Nonprofits: Use computer technology to work together FWD

Tom Boland (
Sat, 31 Jul 1999 15:02:48 -0700 (PDT)

FWD "bounced" from Sonny Covington:

[Sonny's Title: Connecting and sharing are what we are all about]


By Todd Cohen @ Philanthropy News Network

The future of our communities lies with the nonprofit sector, yet
nonprofits are
poorly equipped for the future. They lack the tools to manage themselves
efficiently, and can be reluctant to work collaboratively.

If we're going to succeed at the job of healing and repairing our communities,
we're going to have to make technology second-nature to our work.

That means individuals and organizations who care about the sector will have to
work together to make computers and the Web as accessible and affordable as

It also will mean having to bridge the gap between people who enjoy access to
technology, and those who don't -- a gap typically defined along lines of race
and income.

In its final report, released last week, the National Strategy for Nonprofit
Technology recommended a series of tech initiatives to give the sector the
it needs to do the job it faces.

Those recommendations recognize the important work being done by a growing
number of individuals and organizations dedicated to making it easy for the
sector to use technology.

At PNN's Nonprofits and Technology San Francisco conference last week, the
National Strategy took some heat for concluding a new consortium might be
to coordinate and cultivate new tech initiatives.

Silicon Valley, it was pointed out, has thrived quite well without a consortium
to oversee the development of new enterprise.

Thanks to technology, the nonprofit world can be akin to Silicon Valley. The
sector is society's research-and-development arm, providing solutions to tough
social problems that neither government nor business want to take on.

Unlike the commercial sector, however, nonprofits have failed to invest in
technology -- and find themselves lagging far behind the business world in the
productivity and innovation technology can bring.

The National Strategy is not calling for a big, bad gatekeeper for the sector's
use of technology. The group's final report simply lays out some important tech
challenges the sector faces, and suggests some solutions -- including better
coordination and collaboration.

The group's final report now is open for discussion. For the next month or so,
that discussion can produce ideas about how to move ahead on tech
initiatives to
benefit the sector. A growing number of groups in far-flung communities already
are engaged in such initiatives.

By November, the discussion may have produced some specific recommendations for
better coordination of new tech initiatives.

Whatever the recommendations, thinking out loud about how to better deliver
resources to nonprofits can only benefit the sector -- and our communities.

To take part in the discussion about nonprofits and technology, join the
discussion group at The talks offer the opportunity to
connect and
share ideas with people who are pioneering nonprofits' use of computers and the

Connecting and sharing are what the sector is all about -- and the essence of
technology's promise. By learning to work together to make better use of
technology, nonprofits can realize the larger promise of making our communities
better places to live and work.

H. C. Sonny Covington
I CAN! America -- Rural Resource Center
P. O. Drawer 3444 - Lafayette, LA  70501
318-781-0216  Fax 318-268-9529