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About this Wiki

Page history last edited by northern california grantmakers 9 years, 1 month ago

About the Web 2.0 for Grantmakers Wiki

 

This directory is designed so that it:

  • is targeted at philanthropic foundations,
  • provides a simple introduction to technology tools, with links to more in depth resources,
  • provides information about a wide range of tools in one place,
  • is extremely easy to navigate and skim, and
  • can be augmented and edited by foundation staff as they experiment with these technologies.

 

We developed the wiki specifically for use by foundation staff. It is therefore tailored to the kinds of tasks they perform, questions they ask, and needs they have.

 

 

 

The story behind this wiki

 

Blueprint Research & Design, Inc. is a strategy consulting firm based in San Francisco that helps grantmaking foundations, individual and family donors, and philanthropic networks achieve their missions.  We were asked to assist a family foundation as it considered how it could better use new information and communication tools to support its goals.  The foundation had not previously attempted to use the internet strategically to further its mission, and staff members were not particularly tech savvy.  Few staff had experience using new internet-based technologies including photo and video sharing tools, social networking sites, blogs, podcasts, or wikis.  The client needed a simple and accessible introduction to technologies with the potential to support their efforts to:

  • Improve their communication with grantees and increase transparency;
  • Improve internal communications, project management and workflow;
  • Facilitate communication among grantees and connect grantees with external experts;
  • Support collaboration among grantees; and
  • Serve as an information resource to the Foundation’s wider communities beyond its grantees.
  • In this context, we created a “directory” of readily available technologies that could be of use to philanthropic foundations. 

 

To help organize the tools described, we clustered them into seven categories of use: collaborating, gathering and analyzing information, organizing and filtering information, disseminating information, improving basic communications, increasing efficiency and productivity, and facilitating donations and volunteering.  (In reality, many tools can be used for many different types of communication purposes. We placed tools in the categories of use for which they are most often applied.)

 

Specifically, for each type of communication tool listed in the directory, the following information is provided:

 

  • Description: brief overview of what the tool is
  • Uses and Potential Benefits: brief explanation of how others are using the tool and how the tool could be used by a foundation.
  • Examples of the Tool: links to examples of this type of tool. These examples do not represent an exhaustive or vetted list.
  • References/Articles/Examples from Nonprofits and Foundations: Links to online articles, blog entries, and websites that describe how the tool can be used in the nonprofit and foundation context.
  • Real Time Communication or Time Independent Communication: Identifies whether the tool is used when communicating with people in “real time” (e.g., an in-person meeting, instant messaging) or when people need not participate at the same time (e.g., email, wiki)
  • Can Start Small and Expand: Indicates with “yes” those tools that are relatively easy to implement on a small scale. "No" indicates that the tool requires relatively large-scale investment from the outset.
  • Time/Cost to Implement: “High,” “Medium” and “Low” are used to provide a very rough estimation of the costs of initiating the use of each tool.  “Low” indicates virtually no cost, while “High” reflects the need for significant investment.  However, because many tools can be used in a variety of ways, the categorizations are more consistently accurate for some tools than others.
  • Time/Cost to Maintain: “High,” “Medium” and “Low” are used to provide a very rough estimations of the cost of ongoing use of the tool.  “Low” indicates virtually no cost, while “High” reflects the need for significant investment.  However, because many tools can be used in a variety of ways, the categorizations are more consistently accurate for some tools than others.

 

The directory is extensive but not exhaustive – especially in terms of the descriptions of how these tools can be used by foundations, the specific examples of tools listed, and the links to relevant information resources.  By making the directory not only accessible but also editable online, we hope it can continue to expand as the tools available evolve and foundations’ experiences using them grow.

 

Have at it…

 

Amy Luckey, Senior Analyst

Blueprint Research & Design, Inc.

720 Market Street

San Francisco, CA 94107

www.blueprintrd.com

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