Big thanks to Best Buddies International's Virtual Volunteer Manager, Bill Maurer, for profiling his lovely organization, www.ebuddies.org on NetSquared in Action. Best Buddies International is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment. e-Buddies builds e-mail friendships between children and adults with intellectual disabilities and their peers who do not have intellectual disabilities.
Doug McConatha is a technologist, entrepreneur and professor of Sociology. He started his first company, Web Study Inc. in 1995. In his academic work, he has studied the process of getting older users online and the impacts on social isolation of internet connectivity. For the past 5 years he has been working in the non-profit and open source communities.
He is currently collaborating with WHYY, the Philadelphia affiliate of PBS. WHYY is moving beyond being a media broadcaster and into providing a media training community center. Philadelphia is the 5th largest media market in the country and one of the first cities to have community wide public wifi access.
"Educational systems today are not meeting the needs of the information economy," Doug says.
"From a historical standpoint, this educational system is about a thousand years old in terms of how we deliver information...Traditional educational institutions are too mired in the old model where there's a teacher standing in front of the classroom. There needs to be more interdisciplinary activity to suit this knowledge economy."
This is going to risk sounding like an advertisement, but it's not. I have no affiliation with either of the outfits mentioned. However, I discovered this recently and signed up myself. I think this is a dynamite deal for any nonprofit that needs its own blog. Best way to get the picture is to go to this WordPress page, read enough to get the basic idea, then click through on Yahoo Hosting -- or just click here.
Not only can you get decent hosting there for $8/month, which is insanely cheap, but for the cost of an extra button-click (i.e., no cost at all) the service will set up and configure WordPress to run on your site. This is a serious boon, as setting up WordPress can be a bit tricky and time consuming if you haven't done it before.
If you need a domain name to host it at, Yahoo is ready to provide that too. For about three bucks.
I'm very impressed with WordPress. It's easy to use yet powerful, and it's open source, which means there are all kinds of community-developed themes (look and feel) and plugins (tools) you can select from. And it's all free.
On the other hand, I haven't been a major fan of Yahoo since Yang & Filo ran it (they offered to sell it to me for a cool $million in January 1995, but that's a story for another time; I tend to cry a lot when I tell it). That said, this deal is definitely worth considering if you need a professional blog in a hurry and you're on a limited budget (as which of us is not?).
This morning I created a NetSquared in Action Case Study of a nonprofit I care about, Urban Sprouts, that just started using a blog. If a nonprofit or NGO that you care about is using tools like blogs, podcasts, wikis, social bookmarking, RSS feeds or tagging, please take a moment today to profile them. Not only does your profile provide inspiration to other nonprofits, it is good exposure for the nonprofit you care about.
If you have any trouble filling out the NetSquared in Action Case Study form, please let us know either in the comments for this post or by contacting the Net2 Team so we can make it easier to use.
Last minute addition: if the nonprofit you care about isn't using emerging tech, contact them and ask them why not and fill out a Net2Ask form with their answer.
The next Net Tuesday San Francisco will be held on Tuesday, January 10th at the Varnish Gallery in downtown SF starting at 6 PM. Come on over after MacWorld for drinks with nonprofit and web innovators who are remixing the web for social change.
Here are my thoughts about the discussion at Tagging for Nonprofits. Feel free to continue the discussion here.
Unfortunately, the intersection of tags on del.icio.us is not working right now because of server problems. For example, the nptech tag stands for nonprofit technology. If someone is not familiar with nptech, they could tag a bookmark with nonprofit and technology. You would be able to find it with http://del.icio.us/tag/nonprofit+technology. However, this feature does not work right now for searching all bookmarks. But if you look at my bookmarks with nonprofit and technology, the tag intersections work for usernames.