Hi – please vote for my manifesto on changethis.com. Its pretty much a guide on how to use crowds to help you raise funds online.

Its no secret that I felt that Seth Godin’s 59 Smartest Orgs Online was a little biased and lacked a wide enough perspective. One of the things that I remember mentioning at a morning meeting discussing the list was the almost lack of projects using Google Earth and KML, a really amazing tool to give a global context to phenomena. Since Google Earth launched its Google Earth Outreach Program yesterday, I though I’d present my Top 5 Smartest Orgs on Google Earth. In no particular order.

Appalachian Voices Mountaintop Removal in Google Earth

Declan Butler’s Avian Flu Outbreaks in Google Earth

Earthwatch – Sweetwater’s Rhinos in Google Earth

UNEP – Amazon Deforestation in Google Earth

USHMM Crisis in Darfur in Google Earth

The one thing I would like to see is a way to integrate a donation management system into the Google Earth solution which would allow the user to donate to a project, and maybe even specifically to sponsor a particular rhino, just as an example.

UPDATE: The fact that the users as well as the grant program is heavily biased towards US based orgs is a bit annoying, but is something that we have come to expect from Google.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Forgot to add BrightEarth who are doing some pretty cool things with Google Earth, ESRI ArcGIS Explorer and NASA’s World Wind.

In the pre-social networking carnival that is today’s web environment, a NPO was usually lagged behind in terms of technology, simply for the reason that up to date technology required money and technical expertise, which your typcial NPO did not have. In the last couple of years, there has been a shift in emphasis towards something that NPO had more access to than your average for-profit enterprise, a community. We are looking to roll out a custom social networking tool in the next couple of months and I have been doing a lot of research into this area, I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with the tools that are currently out there – small focused experiments that have allowed me to evaluate and learn from before investing development time. We want to get this right the first time, or at least the second.

Most of the Social Networks that I have had a look at, have great tools, and I am really impressed by Facebook and the Facebook platform that allows for the writing of microsoftware for Facebook. There are also a lot of nonprofits that are using MySpace and YouTube and other mass market social networking platforms. The problem with these sites is that most of the users there are there for fun, to kill time and, on the more business orientated sites like linkedin, for networking. They aren’t really there to look for volunteer or philanthropic work or even to donate.

At the moment my money is on niche’d social networks, smaller more aggeressively orientated towards a particular group, subculture or cause. More of a support site, than a massive online community.

Resources I have been looking at:
Using Social Networking to Stop Genocide
Danah Boyd’s publications on Social Networking
The Power of Many
and many others that weren’t as informative.

The results of the TechImpact technology service provider survey are in! In late 2006 TechImpact surveyed technology providers across the country in order to understand what technology assistance means for nonprofit capacity.

They set out to answer the following questions:

  • Who is providing technology assistance to nonprofit organizations? Who do they serve?
  • What services do providers offer? What approaches do they use to deliver technology assistance?
  • Where are technology providers located? Where are they delivering services?
  • When do providers employ evaluation strategies to understand the effect of their work?
  • How do providers implement strategies to foster key outcomes for organizations, and how do they successfully achieve those outcomes (e.g., improved efficiency and effectiveness)?
  • How do providers measure the success of their projects?

Its an interesting read. The feeling that I got from it is that what is missing in the field is a way for providers to evaluate their projects and a standard set of steps to evaluate readiness. This is something that we need to be working on.

Check out the complete report here.

A bit of an old one now, but NPower’s guide to choosing your donor management software is a useful guide.

Download the workbook and companion resources from here.

Not much time left to share in the $100,000 pie being offered to those with a tech-for-social-good.

The NetSquared Featured Projects is a global competition that is open to both nonprofit and private sector submissions. We seek nominations of projects that can demonstrate the following attributes (though we understand that different projects will have different emphases and strengths):

  • Use the power of community and social networks to create change
  • Use existing, or newly developed technology tools for social impact
  • Have a plausible financial model
  • Have a clear way to measure success
  • Exhibit extraordinary leadership, passion and resourcefulness
  • Exhibit a passion for social change

The submission deadline is Friday April 6th.

Mobile phones have become a powerful emerging tool for participation in civil society. The MobileActive series of Strategy Guides examines the effectiveness of nonprofits using mobile phones to build their constituent lists, influence political causes, and raise money. In the Guides they aggregate strategies, case studies, and lessons learned to encourage the adoption of mobile phones by nonprofits.

Check out: Download MobileActive Strategy Guide #3: Using Mobile Phones in Fundraising

Download more guides from here