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April 13 2013


October 05 2011


In The Fields – Community Driven Innovation Hits The Road in Poland

Did you know that TechSoup Global has its European Headquaters in Warsaw, Poland? The office known under the name of Fundacja TechSoup plays both the role of the European hub, and an independent Polish nonprofit. Billy Bicket and Laney Strange are currently visiting Fundacja TechSoup’s Office in Poland. In an effort to understand the local reality and therefore be able to develop new programs and projects that would be actually community driven, the CDI team went to interview NGOs in the Polish countryside.

Who Did We Talk To?

On our one-day trip we visited 3 different local NGOs:

  • W.A.R.K.A. Association, which is based in the city of Warka, one of the oldest cities in the Mazovia region. It is an NGO that supports the local social activities and encourages initiatives coming from Warka and surroundings. W.A.R.K.A. partners with many social actors: organizations, as well as informal groups or individuals.
  • Association for the Development of the Kozietuły Village from Kozietuły. The Association was created in order to reopen a local grammar school that had been closed by the local government. The educational offering is the Association’s main focus, although they currently apply for funding that would help them go beyond their primary program.
  • The Association for The Future of Our Children from Izabelin Górki. The last NGO that we visited doesn’t even have an office. We were hosted by the organization’s board president – Ewelina Jarecka in her house in the village of Izabelin Górki. The Future Of Our Children is an organization that focuses on helping kids with physical and mental disabilities and was created by the parents of kids in need.

What Did We Learn?

Small NGOs see the value of using technology, but new tools are usually not the first thing they can afford to focus on. The organizations we visited are understaffed and generally underresourced; they learn technology and apply for online grants with the help of friends, or friends of friends. People working in a small NGO share responsibilities, so that each member or employee has to be prepared to cover everything from fundraising to event’s logistics. In such environment any form of ICT support  is always appreciated. Although most organizations are familiar with the product donations available through Polish Technologie Non-profit Donation’s Program, sometimes what they need is not only the resource but the know-how. They would like to learn how to use technology to help them gain information, raise money, communicate better as well as spread the word about what they are doing. The three organizations we talked to would definitely appreciate support coming in a form of expert’s advice or a help from volunteer(s).

The Next Steps

The local CDI representatives (Alicja Peszkowska and Anna Kuliberda) with the support of the entire team will be working on developing smart solutions for how to re-distribute the knowledge and the ICT know-how between the ICT specialist, social activists, bigger and smaller NGOs. Yesterday’s study trip was exploratory in terms of understanding the factors that any further actions will need to address. We also hoped that we developed a relationship with our further allies and beneficiaries.

Stay tuned for the update on our work and projects, and further news concerning Polish NPtech. We will be examining the landscape very carefully to make sure that our projects don’t get lost in translation!

May 24 2011


The Future of Nonprofits: An Interview with David J. Neff

David J. Neff  is a long-time innovator, blogger, and nonprofit founder. He recently co-authored the book, The Future of Nonprofits: Innovate and Thrive in the Digital Age, with Randal C. Moss. It is aimed at nonprofit employees at all levels who are interested in learning how innovation, internal entrepreneurship, fundraising and social media communications are going impact nonprofits in the next five years.

I touched base with Dave to find out more about his tactics and techniques for successful nonprofit management. Take a look at the interview below to learn more about Dave, and grow your understanding of leveraging technological innovations to run successful programs.

Learn more about David J. Neff in the interview below!


Q. How did you get started with nonprofit management and what drove you to write a book about it?

Randal and I had been at management positions at the American Cancer Society for several years and really saw what positive things can happen when you have the correct awareness, structure and staffing in an organization. We also were prominent members of the American Cancer Society Future and Innovation center and helped ACS predict future trends. These things combined made us want to share our experience with the nonprofit community. And the best way we could figure that out was through this book.

Q. What are some of the main themes in the book?

One of my favorite themes of the book is that nonprofits constantly hire people in their 20s and 30s who have amazing ideas, and then say no to all their great ideas. And then are amazed when they quit in frustration just months later. Nonprofits have to have a way to take in, evaluate and fund good ideas from their staff and volunteers. We have an entire two chapters dedicated
to these two ideas!

Q. What do you think are some of the characteristics of nonprofits and individuals that are strong innovators?

It’s simple. They are risk takers and their nonprofits take the time to reward them for that behavior. Nonprofits are way too risk aversive. We all understand that it’s other people’s money but the same thing holds for IBM or DELL. However in that case it’s the stockholders money. The modern nonprofit donor wants to know where the ROI is?

So can you answer them?

Q. I hear there is a graphic novel element to the book! Tell me more!

Yes we produced a graphic novel to help promote the book. Our “comic book” was done and drawn by the amazing Chris Bomley who writes about drawing it and working with us at this link. As far as I know it’s the first ever nonprofit comic book produced. It’s been an amazing marketing piece for us and tells a good story about our book.

Q. What have you learned from writing The Future of Nonprofits?

Wow. That’s a hard one. My favorite part was conducting all the amazing interviews of my peers that I got to do while writing the book. I learned so much about what peers were up to that you just don’t read on their blogs. It really re-awakened my love of journalism and news and I think you really see that in the book with the case studies and hard hitting questions we ask.

Q. How can people get their hands on The Future of Nonprofits and follow your other work?

You bet. You can buy the book at your local book store or through Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Nobles and Google Book and at our site www.thefutureofnonprofits.com

You can also grab the Nook and Kindle version as well. If you want to book us to speak to your group
simply hit us up at our Website or on our Facebook fan page.



Thanks so much to Dave for sharing his story with us!

April 20 2011


Collaborative Technologies for Social Impact: How Survivors Connect leverages the web and you can, too!

Originally posted on my blog at AmySampleWard.org - join the conversation and comment on the original post, too!


Aashika Damodar & collaborative technology for social impact

Every day I field questions from organizations and community groups looking to use facebook, Twitter or YouTube.. Most all of these groups are excited and enthusiastic but are coming from the wrong direction: focusing on the tools first. Our programs, services, and campaigns are successful, instead, when we focus on the community first, and that’s why Aashika Damodar’s work impresses and inspires me.

Survivors Connect is an organization supporting activists and building survivor advocacy networks using collaborative technologies to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking. Aashika, the founder and executive director, starting learning about and looking for ways to support the community of survivors when she was studying Anthropology and Political Science at University of California, Berkeley: “When I was in college, I learned of a labor/sex trafficking case right across from my dorm. I myself was also almost a human trafficking victim for the purpose of forced marriage in India. By that point, the issue of gender-based violence and trafficking had crept into so many facets of my life, prompting me to make it my life’s work to end it.”

Building programs and services to support a community means not just learning about the problems they face, but understanding how technologies can help make a difference. Aashika admits to being “a big tech-enthusiast by hobby” and she “found that the anti-slavery movement was lacking in terms of participation in this field, as well as innovation.” According to Aashika, “It is these very same technologies that often enable transnational human trafficking; so I felt that I needed to get involved in this way to make our activism smarter, and innovate on both the "process" and "product/software" frontlines.”

The Survivors Connect online platform includes various opportunities for those wishing to report abuse, take action, or otherwise support the network of activists, and relies on a variety of collaborative technologies, from data mapping to online seminars, SMS-powered communications to an online community network. Different regions around the global have a very different level of access than those in North America or Western Europe. Recognizing which tools are available to your community can make the biggest impact on your project’s success.

“It has always been quite interesting to me that in many parts of the developing world, there is near ubiquitous ownership of mobile phones,” explained Aashika. “Here is really where the innovative thinking began. Communication tech, in a sense, is shrinking us as groups while increasing our ability to connect. Why not use this to work on preventing some of the most egregious human rights abuses in the world?”

Taking advantage of mobile technology, Survivors Connect created SMS: Freedom which connects individuals and communities with experts and resources via text messages. In this way, information about scams or risks can easily be distributed to communities, or reports can be shared throughout the network.

“The experiences and stories of survivors were and always are my call to action,” Aashika told me. “They are the strongest souls Ive ever met. Survivors of various forms of slavery give us a glimpse of how the broader crime of human trafficking works, and just how much is involved.” And it isn’t just Aashika that survivors are inspiring; through Freedom Connect all members of the global network fighting slavery and human trafficking are invited to create profiles, share calendars, create groups, share resources and join together in discussions.

Most importantly to the success of Aashika’s work, is her ability to remember that it is not about the tools. Survivors Connect is not just an online platform and network working to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking, but a place to continue to learn and inspire—the technology is simply a tool for letting us connect and communicate. “We will not win the fight against slavery and human trafficking with egos, but with open and understanding hearts and minds.”

>> Learn more about Aashika and Survivors Connect today: http://www.survivorsconnect.org

In 2008, Aashika graduated from the University of California, Berkeley; she is now working on her Masters in Philosophy in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, UK where she’s a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. Her honors thesis from UCBerkeley won the Ronald Frankenberg Prize and the Sylvia Forman Prize from the American Anthropological Association; it was also published in the 2010 Project Censored Journal.

How you can create an online collaboration space!

Working people and communities around the world can make sharing information and even just communicating a difficult task. Like Survivors Connect, maybe you want to share the stories and work from your community. There are various tools available, though, that make public networks or even private collaboration easy and efficient.

Top Tools for Collaboration

What do you want to do together? The tool to try: Just communicate by email, privately Google Groups is a free tool to create an email group that is private or public Share stories and updates, sometimes photos or videos, publicly Wordpress is an open source blogging platform that lets you have any number of authors Create an online network with options for profiles, diverse content, and multiple communication options Ning allows you to build your own public or private online network with various pricing options

Tips for Collaboration Online

If you want to replicate some of Aashika’s success bringing people together online, here are the top 5 tips you need to keep in mind:

  • Evaluate your Community: where are they, what kind of access do they have, and what are they looking to do?
  • Evaluate your Capacity: how much time do you have, what kind of technical experience do you have, what resources are available?
  • Evaluate your Goals: what do you and the community want to accomplish, what do you want to do today and what do you want to do in a year?
  • Try Something First: don’t be afraid to jump in and give a new tool a try; if it doesn’t fit your needs, then move on!
  • Build on Success: if something is really working, analyze what it is and why to see if

February 11 2011


David Geilhufe, Program Manager, NetSuite.org

I run NetSuite.org, the philanthropic arm of NetSuite Inc. Our priority is improving the back office technology infrastructure of charities and social enterprises through product donations, pro-bono service grants and social solutions ... our greatest social impact is helping our grantees expand and extend their social impact through better back-office operations.

 The assets we bring to collaborations are cloud-based back office technology (accounting, payroll, ERP, CRM, eCommerce, multi-subsidiary consolodation, PaaS), thousands of hours of pro-bono service grants from employees, partners and customers, and social solutions in areas as diverse as fundraising and carbon accounting.

Since our expertise (technology) is such a minor, yet critical, part of scaling an organization's social impact from the back office, we need collaborators to identify grantees that can benefit from our assets, collaborators that can do business process work and consulting, and collaborators that would build the social enterprise business models around delivering social solutions at scales (thousands of software instances to thousands of grantees/customers).


giving AT netsuite.com 


January 10 2011


Serious game: inside the Haiti earthquake response

I know that many of us are struggling with doing things online that are educational AND interesting. I love so called "serious games" for that purpose, but of course they take a long time to produce and are anything but cheap. Which is why I'd like to share an example with you.

A camera team that was working with the Red Cross while I was in Haiti just created a serious game that allows players to take on the role of a journalist, aidworker or survivor and I think it's really impressive. 

I wrote a quick review on my blog: http://sm4good.com/2011/01/10/game-haiti-earthquake-response/ 


December 20 2010


December Net2 Think Tank Round-up: Reflecting Back On 2010

Earlier this month, we asked you to share your your reflections on the world of technology and social benefit in 2010. We wanted to learn which nonprofit-technology-related content, innovations, events, and ideas stand out as being the big game-changers for the year. Below, we've compiled all of the community responses for this month's Net2 Think Tank!

read more

December 08 2010


New Media for Social Change Competition: December 20th deadline to submit

The deadline for the New Media for Social Change competition almost here: December 20, 2010. Interested groups and individuals should read the Rules and Regulations and fill out the online submission form as soon as possible. If you have any questions or concerns that might keep you from submitting something, please feel free to contact One World immediately by writing Scott Hudson scott.hudson@oneworld.cz.

read more

December 07 2010


Sale on Spark widgets, and a survey that might serve you!

Hi all,

A couple of bits of news from Call2Action that may benefit this comunity...

First, for the month of December we are dropping all set up fees on our interactive video widget, The Spark. This will save $500... I know a lot of people have expressed interest but the cost was prohibitive for a more experimental tool. So, if you are still interested now would be a great time to check it out again- especially if you have some online video you are looking to leverage... Learn more here. Our clients have had a lot of success with listbuilding, fundraising and driving folks around the web to their campaigns.

read more

December 01 2010


December Net2 Think Tank: Reflecting back on 2010

It's December and that means a new year will soon be upon us! As we head into 2011, let's take a moment to reflect on the big accomplishments from 2010! When you look back at the world of innovation and social benefit this year, what are the key things that come to mind? Share your reflections with the NetSquared Community!


Share your favorite NPTech content, innovations, events, and ideas from 2010! What was your most popular event or post from the last year? What new tool could you not live without? Do you have a favorite post or a defining theme that dominated 2010? 

read more

November 30 2010


November 26 2010


Micro Volunteering - Untapped Potential with Some Apparent Wrinkles to Work Out

Although a number of areas appear to require further elucidation, micro volunteering seems to have untapped potential in our ever expanding and changing technological age. To place micro volunteering in context, I will briefly provide an overview of online volunteering (also known as Virtual Volunteering or Internet-based volunteering).

Micro-Volunteering within the Context of Online Volunteering

read more

October 25 2010


Net2 Think Tank Round-up: Creating Awesome Video

For this month's Net2 Think Tank we asked you to share your tools and tactics for creating effective video messages - regardless of budget and organization size. Affordable video capability and basic editing software are now widely available and easy to use. But, how can organizations and enterprises best use video to inspire change? Below is a list of tips and suggestions on making decisions to do with hardware and software, message and editing, video quality, and promotion ideas. 

read more

September 13 2010


Get Free Web Data Analysis for your Organization

I recently became aware of a great opportunity for nonprofits, NGOs, and other organizations to connect with aspiring web analytics pros—you can recieve free analytics of your organization's online performance. The Analysis Exchange program is the brainchild of the Web Analytics Demystified team, and more information can be found here, or below:

read more

September 10 2010


50-Euro Discount for PdF Europe

Next month, Personal Democracy Forum will be hosting PdF Europe, a gathering of leaders in technology, government, and the social sector in Europe and around the world. The conference will happen October 4 and 5 in Barcelona. If you register with the code "TSG," you can get a €50 discount off the registration fee.

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August 18 2010


See Who's Getting Started with NetSquared Local

NetSquared Local MapThere are over 70 NetSquared groups around the world that meet to network and learn about using the web and other innovative technologies to make social change happen. Each one of these groups is volunteer run and community driven, and each one is totally unique and at the mercy of the interests, cultures and expertises of the group members.

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August 17 2010


Community Organizers Handbook: Launching a resource for NetSquared Local and beyond!

Over the last few years, the NetSquared Local network has grown from just a few groups in only a couple countries, to 70+ groups in 21+ countries! Those Local groups are organized by volunteers passionate about building community at the intersection of technology and social change. We support organizers with resources, assistance, and other connections, but we believe the most valuable resource comes from organizers having access to each other and sharing between themselves.  We also recognize that we aren't the only ones working in this space and the more knowledge we can share, with more changemakers and organizers, the more we can all be even better.

read more

August 06 2010


Blog for water and get to Africa

Changents is hosting a contest with P&G Give Health calling for bloggers to share why they are clean water Change Agents. What's in it for bloggers? A few great things:

read more

August 05 2010


Net2 Think Tank: Going Digital

New organizations build their services and strategy to fit into the existing paradigm of the technology that is available today and the innovations that are expected to happen in the future. But, many enterprises and organizations have existed since long before mobile and web technologies were ever envisioned. How are you updating your previously off-line services to be available online? 

Regular contributors, please note that we've broadened the ways that you can contribute, so be sure to re-read the "How to contribute" section below!

read more

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