FLOSS Usability Sprint IV

Event Date(s): 
March 9, 2007 to March 11, 2007

Aspiration and Blue Oxen Associates co-hosted the fourth FLOSS Usability Sprint March 9-11, 2007. Once again, Google graciously hosted the event at their headquarters in Mountain View. Project participants included Firefox, Drupal, WiserEarth, and Aspiration's own Social Source Commons.

Event proceedings were tracked on the FLOSS Usability Wiki.

2007 Nonprofit Software Development Summit

Event Date(s): 
February 21, 2007 to February 23, 2007

The 2007 Nonprofit Software Development Summit was a first-of-its-kind convening to bring together the range of developers, technologists, managers, eRiders, integrators, users and other practitioners who self-identify under the umbrella of roles around “developing nonprofit software”. The event provided an opportunity both to gather as a community and to take stock of the field, while building connections and capacity.

The Summit was hosted in Oakland, California, from February 21st to 23rd, 2007. Additional code sprints and collaborations were scheduled on the day following the event.

The 2007 Nonprofit Software Development Summit was supported in part by the generosity of TechSoup and Google, as well as anonymous donors.

See the Event Schedule and Agenda, the Agenda Overview, event background, and press release.

Please have a look at the Event Wiki.

And feel free to join the Event Mailing List to participate in discussions about the Summit!

Goals of the Summit

The Summit will had as its primary goals the following:

  • To convene and strengthen connections between the networks of stakeholders in the nonprofit software spectrum, providing a fun and creative environment for celebrating successes and leadership in the field.
  • To share skills and knowledge in a highly collaborative, peer-to-peer fashion.
  • To map and discuss what is available and what is missing across the nonprofit software landscape in specific software “verticals”, and to posit solutions for addressing the gaps.
  • To offer a point of entry for software developers interested in offering their skills to nonprofit sector.

The agenda will take a concrete and hands-on approach to topics and challenges, focusing on transferring skills and process knowledge in interactive and fun ways. Panels and slideware will be in short supply, supplanted by participant-driven collaborations and small-group formats.

Event partners working with Aspiration to design the agenda and sessions included Blue Oxen Associates, Brattleboro Technology Collective, (Warsaw, Poland), Chicago Technology Cooperative, CivicSpace, CiviCRM, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, DemocracyInAction, DotOrganize, Drupal, Floatleft, Fund for the City of New York, Grameen Foundation,, Humaninet, Idealware, Leland Design, Nonprofit Open Source Initiative (NOSI), ONE/Northwest, Openflows Community Technology Lab, The Open Planning Project, OpenID, PICnet, Project Zero,, Radical Designs, Foundation, Sulá Batsú (San Jose, Costa Rica), and Ujima Consultants.

Background - Nonprofit Software Development Summit

Software tools and technology that empower nonprofit and non-governmental organizations to carry out their mission have come a long way in the past 5 years. The advent of hosted solutions for donation, membership and project management have reduced IT costs while increasing capacity and reach. Powerful open source content management systems have put dynamic, affordable web publishing in the hands of a broad range of grassroots organizations. Platforms to support online campaigning and advocacy are plentiful, feature-rich, and accessible to a majority of budgets. Office productivity suites have continued to gain utility, and email tools continue to revolutionize the way organizations communicate and collaborate.

Agenda - Nonprofit Software Development Summit

Note: The latest Agenda and Event Schedule are on the Event Wiki

The agenda for the Nonprofit Software Development Summit will be shaped by input from participants in the time leading up to and during the event, and many sessions will be self-organized in real time. We encourage you to have a look at the editable version of the agenda on the Event Wiki and offer your input on how to build out the sessions!

As with all Aspiration events, fast-paced “SpeedGeeking” will allow participants to share and compare projects, ideas, and cool tools. Interactive group activities will poll attendees on a range of development-related topics to tease out alliances and surface points of debate. Wikis and other collaborative tools will document and transmit the proceedings in real time, and festive evening activities will demonstrate that the most important sessions require neither laptops or note taking to provide full value.

Accommodations and Transportation Info Software Development Summit

Preservation Park is located at:

1233 Preservation Park Way
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 874-7580

The closest airport is Oakland International.

Transportation and Parking Info for Preservation Park

Local Hotel Information:
Trip Advisor

Best Western Inn at the Square
233 Broadway, Oakland, CA
(510) 452-4565
Approx. $90-95 a night

Courtyard Marriott Downtown Oakland
988 Broadway Oakland, California 94607
(510) 625-8282
Approx. $210-$220 a night

Oakland Marriott City Center
1001 Broadway, Oakland, CA
(510) 451-4000
Approx $210-$220 a night

Waterfront Plaza Hotel

10 Washington Street, Oakland, CA
(510) 836-0132
Approx. $170-$180  per night

Executive Inn and Suites Oakland
1755 Embarcadero Dr, Oakland, CA  94606
(510) 536-6633
Approx $100-$110 per night

Aspiration leads facilitation at Telecentre Leaders' Forum in Benin, West Africa

Event Date(s): 
November 27, 2006 to December 2, 2006

Aspiration was delighted to lead the facilitation at the Africa Telecentre Leaders' Forum 2006. The event convened telecentre practitioners, network leaders, researchers and development partners from across Africa and took place at Centre Songhai in Port Novo in Benin from November 28 - December 2, 2006. The Africa TLF was jointly organized by Centre Songhai, IDRC, Microsoft, OKN, SDC and UNESCO under the banner of

The primary goals of the event were to

  • Develop a spirit of networking, learning and collaboration within the African telecentre movement.
  • Provide leaders of telecentres and other Community ICT Centres a chance to gain practical skills and learn about new services that can be used in their own networks and telecentres.
  • Search for common solutions to challenges faced by African Community ICT Centres such as sustainability, content, services, connectivity and impact.
  • Encourage the development of concrete collaborative activities that offer solutions to these challenges.

Aspiration guided a 1-day facilitator training before the main event, and then collaborated with a team of 12 facilitators from all walks of telecentre life as they guided discussions and collaborative sessions. Interactive SpeekGeeks and Spectrograms kept the proceedings lively, and the agenda content was designed in large part by the participants at the Forum. The event was facilitated in a fully bilingual format, balancing French and English discourse and demonstration.

Complete information about the event can be found on the web site.
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Event Date(s): 
November 17, 2006

The Sunlight Foundation invited Aspiration to design and facilitate the agenda for their first-ever Open(Data)/Open[Gov] meeting. The event, co-hosted by the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, brought together a diverse group of 60 practitioners focused on various aspects of making government data more open to citizens. The group spent the day wrestling with the challenges and opportunities facing activists and technologists working to open up and demystify publicly available data for the average web users. Sessions addressed how to create successful developer networks, how to facilitate open exchange between Congress and citizens, and a look at various APIs, microformats and possible mashups. Also addressed were gaps in existing data sets, sustainable business models for this type of work, and the unintended consequences of transparency.

Nonprofit Operations Brown Bag Lunch- Risk Management

Join Aspiration's Assistant Director, Heather Carpenter for an interactive Nonprofit Operations Brown Bag Lunch discussion about best practices for Risk Management.

Come learn and share best practices for Risk Management and receive Risk Management documents and templates.  Tell us what you want to discuss--Creating a Risk Management Plan, Preparing for Disaster, Preparing for an Office Move, Workplace Safety, or other Risk Management topics.

FLOSS Usability Sprint III

Event Date(s): 
October 27, 2006 to October 29, 2006

Aspiration and Blue Oxen co-organized FLOSS Usability Sprint III, which took place October 27-29, 2006 at Google in Mountain View, California. Many thanks to Leslie Hawthorn, Rick Boardman and Google for hosting the event!

Programmers, usability practitioners, project managers, and users gathered to discuss methodologies for improving the usability of Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) and to apply those processes towards specific projects. The goals were two-fold: To improve the usability of the participating projects, and to catalyze greater shared understanding and ongoing collaboration between the usability and open source communities. Aspiration’s own Social Source Commons platform was one of the focal projects, along with Drupal, HyperScope, Socialtext Open and Sustainable Civil Society.

For complete info about the proceedings see To see pictures from the event click here.

California eAdvocacy Training Road Show II

Event Date(s): 
September 25, 2006 to September 28, 2006

Aspiration took its open eAdvocacy curriculum back on the road to nonprofits in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The two-day “Web Sites For Advocacy and Community Organizing: Basics, Essentials, and Best Practices” training covers web essentials, development process, design essentials, developing web strategy, as well as best practices for privacy, and security. The trainings were designed to enable grassroots nonprofits to learn effective process and tactics in using email in their campaigns and strategic work. The training materials have been prepared by Aspiration in partnership with Radical Designs, and funded by the Community Technology Foundation of California. All materials are being distributed under Creative Commons license.