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.