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Michele Martin

Beth, this is an interesting and timely discussion. I just did a post on a nonprofit project called The Bridge which seems to me to represent and embrace many of the Web 2.0 strategies and approaches. They "get" how to leverage the new technology and I suspect it's because their organization (The Glue Network) was created during this era.

When it comes to creating a participatory nonprofit, I suspect that it will be easier to build one from the ground up, than it will be to integrate the tools into an existing culture. In part, this is because it's less about the tech and more about the mindset it takes to effectively utilize these tools.

Many organizations are built upon a command and control closed communication model. That culture is completely antithetical to the participatory nonprofit. Having a nonprofit that can effectively navigate this new world will require a degree of "letting go" and paying attention to process, not just outcomes. These are not the skill sets and mindset that have been developing in the past several years.

I also have begun to believe that part of the challenge is in making Web 2.0 very concrete and real. With years of training nonprofit staff under my belt, I've grown to understand that many of them are concrete thinkers who need to see in black and white (or on the computer screen) exactly what it would look like in their organization or an organization like their's.

So to me, the challenge is two-fold. First, there's a need to look at what it takes to build a participatory culture. The second is finding ways to get the message across to nonprofits simply, visually and without a lot of technical jargon.

Just some thoughts. . . now I'm off to read the rest of what you have here. I think this is a really important conversation.

Nancy White

I'm following you and Michele around as you post/leave comments on this. Mmm, yummy conversation. More on my blog tonight. (Am at a meeting of school technology directors today and I sense I'll be thinking about this in a particular context today.


Sandra Dickinson

Beth, I just incorporated a reference to this post in my blog. And it is my first experiment in creating a trackback.

You're connecting up social networking, collaboration, adult learning, and real value issues are at the heart of it all. And Steve Bridger made a comment elsewhere that 'nonprofits don't have time to dawdle.' Social entrepreneurs only have time to use social networking, collaboration, and learning tools that have a direct, practical result in the real world - making their earned income ventures more profitable.

Web 2.0 tools have the potential to make this happen. Your blog is a FOUNTAIN of WEALTH for nonprofit social entrepreneurs to recognize how these tools can be harnessed. Thank you.

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