Aspiration News

Network Facilitation Training Convergence

Event Date(s): 
September 1, 2005

At the invitation of Bellanet’s Harambee project, Aspiration offered a second training in our event facilitation methodology for nonprofit technology gatherings. Participants explored how the Aspiration approach can be used to build or strengthen collaborative networks, and to lay the foundation for concrete online and offline post-event collaboration, including the effective use of wikis and other online tools used to produce documentation in real time during face to face events. The workshops also provided a springboard for planning subsequent Harambee events via the Aspiration process.

Extreme Usability Redux

From Eugene Kim, our partner at the last Usability Sprint: 

Extreme Usability Redux -

Another great FLOSS Usability Sprint is in the books. As usual, great people make for great gatherings, and this event was no exception. But we did have a new goal for this event, and it resulted in some different outcomes, many of which were related to this new notion of ExtremeUsability. (JOS)

FLOSS Usability Sprint II: Extreme Usability

Event Date(s): 
August 22, 2005 to August 24, 2005

This event brought together programmers, usability experts, project managers, and users to prototype new methodologies for improving the usability of Free/Libre Open Source Software (F/LOSS) and to apply those processes towards specific software projects. Aspiration’s own Social Source Commons platform was one of the focal projects, along with the Chandler project, CiviCRM, and others.

Computer World on Linux in Africa

Computer World has a brief article in this month's issue about Linux in Africa.  Aspiration's Co-Director Allen Gunn notes in the  article that, ""People in some of the least connected areas are doing some of the most interesting work." Colleagues of ours in Europe and Africa are quoted as well. Check it out.  We love getting press.

We are indeed seeing lots of innovation coming from various countries in Africa in regard to open source and NGOs in particular:  Schoolnet Namibia, the growing eRider Network in Africa, Ungana Africa's work, the newly established Ubuntu Foundation, and Linux Chix Africa who are lively and wonderful.  There are also a number of good reports, most recently one from bridges.org, comparing proprietary and open source software in telecentres and community technology centres in Africa.  Tectonic provides up-to-date information on Linux in Africa.

MobileActive: Cell Phones for Civic Activism on WorldChanging

There is a nice write-up on WorldChanging about MobileActive, the convergence of mobile phone activists from around the world that we are convening with our friends at Green Media Toolshed. Emily Gertz, a woman I have long wanted to meet, writes: "Mobile phones: How we love their transformative potential on Worldchanging. With all the ways mobiles a becoming key tools for economic and political development world wide, it's probably a great time for strategic gatherings to share stories and lessions learned from the field."

Penguin Days Featured on "Mad Penguin"

Mad Penguin is featuring a series of interviews with Aspiration co-directors Allen Gunn and Katrin Verclas about Penguin Days and the Aspiration strategy and methodology of building an ecology of developers and users of software for nonprofit and social change organizations.

Reporter Christian Einfeldt writes: "If you thought that free open source software is a natural tool for non-profits, you were half right. The potential is there, but as this series of Mad Penguin™ interviews with the co-directors of the non-profit group called Aspiration Tech will show, we're really only about half way there in the journey to complete Tux's domination of the non-profit sector (and then the rest of the world). There's still a whole lot of teaching and learning that's gotta be done as the non-profit and free open source communities get to know each other better. And teaching is what Aspiration Tech is all about. In this series of two articles, Mad Penguin™ talks with the two co-directors of Aspiration Tech, Katrin Verclas, and Allen Gunn, aka “Gunner,” about the apparently mysteriously weak presence of free open source software in the non-profit sector (at least in North America) and what Aspiration Tech is doing about it."

Advocacy Dev II

Event Date(s): 
July 11, 2005 to July 13, 2005

The second convening of practitioners of open source tools for online advocacy took on an international flavor, with participants traveling from Asia and Europe to join in the festivities. Sessions included Mapping the State of F/OSS eAdvocacy Software, discussing F/OSS Database Tools for NPOs and NGOs, Introducing Aspiration’s eAdvocacy Training Curriculum, Open Database Standards, Hacktivism, Inter-Cultural Issues, and a range of peer-to-peer skillshares.

AdvocacyDev II Concluded Today in Oakland, California

AdvocacyDev II concluded toay in Oakland, California. Developers, activists, and nonprofit/NGO staff from Southeast Asia, the United States, and Canada creating and using open source eAdocacy applications came together to strategize, map, and socialize about this emerging field of tools. The discussions about online organizing and engagement were incredible! Thank you to all who made this convergence fabulous. The wiki documenting proceedings is at http://wiki.advocacydev.org, pictures are here.

Inspiration: Localizing F/LOSS

mekhalaInspiration can come from the most unexpected places. I'm a little past halfway through AdvocacyDevII. As I expected, there are a lot of really interesting people here, and I have had some great conversations, and learned a fair bit. It has also been great to meet face-to-face with a fair number of people that I have corresponded with over the last 2 years, but never met.

Developers and Activists Gather for AdvocacyDev II

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Katrin Verclas
Aspiration
413-687-9877 or 413-884-0094
katrin@aspirationtech.org
www.aspirationtech.org

Developers and Activists Gather for AdvocacyDev II: Open Source Software for Campaigns, Advocacy and Mobilization

San Francisco, California, July 7, 2005 -- Aspiration, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting better software for a better world, is convening programmers and activists developing free and open source advocacy tools to share skills and knowledge at the second annual Advocacy Developers Convergence. AdvocacyDev II will take place in Oakland, California on July 11-13, 2005 – www.advocacydev.org

Groundspring's Advocacy Applications Released Under GPL

Jeff Reifman reports that the advocacy tools formerly developed by Groundspring -- EmailNow, DonateNow, and AdvocacyNow -- are released by him and Kellan under the free software GPL license.

AdvocacyNow is now available as eAdvocacy as a hosted solution at Jeff's Action Studio. The other two apps are unsupported at this moment, though a growing community is certainly possible. The source code is available here.

I am pretty excited about this development and look forward to exploring at greater length how DonateNow and EmailNow as well as eAdvocacy can be viable solutions for a broader set of nonprofits, especially in conjunction with tools such as CivicCRM, for example. The ecology of open source advocacy applications got suddenly a whole lot more interesting.

Shoutout to CivicSpace

Nice, <a href:"http://software.newsforge.com/software/05/06/03/2021243.shtml?tid=132 short article on Newsforge about CivicSpace and the ecology of organizations and businesses evolving around CS.

CivicSpace developers will be at the AdvocacyDev II convergence> that Aspiration is hosting in Oakland In July 05.

Quote from NewsForge: "CivicSpace's philosophy might be summed up as "open source inside, open source outside," as Rosen and Hoppin say that one of their organization's core ideals is to "enable citizens to collaboratively conduct what are essentially open source marketing campaigns for causes they believe in." For CivicSpace's staff, the extension of this philosophy is "actively helping organizations that might be thought of as our competitors by a more traditional closed organization," and even being willing to "hop on the bandwagon and help" if another organization improves on what CivicSpace does."

Activists Think Mobile

News: Activists Think Mobile

Submitted by Mike Grenville on Fri, 24 Jun 2005 22:31, 160Characters.org

Two technology NGOs are convening a strategy meeting of global activists and technology experts using mobile phones in political campaigns, human rights efforts and field organizing

The organisers of the "MobileActive" convergence, to be held in Toronto, Canada on September 22-24th, are Two US-based technology NGOs - Green Media Toolshed and Aspiration.

Katrin Verclas, Co-Director, Aspiration and one of the organisers of the event said that "There are unique characteristics of mobile phone communications. For campaign organizers, there are technical hurdles and questions about using the tool for one-to-many message delivery. For communicators, there are challenges to crafting messages that work in a sms, text message or voice appeals. In spite of these challenges, a growing body of evidence suggests that under some conditions, mobile phones are a powerful new tool in the hands of civil society organizations, organisers, and activists."

Thanks, Mark Surman!

Mark Surman, our friend and ally from IDRC's telecentre.org network, gave us just the nicest plug ever. Thanks so much, Mark! Best of luck and good wishes as you embark on creating the telecentre network.

Nonprofit Software and Nonprofit Missions

Aspiration board member Michelle Murrain writes on her personal blog about Convio's recent decision to take on an anti-gay marriage organization as a client. She argues:

CivicCRM 1.0 is out

From David Geilhufe. CivicCRM is an open source constituency relationship management application running on Drupal (for now):

"Progress on CiviCRM is coming along well and now is the time to get involved!...CiviCRM is now ready to be integrated into other applications. If you have or are considering an NPO application that stores CRM data (contacts, relationships, actions), please take a look at CiviCRM as a basis for your project.

CiviCRM is open source and as long as you contribute your modifications to CiviCRM back to the community, you can do anything you want with the software. CiviCRM is already being adapted by consultants for custom applications in fundraising and member management.

ExP estimates $43 billion in annual U.S.nonprofit IT spending

ExP estimates $43 billion in annual U.S.nonprofit IT spending - This from our friends Paul and Rem: Exponent Partners estimates that U.S. nonprofit organizations annually spend at least $43 billion on IT products and services. With 1.4 million organizations that make up 7.5% of the U.S. gross domestic product, this is a substantial market for technology vendors. However, the preponderance of small nonprofits, fragmented across many divergent subsectors, makes it a challenging market to serve. [Exponent Partners]

Online Donation Processing

Here is a good list of online donation processors: http://www.affinityresources.com/pgs/awz55Online2.shtml

Some of the entries are a bit out of date, as the list is only updated annually. Most entries are correct, though. Note that there is a 2nd page with additional information.

(Thanks, Robert Weiner!)

Addendum: There is also a useful comparison chart of online registration ASPs on the Consultant Commons at http://www.consultantcommons.org/node/37

User Guide to Using the Linux Desktop

IOSN has produced an introductory end user guide to using the Linux desktop.

This guide is meant as an introductory guide on using a modern personal computer (PC) running the Linux operating system. It provides a self-learning guide on how to use a modern Linux desktop system. It assumes that the user has no prior knowledge of Linux or PC usage.

The guide is formatted for use as printed material, with the acompanying slides to be used by trainers.

The training materials are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Fundraising and Donation Management Compilations

Compilations of applications and resources on donation management and fundraising tools can be found at these two useful sites:

  1. http://www.rlweiner.com/resources.html
  2. http://www.tfraise.com/listings.aspx

Tom Fraise also has a comparison matrix downloadable from his site, allowing you to compare applications according to a number of criteria.

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