Thought bomb

Raising the Bar: Technology Infrastructure and Capacity in Progressive Community Organizing Groups

Arif Mamdani, the Executive Director of the Progressive Technology Project (PTP), has worked with community organizing groups for over a decade to help them gain the skills and vision to use technology more effectively to advance their goals.

With Arif's partnership, this year Web of Change launched the New Networks Fund, an initiative aimed at connecting the existing Web of Change community with senior movment leaders of color from organizatons including Color of Change, Puente Movement and the Florida Immigrant Coalition among others.


The central idea that I’m bringing to Web of Change this year is more a question than an idea, and the question is: what do we need to do to raise the bar for technology capacity and infrastructure for progressive community organizing groups? 

Race and ethnicity matter online

Jocelyn Harmon is Director of Nonprofit Services at Care2 where she connects progressive nonprofits with Care2 members so that together they can build a better world. She is a noted speaker and blogger on the fast-evolving role the Internet is playing on marketing and communications. 

This spring, the Urban Institute and the Racial Diversity Collaborative released a study called Measuring Racial-Ethnic Diversity in the Baltimore-Washington Region's Nonprofit Sector. The study found, like others, that “nonprofit sector leadership lags population diversity.” Specifically, while people of color comprise 49% of the population in the region, they make up only 22% of nonprofit leaders. In addition, the study found that Executive Directors of Color mostly lead local or regional, not national organizations. “Nearly all (92 percent) national organizations are led by white executive directors.”*
 

We Are The Movement We Are Waiting For

Apollo Gonzales is the Netroots Campaign Manager for the Natural  Resources Defense Council. Apollo provides campaign strategy to over a dozen programs, on campaigns ranging from Mountaintop Removal Mining to Toxics  Reform.
He is tasked with the mission of  moving online advocates from  one click activism to super activism, and bringing traditionally siloed  institutional experts’ voices to the blogosphere.


Of the 300 plus people currently employed by my organization, well over half are Facebook users and there are 456 people who list my organization as an employer. That means that there are about 100 people who continue to associate themselves with the work they once did here. With the average Facebook user having 130 friends (I topped 500 sometime last year), the 1st degree network of my colleagues is about 20,000 people.

Connecting Advocacy to Change

From her roots in Colorado as an organizer for Colorado NARAL, to her role as Fundraising Practice Manager at Mindshare Interactive Campaigns (now Verilion), to her leadership as Program and Political Director at the Women’s Campaign Forum, Shayna Englin has been on the cutting edge in producing innovative and effective plans, programs, and materials that yield results.


We can do some really cool stuff.

We can inspire people around the world to send us their ideas, and we can tag and organize those ideas and print them as post cards and turn them into video and add some kick-ass audio.

We can say something pithy in 140 characters, reduce it to 110 characters, then get people around the world to repeat it to a bunch of other people interested in 110-character pith.

Six Questions with our Anchor Team: David Averill & Karen Uffelman

In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing our Web of Change Six Questions series, which is designed to give you quick insight into the minds of our Anchor team. Today, we talk with David Averill and Karen Uffelman, both of Groundwire, who have brought their extraordinary fundraising leadership to the Web of Change team.


(1) Tell us a few things about you that aren’t widely known.
Dave: I have a really deep desire to build a cob house with others but no time to do it and whenever I need to distill change in my life I listen to Steve Winwood’s High Life or Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes. 

Shakespeare, the printing press and how we can invest humanity into online communications

Mark is one of the pioneers of using the Internet for fundraising, organizing and strategic communications. Over the past ten years, he has led online efforts on behalf of a host of organizations, including World Wildlife Fund, Amnesty International USA, the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation and the International Campaign for Tibet. With a background in polling, focus groups, and communications strategy, Mark led the first-ever nationwide study of socially-engaged Internet users in 1999 -- a work still viewed as a benchmark in the field.


 
Maybe it’s the way the Internet has evolved in the social change and non-profit space, or maybe it has always happened this way when new tools (such as moveable type, printing presses) emerge. The line between tool builders and communicators gets fuzzy. And priorities get fuzzy.
 
William Shakespeare probably had no idea how to run a printing press. And the printing press guy had no idea how to write a sonnet. The writers wrote, and the printers printed.
 
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