Technology

I recently attended a conference and between brochures, pamphlets, and folders, I amassed quite a bit of print material. Upon viewing the stack, I wondered: Why does information transfer require so much paper? For those who are interested in going green for their own events, here are four ideas to cut down on the paper trail:

I recently had the opportunity to connect with several young nonprofit professionals at a lunch meeting. After learning about issues several were facing that ended up complicating work with grantees, I immediately suggested several free technology tools that could streamline their current work.

With one-third of Americans still lacking broadband Internet connections at home, access to the internet is often considered an equity issue. Yet programs aimed at narrowing the digital divide may leave their strongest legacies in the areas of community and economic development. Online access is a gateway to opportunities in education, workforce, and health, and other areas that increasingly depend on digital access and digital skills.

“The movement towards outcomes-driven philanthropy has done a lot to diminish creativity,” concluded one CEO at a recent GMA Foundations’ NPO Conversation on creativity. At this regular lunchtime forum, leaders of seven Boston-area nonprofits were asked to open up about their organization’s most creative moments, their innovation wish list for 2012, and obstacles to organizational creativity. Judging by the conversation, creativity and innovation are still essential to the daily existence of these organizations. The question, though, remains: Is outcomes-driven philanthropy affecting creativity?

Funders, nonprofit journalists and academics gathered this week at the Council on Foundations convention in Los Angeles to discuss challenges nonprofit news outlets face in getting charitable 501c3 status. It’s part of a project called the Nonprofit Media Working Group, a partnership between Knight Foundation and the Council.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Madonna. Really, I do. But for a while there, anytime I searched the topic of global philanthropy, the only news that surfaced focused on Madonna and her effort to build a number of schools in Malawi. I’m not saying it’s not important or that she’s not doing great work, but come on philanthropy! We all know that there is a lot more going on out there than that. Why should Madonna get all the press?

Wayne Gretzky famously said that a great hockey player skates to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. These are instructive words for philanthropic foundations and other groups confronting fundamental and rapid shifts in the communication landscape. Two disruptive forces are reshaping the terrain on which our public dialogue takes place: digital communication technology and the unraveling of traditional journalism. This is of enormous consequence for social sector organizations whose effectiveness relies in part on a functioning, well-informed public debate on issues such as health, education, the economy, global development and the environment.

The nonprofit sector as a whole has the opportunity to harness the power of innovation to improve the quality of service delivery.” That’s one of the key findings from “Unleashing Innovation: Using Everyday Technology to Improve Nonprofit Services,”a new research report from MAP for Nonprofits funded by the ADC Foundation and researched by Idealware.

Like many of us, I hate to lose when I play a game, whether it is cards, sports, or video games. The serious online game Catalysts for Change that I invite you to play this week (April 3- 5) counts on the playful and competitive nature in all of us to propose, debate, and improve on ideas that have the power to change the lives of poor or vulnerable communities around the world. Organized by the Institute for the Future, the game aims to tap the innovative imagination of young gamers as well as NGO practitioners, entrepreneurs, and experts to envision what could be done to address some of the world’s biggest problems.