group could help those doing less well, millions more people across the world would be online. This report is partly promotional in nature, coming from a consultancy that would help share such practices, but the numbers are solid and the recommendations sensible.

Whose Vision of an Information Society? http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue10_5/pyati/

Today is the last day of official meetings of the World Summit on the Information Society being held in the censorship-rife country of Tunisia. There have been parallel events, protests, and highly critical commentary about the Summit, much of which makes for interesting reading. Iʼm encouraged by the connections that have been made between civil society actors in the context of this event, as much as I am discouraged by the content of the event itself. So, rather than a pile of links to this particular issue or that particular outrage, I will point you to Ajit Pyatiʼs excellent piece in First Monday earlier this year: WSIS: Whose vision of an information society?

Weblogs and Wikis: New Ways to Advocate for Your Development Cause http://sangonet.org.za/portal/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2151&Itemid=1

In Weblogs and Wikis: New Ways to Advocate for Your Development Cause , SANGONeT covers my recent talk on the occasion of World Development Information Day and the launch of the SANGONeT portal.

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International Organizations (cont)

Estrategies Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit

http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/ict/resources.nsf/InfoResources/B3590B631857789885256F970 057DE12

Aref Adamal, Bruno Lanvin, and Robert Schware have published an Estrategies Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit (80 page PDF). The focus of their methods are on holding national ICT strategies meant to alleviate poverty to some standards of effectiveness. Too many ICT for development projects, in this country and internationally, lack this kind of rigor. The toolkit looks to incorporate monitoring and evaluation into fifty different strategies.

The Rough Guide to a Better World

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/pubs/files/rough-guide/better-world.pdf

The Rough Guide to a Better World (112 page PDF) is a lay personʼs overview of global poverty and development work. Itʼs not a radical book, by any means, but for a general audience interested in knowing more than just that periodically they hear about people starving in Africa, I think itʼs spot on. Plus, it has all the production values of the Rough Guide travel books, which makes it a pleasant ebook to read. Given the subject, thatʼs a smart idea.

Software Comparison Report

http://www.bridges.org/software_comparison/report.html

Bridges.org has published a report comparing open source and proprietary software solutions in public computer labs in Africa. As usual, their findings indicate that it is the human costs, such as software support, that are the biggest issue. They do place some hope in more maintainable, thin-client computing models.

Ten Myths of Global Civil Society

http://www.charityvillage.com/cv/research/rsta22.html

Melanie Lovering documents Lester Salamonʼs Ten Myths of Global Civil Society in Charity Village. The ten myths are: Myth #1: That civil society is only made up of NGOs. Myth #2: That the civil society sector is a marginal actor economically. This is simply not true, as research assembled from countries all around the world proves. Myth #3 & 4: Civil society organizations are chiefly an American phenomenon and are not present in the welfare states of Europe, where reliance on government is greater; and that there is no civil society sector for all intents and purposes in the Scandinavian countries, where the welfare state is most fully developed. Myth #5 & 6: Volunteers play a more important role in the civil society workforce in developing than developed countries; and paid staff drives out reliance on volunteers. Myth #7: The civil society sector is mostly engaged in the provision of services. Myth #8 & 9: Philanthropy is the chief source of civil society revenue; and philanthropy is at least the chief source of civil society revenue in the United States. Myth #10: The civil society sector is growing at a slower rate than the private business sector.

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International Organizations (cont)

ICT Development Indices

http://www.unctad.org/en/docs/iteipc20054_en.pdf

If you work on international “digital divide” issues in any way, you are probably already familiar with the United Nationsʼ ICT Development Indices (73 page PDF) from 2004. It covers telephony, computing, and network access across the world, with an in depth look at Africa and success stories from China, Egypt, Korea, and the Czech Republic.

David Barnard and Michael Gilbert interviewed on South African Radio http://sangonet.org.za/conference2005/sabc_interview_compressed.mp3

David Barnard of SANGONeT and I were interviewed last month on South African radio. We talked about the role of ICTs in civil society and in development. You can listen to us online , if you like. I was pleased to see the mainstream media take an interest!

International Freedom of Expression eXchange http://www.ifex.org/

For international NGOs that rely upon a climate conducive to civil society and free communication, the International Freedom of Expression eXchange would be a valuable resource for planning and evaluating projects in various countries. With a leadership consisting of “organisations whose members refuse to turn away when those who have the courage to insist upon their fundamental human right to free expression are censored, brutalized or killed”, IFEX serves as a useful clearinghouse for all organizations that depend upon free expression to conduct their work successfully.

SANGONeT Conference & Exhibition 2005 http://sangonet.org.za/conference2005/programme.php

SANGONeT has posted slides and handouts related to the programme of their recent Conference and Exhibition in Johannesburg, at which I spoke. There is a wealth of great material there.

World Social Forum Principles

http://www.forumsocialmundial.org.br/main.php?id_menu=4&cd_language=2

The World Social Forum Principles are a great example of how to organize a constituency without dictating to it. The forum meets in Brazil next week to further develop strategies for a compassionate and just alternative to corporate globalization.

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Knowledge & Learning

Seven Knowledge Management Mistakes http://news.gilbert.org/7KMMistakes

Writing for me is a way of testing my ideas, a tool for thinking. Sometimes, that thinking is s real pleasure, which was the a case with writing our newest feature article, based on a section of my recent Logic of Learning workshop: Seven Knowledge Management Mistakes . The seven mistakes that I explore are called: 1. Letʼs Go Shopping! 2. Taxonomy Too! 3. Mixed Messages. 4. “Best” Practices. 5. Documental Illness. 6. Another Thing to Read. 7. The Work of Art.

The Knowledge Sharing Approach of the United Nations Development Programme http://www.km4dev.org/journal/index.php/km4dj/article/viewFile/21/60

Kim Henderson does a great job describing the knowledge sharing approach of the United Nations Development Programme (12 page PDF), with a focus on their six years of experience applying a “Communities of Practice” approach to their far flung activities. She identifies the ingredients of a healthy CoP, successful operating modalities, methods to promote participation and ways to link CoPs to policy outcomes.

Science in the Web Age

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7068/full/438548a.html

In Science in the Web Age , Declan Butler looks at the emerging use of weblogs and wikis in scientific communities. There are new knowledge building communities of practice emerging, which continue to use older tools, such as peer reviewed journals, along side these new tools, with their rapid response, high touch communication models. If scientists, with all their competition for resources and their high stakes inquiries, can incorporate new models, there is great hope that our own communities of good work can do the same.

Philanthropy as a Field of Practice

http://www.gifthub.org/2005/11/philanthropy_as.html

In Philanthropy as a Field of Practice , Philip Cubeta makes a plea for philanthropy to come together with a common focus, a community of practice, and collegiality. He argues that the subsectors of philanthropy barely speak the same language. He identifies those subsectors as: (1) Donor Groups, (2) Financial Advisors, (3) Donor Advisors/Foundation Advisors, (4) Wealth Counselors, (5) Family Therapists, (6) Wealth Coaches, (7) Life Coaches, (8) Fundraisers/Planned Giving People, (9) Political Fundraisers, (10) Values-based planners, and (12) Trickster Heroes.

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Knowledge & Learning (cont)

A Cognitive Analysis of Tagging

http://www.rashmisinha.com/archives/05_09/tagging-cognitive.html

Tagging of content (especially in contrast to classification) is all the rage right now. Itʼs great to see some thoughtful work such as Rashmi Sinhaʼs cognitive analysis of tagging . As is the case with many other tools, tagging is popular because of the lower “cognitive costs”, in essence meaning that there are fewer mental steps required to assign the metadata. I think her diagrams in particular are helpful in thinking this question through in more general terms.

Loosely Coupled Communities and the NPTech Tag http://ext337.org/category/tagging

In the late nineties, I wrote a piece of software called InWeb, a web based knowledge management system. One of its key paradigms was the use of tagging, rather than the folder metaphor, for organizing content. Users maintained their own bookmarks and assigned tags (technically facets) and short descriptions in a way that any user of one of the current crop of social bookmarking systems like del.icio.us would immediately recognize. We added RSS feeds and all the rest. Users hated it. Over and over again, we got the same complaint, from people who I thought would know better: Where are the folders? So, itʼs with a complex mix of feelings that Iʼve taken note of the distinct interest now being shown to tagging by nonprofit techies. In her notes for a talk that sheʼll be giving at Tag Camp, Marnie web explores Loosely Coupled Communities and the nptech Tag . Itʼs well-linked, thoughtful, and poses many interesting questions.

Introduction to Stocks and Flows in Online Communication (part 1 of 3) http://www.commoncraft.com/archives/000593.html

Lee Lefevreʼs three part Introduction to Stocks and Flows in Online Communication is a great example of communication centered analysis producing valuable insights. In the classic language of systems thinking, he concludes that Weblogs are highly suited to facilitating the flow of information and that Wikis are highly suited to developing stocks. He concludes with some excellent systems questions to ask when developing online knowledge and communication tools.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=542

Reporters Without Borders has published a truly fantastic Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents (46 page PDF). The contributors are top notch thinkers on the subject of grassroots communication and technology. I highly recommend this handbook to organizations that are considering blogging and more importantly, to any organization that has a stake in promoting open communication and truth telling about its issues.

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Knowledge & Learning (cont)

When Open Standards Really Matter - The Katrina Factor http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2005091305273070

Pamela Jones at GrokLaw has written a fantastic account of When Open Standards Really Matter , in the context of Hurrican Katrina. The short version is that, once again, in a horrific public emergency, the Internet succeeded as a communication network, where closed proprietary systems failed, and probably cost lives. Read it through to the end. There is much more, including a substantial followup discussion.

Evolving Communities of Practice: IBM Global Services Experience http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj/404/gongla.html

I have worked on community building throughout my career, but the Internet has allowed me to affordably test many of my ideas at a large scale. The same has been true of organizations far larger than mine. The IBM Global Services experience with Evolving Communities of Practice , as documented by Gongla and Rizzuto in 2001, remains one of the best descriptions of how the kinds of communities I work with most often grow and change over time.

Communities of Practice and Networks

http://inasp.ilrt.org/include/getdoc.php?jid=3&id=10&article=7

In Communities of Practice and Networks (15 page PDF), Sarah Cummings and Arin van Zee look at how new theories about knowledge management are starting to come together with older ideas about networking on the ground, with the particular example of agricultural networking and local development. This is an excellent peer reviewed paper on a key concept in real life knowledge work.

Itʼs About the Community Plumbing: The Social Aspects of Content Management Systems http://kairosnews.org/node/4313

In Itʼs About the Community Plumbing , Charles Lowe and Dries Buytaert look at the social aspects of content management. They start from the same position that I start with: An emphasis on content (even in the name “content management”) is a strategic mistake. The emphasis should be on the people and their relationships.

Sharing Nicely

http://www.yalelawjournal.org/pdf/114-2/Benkler_FINAL_YLJ114-2.pdf

In Sharing Nicely (86 page PDF), Yochai Benkler explores large scale, effective practices of sharing, such as carpooling and distributed computing, along with their social, economic, and political implications. I particularly enjoyed the analysis about peer based content development.

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Knowledge & Learning (cont)

Smarter, Simpler Social

http://www.headshift.com/moments/archive/sss2.html

Lee Bryant始s Smarter, Simpler Social was written in 2003, but is still a superb introduction to online social software methodology. The seven sections are:(1) Software becoming bigger, more stupid. (2) From Online Communities to Social Software. (3) Networked individuals and personal publishing. (4) Supporting emergent networked behaviour. (5) Mapping social networks. (6) Knowledge Sharing and Social Capital. (7) Towards a social methodology. This remains a relevant and insightful groundwork for thinking about online communities.

Email Is the New Database

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4167633.stm

Five years ago at Social Ecology we wrote OrgMail, an application for email based knowledge building. I think our timing must have been off because now the mainstream press is reporting that email is the new database .

A Brief Look at Blogs, Feeds and Aggregators

http://markc1.typepad.com/blogs4orgs/files/tlc_blog_outline.pdf

Mark Carr has compiled some statistics, ideas, and resources (admittedly some of them are my own) in A Brief Look at Blogs, Feeds and Aggregators (3 page PDF). Don始t expect more than a great outline, but this is still worth looking at.

Treemaps for Space-Constrained Visualization of Hierarchies http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/treemap-history/index.shtml

I始m sure this is a bit esoteric for many of you, but I have enjoyed spending time in the last year working through the resources and tools at Ben Shneiderman始s page on Treemaps for Space-Constrained Visualization of Hierarchies . What originated as an idea for visually displaying information on a full hard drive has evolved into an entire discipline for the display of hierarchically organized information of many kinds.

Civil Society Building

http://www.civilsocietybuilding.net

I heard a presentation today about a project quietly launched by Hivos in December 2004. Civil Society Building is an online knowledge exchange network for professionals from around the world involved in building civil society organizations and communities. There is already some superb content on the site.

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Knowledge & Learning (cont)

Folksonomies - Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata

http://www.adammathes.com/academic/computer-mediated-communication/folksonomies.html

When it comes to knowledge management and classification, I tend to like a mix of top down and bottom up approaches. The latter gets a thought provoking analysis from Adam Mathes in Folksonomies - Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata.

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Philanthropy

Philanthropy as a Field of Practice

http://www.gifthub.org/2005/11/philanthropy_as.html

In Philanthropy as a Field of Practice , Philip Cubeta makes a plea for philanthropy to come together with a common focus, a community of practice, and collegiality. He argues that the subsectors of philanthropy barely speak the same language. He identifies those subsectors as: (1) Donor Groups, (2) Financial Advisors, (3) Donor Advisors/Foundation Advisors, (4) Wealth Counselors, (5) Family Therapists, (6) Wealth Coaches, (7) Life Coaches, (8) Fundraisers/Planned Giving People, (9) Political Fundraisers, (10) Values-based planners, and (12) Trickster Heroes.

The Rough Guide to a Better World

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/pubs/files/rough-guide/better-world.pdf

The Rough Guide to a Better World (112 page PDF) is a lay personʼs overview of global poverty and development work. Itʼs not a radical book, by any means, but for a general audience interested in knowing more than just that periodically they hear about people starving in Africa, I think itʼs spot on. Plus, it has all the production values of the Rough Guide travel books, which makes it a pleasant ebook to read. Given the subject, thatʼs a smart idea.

Nonprofit Quarterly: Infrastructure Issue http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/section/496.html

If you havenʼt already read it and studied it, itʼs not too late to take in last Fallʼs Infrastructure Issue from the Nonprofit Quarterly. The full issue is available as a PDF, as are the individual articles. My favorite is “Why Every Foundation Should Fund Infrastructure”.

Practice Matters: The Improving Philanthropy Project http://www.foundationcenter.org/for_grantmakers/practice_matters/

The Foundation Center maintains a set of online resources called Practice Matters: The Improving Philanthropy Project . These are lengthy, well developed papers on great topics in philanthropy. I recommend the entire series, but I particularly enjoyed the material on creativity, communication, and capacity building.

Philanthropyʼs New Clothes

http://www.foundationnews.org/CME/article.cfm?ID=3272

In Philanthropyʼs New Clothes , Kathleen Enright looks at why honest feedback is sometimes hard to find in the field of philanthropy. Only a small fraction of grantmakers solicit feedback from grantees. A great many demand practices of their grantees that they themselves donʼt do. There are some hopeful signs of change, and her article is very much a call to action.

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Philanthropy (cont)

The Three Pillars of Social Source

http://www.movementasnetwork.org/threepillars-1.0.pdf

In The Three Pillars of Social Source (12 page PDF), Gideon Rosenblatt of ONE Northwest takes a stab at a taxonomy of nonprofit technology provision with the goal of greater focus and coordination among the players. He identifies the three pillars as application developers, application integrators, and application hosters, and speaks out strongly against conflation of those roles. I have to say I agree, at least in part. We learned this lesson at Social Ecology: When we decided to get out of the consulting business (where we were competing with our natural allies, the integrators), business boomed for us. I think the greatest flaw in this analysis, however, is that it is still too technocentric. There is still a fourth pillar (or perhaps it is the roof itself, to stretch the metaphor) which consists of communication professionals, such as marketing staff, fundraising consultants, advocates, organizers, and all the rest of the professionals whose communication vision and needs are meant to be served by technology.

Investing for Change

http://www.seattleweekly.com/features/0504/050126_news_investing.php

I applaud local activist, Microsoft millionaire, fellow nonprofit technologist, and budding writer, Jeff Reifmanʼs exploration of social investing and his candid disclosure of his own finances in an article on Investing for Change in the Seattle Weekly. The upshot is that itʼs not easy, but there are plenty of resources to explore.

How Nonprofit Careerism Derailed the “Revolution” http://www.counterpunch.org/donnelly12272004.html

I have built my career around the common values of the nonprofit sector, even though Iʼm frequently criticized for speaking about those common values, which I regard as fundamentally progressive. Now, in a very thought provoking article, Michael Donnelly suggests that a progressive social change agenda has been undermined by the rise of the nonprofit sector in the last 50 years. In particular, he cites one of my ongoing concerns: the compartmentalization of issues and the isolation of different causes from each other, as a result of the patterns of funding and professionalization of the sector.

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Politics/Policy

Nonviolent Activists Placed on Terrorist List in FBI Notes http://coanews.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=334

Freedom of Information Act requests have revealed that nonviolent activist organizations have been placed on terrorist lists by the FBI . Combine this with other stories, if you will, such as the Utah police attacking young people at a dance with a paramilitary raid or recent federal court rulings that allow indefinite detention of American citizens without having to charge them with a crime. If your work is even remotely outside the mainstream, I would sincerely hope that you are discussing these threats at the highest levels of your organization始s leadership.

Why Should Intellectual Property Rights Matter to Civil Society? http://africa.rights.apc.org/?apc=he_1&x=288591

I know that sometimes I write about things here and I don始t make clear their relevance to nonprofit organizations. Patent, copyright, and related issues are one example, so I was very pleased to read this accessible piece by Communications Rights in the Information Society on Why Should Intellectual Property Rights Matter to Civil Society?

Nonprofits and Public Broadcasting: We Need Each Other http://news.gilbert.org/NonprofitsPB

My short call to action yesterday does not do justice to either the urgency or the importance of the current threat to public broadcasting in the U.S. I firmly believe that there is a great deal of interdependence in the nonprofit sector. Public broadcasting is a great example of this. In my article, Nonprofits and Public Broadcasting: We Need Each Other , I describe that interdependence, some aspects of the current threat, and ask you to take action today.

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Research Organizations & Reports

Recommendations and Total Cost of Ownership Analysis

http://securityawareness.blogspot.com/2005/09/mad-as-hell-finale-recommendations-and.html

Itʼs been years since I allowed myself to get sucked into public conversations about operating systems. They were fun for a few minutes and these days my attention is all on the network. But small and medium sized organizations still need good advice about new computers. If youʼre a large organization, there are too many variables, but the smaller you are, the more likely it is your needs resemble those of many other small and home office (SOHO) users. Winn Schwartau is a well-known security consultant who has done his own Recommendations and Total Cost of Ownership Analysis . The report is available as a PDF with an Excel spreadsheet for supporting data. Itʼs focused on small businesses and home users and is very application to the circumstances of most nonprofits. It includes a simple way to do your own cost analysis. Itʼs also funny.

Benchmarking Digital Inclusion

http://public.gov3.net/public_pages/limited/global/news/news_articles/Benchmarking%20Digita l%20Inclusion%20White%20Paper.pdf

A new report entitled Benchmarking Digital Inclusion (36 page PDF) groups countries together on the basis of factors such as size, economic strength, and technology infrastructure. It argues that if the leaders in each group could help those doing less well, millions more people across the world would be online. This report is partly promotional in nature, coming from a consultancy that would help share such practices, but the numbers are solid and the recommendations sensible.

Some Disasters Compel Us to Give

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/05/AR2005110500276.html?n av=rss_business

In Some Disasters Compel Us to Give , the Washington Post reports on what sorts of calamities bring in the money and what sorts do not. Their conclusions are revealing: (1) “Natural” disasters beat manmade disasters. (2) Sudden disasters beat slow-moving crises. (3) TV counts. (4) Drama counts. (5) Timing counts. (6) Ease of giving makes a big difference. (7) Personal experience helps. (8) Simple beats complex. (9) Disaster giving doesnʼt supplant donations to other causes.

Inviting the World to Transform

http://www.contemplativenet.org/programs/cnet/inviting.pdf

Back in 2002, the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society published Inviting the World to Transform (91 page PDF), a report on the powerful role that contemplative practice can play in nourishing social justice work. They also explore the challenges involved in creating organizations and movements that are open to contemplation.

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Research Organizations & Reports (cont)

Sharing Nicely

http://www.yalelawjournal.org/pdf/114-2/Benkler_FINAL_YLJ114-2.pdf

In Sharing Nicely (86 page PDF), Yochai Benkler explores large scale, effective practices of sharing, such as carpooling and distributed computing, along with their social, economic, and political implications. I particularly enjoyed the analysis about peer based content development.

ICT Development Indices

http://www.unctad.org/en/docs/iteipc20054_en.pdf

If you work on international “digital divide” issues in any way, you are probably already familiar with the United Nationsʼ ICT Development Indices (73 page PDF) from 2004. It covers telephony, computing, and network access across the world, with an in depth look at Africa and success stories from China, Egypt, Korea, and the Czech Republic.

Disinfopedia

http://www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Disinfopedia

Iʼm a big believer in exposing the false “objectivity” of propagandists. Disinfopedia.org is a collaborative project to produce a directory of public relations firms, think tanks, industry-funded organizations and industry-friendly experts that work to influence public opinion and public policy on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests.

Gapminder

http://gapminder.org/

Iʼm very attracted to the persuasive and explanatory powers of images. Gapminder is a nonprofit project dedicated to “Making sense of the world by having fun with statistics”. Their fondness for proprietary file formats and their navigation are frustrating, but their use of charts to illustrate issues is sharp.

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Terminology

Business Model - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_model

Recently, when trying to explain the concept of the “business model” to some people taking a technology planning workshop from me, I was pleased to discover that my favorite resource on the subject is the Wikipedia entry . Itʼs solid, well-balanced, accessible, and richly linked.

Treemaps for space-constrained visualization of hierarchies http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/treemap-history/index.shtml

Iʼm sure this is a bit esoteric for many of you, but I have enjoyed spending time in the last year working through the resources and tools at Ben Shneidermanʼs page on Treemaps for Space-Constrained Visualization of Hierarchies . What originated as an idea for visually displaying information on a full hard drive has evolved into an entire discipline for the display of hierarchically organized information of many kinds.

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Websites

Five Reasons Social Networking Doesnʼt Work

http://www.cnet.com/4520-6033_1-6240543-1.html?tag=cnetfd.li

As we witness the decline of sites like Friendster and the changing of sites like Linked In into classified ad servers, itʼs smart to ask what happened to all the hype about “social networking”. In Five Reasons Social Networking Doesnʼt Work , Molly Wood does just that. Stating the desperately needed obvious, she says: (1) Thereʼs nothing to do there. (2) It takes too much time. (3) Traffic alone isnʼt enough. (4) Strangers kind of suck (or, put nicely, the social hierarchy is really not that attractive). (5) We already have the Internet. That last one is my favorite and is also one of the reasons why central bookmarking systems like del.icio.us will eventually have to give way to decentralized alternatives.

Email Marketing Articles From Email Labs http://www.emaillabs.com/pdf/BestPracticesArticles.pdf

Online services vendor Email Labs has collected some of their articles in Email Marketing Best Practices (43 page PDF). It includes some nice advice for reducing bounces and improving subject lines, but I would say itʼs more of a collection of tips than a framework of best practices.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Development

PledgeBank - Not Finished Yet

Development

This is a simple idea that I have been wanting to see for years. On June 13, 2005, MySociety will launch PledgeBank , a kind of contingent organizing tool. It works like this. You make a pledge to do something (make a donation, take an action), but only if a certain number of other people do it. It始s a simple, powerful, and age old tactic just waiting for this kind of technological support to bring it to scale.

http://www.pledgebank.com/

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Foundations

Streaming Grantmaker Knowledge http://news.gilbert.org/StreamingKnowledge

When the W.K. Kellogg Foundation released their revised website at the beginning of this year, there was a distribution medium in use. The foundation is now using RSS to syndicate content from various streams of information, including program news and new grants made. In Streaming Grantmaker Knowledge , I describe a step by step, six part procedure for assessing your online content and making it available in RSS, so that it can be subscribed to by people using newsreaders and built upon by online aggregators.

Role Models of Rigor and Vision: Barbara Kibbe and The Skoll Foundation http://news.gilbert.org/KibbeSkollFdn

One of the great rewards of my work is the people I get to meet. In Role Models of Rigor and Vision , I profile Barbara Kibbe and her current work. I have been an admirer of hers for nearly a decade now and I think she has found a great partnership in her new home at the Skoll Foundation, where she directs the Social Sector Program and initiatives related to the effectiveness of the foundation itself.

Nonprofit Quarterly: Infrastructure Issue http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/section/496.html

If you havenʼt already read it and studied it, itʼs not too late to take in last Fallʼs Infrastructure Issue from the Nonprofit Quarterly. The full issue is available as a PDF, as are the individual articles. My favorite is “Why Every Foundation Should Fund Infrastructure”.

Philanthropyʼs New Clothes

http://www.foundationnews.org/CME/article.cfm?ID=3272

In Philanthropyʼs New Clothes , Kathleen Enright looks at why honest feedback is sometimes hard to find in the field of philanthropy. Only a small fraction of grantmakers solicit feedback from grantees. A great many demand practices of their grantees that they themselves donʼt do. There are some hopeful signs of change, and her article is very much a call to action.

Proxy Season Preview 2005

http://www.asyousow.org/newsletter.pdf

Foundation assets are largely in shares of publicly traded corporations. As You Sow is an organization devoted to helping foundations use the influence they have as shareholders to advance their social goals. The current issue of their newsletter (16 page PDF) reviews key corporations and key issues coming up in the upcoming proxy voting season.

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Nonprofit Online News: The Best of 2005

Fundraising

Email Design Guidelines for 2006

http://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/archives/2005/11/html_email_desi.html

I highly recommend Campaign Monitorʼs Email Design Guidelines for 2006 . In brief, their six recommendations are: (1) Never use images for important content like headlines, links and any calls to action. (2) Use alt text for all images for a better experience in Gmail and always add the height and width to the image to ensure that the blank placeholder image doesnʼt throw your design out. (3) Add a text-based link to a web version of your design at the top of your email. (4) Ensure your most compelling content is at the top (and preferably to the left). (5) Test your design in a preview pane, full screen and with images turned on and off before you send it. (6) Ask your subscriber to add your From address to their address book at every opportunity.

Some Disasters Compel Us to Give

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/05/AR2005110500276.html?n av=rss_business

In Some Disasters Compel Us to Give , the Washington Post reports on what sorts of calamities bring in the money and what sorts do not. Their conclusions are revealing: (1) “Natural” disasters beat manmade disasters. (2) Sudden disasters beat slow-moving crises. (3) TV counts. (4) Drama counts. (5) Timing counts. (6) Ease of giving makes a big difference. (7) Personal experience helps. (8) Simple beats complex. (9) Disaster giving doesnʼt supplant donations to other causes.

Idealware: Vision

http://idealware.org/vision.php

I am a fan of Laura Quinn and all the folks who have helped start Idealware , a Consumer-Reports style approach to software reviews for nonprofits. This is probably the right vision for such an endeavor, although I think there are a lot of potential barriers. The number one issue is going to be to develop criteria that are relevant to actual communication centered requirements of different clusters of nonprofits and different usage scenarios. It will be interesting to watch their methodologies develop.

Understanding E-Relationships http://news.gilbert.org/ERelationships

My research and consulting colleague Michael Soper has written a great piece called Understanding E-Relationships . It could also easily be called by either of its two subheadings: Real Relationships are Rich in Options and Beyond the Unsubscribe Link. If you do any kind of email relationship building with your stakeholders, youʼll find Michaelʼs thinking to be the source of many good ideas.

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Fundraising (cont)

There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch http://news.gilbert.org/TINSTAAFL

In today始s feature article, There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch , Putnam Barber takes a hard hitting look at the culture of entitlement that is so prevalent in our sector. Although I do believe that you can be a tax protester with integrity, I agree that far too often, nonprofits try to justify some pretty dreadful things by pleading neediness. If you work with a lot of nonprofits, I think you will nod with recognition at his observations.

Online Donor Cultivation: The Quest for Metrics http://news.gilbert.org/cultivation2005

I just taught an online workshop yesterday on the subject of online donor cultivation, as part of our Frictionless Fundraising series. I believe that two of the great opportunities of online fundraising are the ability to cheaply cultivate relationships with many donors and the ability to track that cultivation numerically. I address the latter issue in my latest article entitled Online Donor Cultivation: The Quest for Metrics .

Report on the @Stanford Newsletter

http://www.stanford.edu/~jpearson/@stanford.pdf

Thanks to Mark Carr, I learned about this report on the effectiveness of @Stanford (21 page PDF), a free email newsletter for the university. It始s nice to note that they tested not just perceived effectiveness (which, alas, is what most evaluation tests), but also some metrics of actual effectiveness. They found positive correlations to many of their communication objectives, including giving. The recommendations include many expansions to the newsletter program.

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