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Three Pillars of Social Source

Gideon Rosenblatt's excellent paper on the state of nonprofit technology is a must-read for everyone interested in information technology for nonprofits. From the site:

Three Pillars of Social Source

In the world of scarce resources plaguing the nonprofit technology sector, we currently suffer from a conflation of roles. This paper outlines three functional roles that are essential for a vibrant nonprofit technology sector. These “three pillars” include the “application developer”, the “application integrator” and the “application hoster.” Drawing clearer distinctions between these roles will help nonprofit technology assistance providers clarify their organizational missions, which will reduce competitive overlap and pave the way for improved collaboration between organizations. These steps are absolutely necessary if we are to evolve the nonprofit technology sector into a more integrated “social source” movement dedicated to empowering the agents of social service and social change throughout our societies.

SmartMobs: Promotes MobileActive

SmartMobs: Promotes the Conference

Green Media Toolshed and are hosting the first-ever gathering of activists and organizers using cell phones and sms in their campaign, human rights, and political work. (Thanks Katrin)

They are still looking for experienced campaigners, human rights, and social justice activists who are using sms messaging and cell phones in their work.

Cell Phone Activism

Cell Phone Activism -

OSI and the Beldon fund have funded Green Media Toolshed and Aspiration to convene a working session of global activists, communications staff, technology experts and foundation staff to mine a wide variety of experience, expertise and vision. The goal is to shorten the learning curve and accelerate the use of cell phones as a successful tool in campaigns, human rights and democracy efforts. The convergence will develop new guides for campaign planners, communications staff and technology staff. All will participate to explore the ways cell phones can be used in organizing contexts. Case studies from the field will be explored and a short list of recommendations will be developed for funders interested in supporting ways that leverage the new wireless connections provided the mobile phones. OSI has committed to fly participants in from across the world including Africa, South Korea, the Phillip, India, the Ukraine, South America and the US.

Power to the Edges: Trends and Opportunities in Online Civic Engagement

Power to the Edges: Trends and Opportunities in Online Civic Engagement -

This report from the affinity group PACE - Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement is a snapshot of the current state of online democracy in the age of connectivity brought about by the Internet and other digital information technologies.

The implications of online democracy for nonprofit organizations are significant and challenging. The report authors urge nonprofits and the funders who support them to become more nimble, integrate online and offline activities, leverage and strengthen activists networks and brandish a new set of leadership skills that are facilitative and inclusive.

FLOSS and NGOs: A Compilation of Resources and Community Events

Link: Non-Profit Use of Open Source | Doc Searls' IT Garage.

Taran mentions the NOSI Open Source Primer, written by Michelle Murrain, Aspiration's board member. There has been a plethora of resources lately on free and open source software (f/oss) and NGOs; a brief compilation of the most noteworthy is below. There are also a number of organizations, both here and internationally, that are beginning to form a lively ecosystem of development, support, and community for f/oss and NGOs. These include certainly NOSI, Tactical Tech, us here at Aspiration, the LINC Project,,, Commons Group and Community Bandwidth.

Here are some of the noteworthy resources on f/oss that we have been involved in or that have come across my radar.

Several are compiled here at what is the very beginning of an Open Source Almanac that first saw the day at the Advocacy Developer Convergence. It needs some love soon.

Phillip Smith, our colleague in Toronto at Community Bandwidth has released a very interesting article called "What Not-for-Profit Organizations Need to Know about Free Software.

Mark Surman started it all with the The Commons Group's Choosing Open Source: A Guide for Civil Society Organizations. Developed by Commons and the APC, this guide provides civil society organizations with both an introduction to open source and a framework for finding software that will meet their needs. Designed to be accessible and helpful to non-profit managers and others responsible for high level technology decisions.


p>There is, of course, the NOSI Guide, as aforementioned. The Nonprofit Open Source Initiative's (NOSI) Choosing and Using Open Source Software: A Primer for Nonprofits describes what open source software is and what impact this type of software may have on the nonprofit sector.

It includes:

Non-Profit Innovation Alliance

There has been quite a bit of buzz about the newly-formed Non-Profit Innovation Alliance (NIA).

The NIA is a "cross-licensing group comprised of firms that provide technologies that help nonprofits--as well as political campaigns--send email fundraising campaigns, aggregate member contact information, manage website content and the like," according to Kate Kaye, a journalist and writer for Personal Democracy.


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