Yearly Archives 2012

cross-posted from the Transparency and Accountability Initiative blogThe TABridge network promotes dialogue across gaps of expertise and geography, but also across sectors. We were fortunate to have several donors attending from foundations that support fiscal and natural resource transparency around the globe.Because of the spirit of trust and equality among participants, donors and non-donors were able to have forthright conversations. Too often, the traditional requirements of foundation giving and the practical realities of grassroots advocacy leave donors and grantees straining to meet each other's expectations. This is especially true in technology projects, where many donors are less familiar with online tools and many NGOs are experimenting for the first time.One NGO participant reminded the colleagues that, while foundation officers must make grants in accordance with foundation missions and their boards' expectations, community based organizations are answerable to communities on the ground, and the vision that created an organization in the…

cross-posted from The Transparency and Accountability Initiative Solid strategies, the wisdom of peers and an upbeat realism were the themes driving last month's Bridging Session for international advocates and technology groups promoting transparency. Like our 2011 session, the event sought to build bridges between policy and technology experts. Participants from five continents met in Glen Cove, New York from November 27 through November 30. The attending NGOs shared a commitment to improving disclosure and citizen knowledge about government budgets and natural resource wealth, but many of the week's lessons turn out to apply across all forms of advocacy. Web sites and mobile tools can help citizens and leaders improve governance and uncover corruption, but the full potential of these tools often remains untapped. Through the "TABridge" project, the Transparency and Accountability Initiative (T/AI) seeks to improve collaboration on tech projects by identifying gaps in knowledge and improving funding strategies. Some…

Originally posted on my brand-new Huffington blog page.In the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, proto-human primates circle an ebony monolith from another world, entranced and enraged at the mystery, the otherness, of an object that in one transformative instant brings them technology, war and the power to reach the stars. A lot of the people I meet in the nonprofit world are similarly flabbergasted by the Internet. I'm not saying that nonprofits are stuck in the Paleolithic Era. After military research, advocacy may have done more than anything else to spur the evolution of online tools (with mayhem and disaster running close behind). Most of what I've learned about the Internet over 15 years I've learned from the community of activist techies and thinkers whose commingled DNA now runs through the digital staffs of newsrooms, political campaigns and advocacy organizations. But for every nonprofit Internet guru, or strategist, or 20-something who can…

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