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May 2010

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Sarah Stewart

I have just started a wiki to encourage midwives to develop a program of free online seminars. I got very excited the other day because I had my first 'edit'. I hadn't thought of recording its evolution by screenshots, so thanks for the idea.

Amy Sample Ward

Great, Beth - I know of nonprofits here in Portland that have savvy staff that have integrated wikis successfully for internal and external purposes. I'll forward your post and hope they follow up with a comment here, too!

Jeane Goforth

Since we are still 'morphing', don't have a home yet and teach at 4 locations with 4 different teams, a wiki seems ideal for our organization. Ran into two problems. First, my co-founder was unable to access the wiki through the firewall at his day job. Second, most had no concept of what a wiki is. They expected to be passive visitors as they are to Wikipedia.
Created a social network on Ning and have had more success with that because almost everyone is comfortable with FaceBook and MySpace--and my partner can participate. In a discussion with one teaching team, we all agreed to use the 'Ning thing' to communicate. It's working.

Beth Kanter

@Jeane thanks for sharing this story .. fascinating insights.

Beth Kanter

Jeane: What make for success of the Ning experience beyond the discussion? What about the facilitation? Can you point us to the network if it is public?

Jeane Goforth

It's here:
Everyone, except maybe Nick--my partner (old, like me), is active on FaceBook and MySpace. They understand the format and the elements on the page. So no learning curve. It's been up for about a week and 2 of us post regularly, our webmaster goes there for photos, and everyone who's teaching has commented on going there for something--calendar, to send messages, etc.
For the wiki, the concept of editing a website just wasn't there for most--especially the principals. They had no vision of where it might go.
Today we have a planning meeting with a non-profit consultant who is helping us (for free) and a dozen of our most passionate supporters. I will push for a wiki to facilitate this effort, but know some are not tech-savvy enough to even know what Wikipedia is.


I interviewed someone from milieucontact about their wiki. It's a nice story from someone sceptical about new tools, but enthusiastic about the wikis:

Mazarine Treyz

Hi Beth!

Right now we're using PBWiki for our nonprofit in several different ways.

We have board members making calls to companies and asking them to become members of the Urban League, so every time a board member decides who they want to call, they can update the wiki with their name next to the company. That's screenshot 1.

The Director of Education and I are also using the wiki to collaborate on grants that we're writing. Everytime we make edits, or add documents, such as letters of support, we can put these on the wiki. That's screenshot 2.

Furthermore, I've been using the wiki to help our offsite events consultant track the companies and booths we're going to have for our Career Connections career fair on May 29th. We're co-organizing this, and it's really helping us keep abreast of each others progress.

Sadly for stereotypes, I've found the most compliance and excitement about the wiki with people under 40. People over 40 have looked at it, but only people under 40 have actually edited it.

Still, I feel hopeful that if I do a tutorial at the next board meeting and another at the next Management team meeting, more people will be interested in updating the wiki. It will probably help if I explain to them exactly how to use it, and that they can't break it. There has been definite interest in learning to use it.

I've used other wikis aside from PBwiki, such as PMwiki, and of course Wikipedia, but I've found that PBwiki is simple enough to serves the needs of a small nonprofit with zero IT staff. (PMwiki requires download and setup, PBwiki is online).

Hope this was helpful!

Beth Kanter

See Nancy's post - great stuff

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