Sunday, 10 June 2007

The web 2.0 revolution conquers European NGOs

Translated from the posting in italian by Paolo Ferrara, TDH Italy

Last week, I had the great opportunity to participate in a Web 2.0 seminar organised in Brussels by Concord and Euforic, two of the major NGO networks in Europe.

These were two magnificent days, both from a human as well as from a profesional perspective. They allowed me to pick up certain issues that we also try to promote here in Italy via this blog, and with the support of Francesco Santini (Nonprofitblog and Internet Fundraising), and of Daniele Fusi (the 2.0 inspiration for Lentatiblog). Two days that made me realise that we still have a gap to fill.

The most enriching meeting was with Steve Bridger, one of the founders of this blog, who did a very interesting presentation on Fundraising 2.0, that I have posted here. This presentation raised lots of issues; several of which require more analysis.

But first let me show you a video...

What is the relation between this report and Steve's presentation? Follow me and I'll tell you...

Let's take a close look at some main points of Steve's presentation:

  • the donors we are dealing with are changing, access to information is more important, donors show less loyalty and behave more like consumers and do not hesitate to ask. It is the donor who selects the issues - not the organisations - the donor wants to take part and stay informed about the impact of the aid (and of the time that it takes);
  • online donations are not the future. They are today's reality. Within 24 hours , between 30 and 31 December 2004, 5 million pounds were raised in the UK. In the years 2005 and 2006 together, Oxfam UK collected online 13 million pounds (including its Oxfam Unwrapped); the Darfur appeal launched by the British DEC on 24 May has already collected 3 million pounds; every year 30% of the regular donors of MSF UK give a significantly higher amount that normal;
  • The blogs and the self-made videos that tell human stories (like the previous report shows, including the emotional effect), are definitely the most interesting for the NGO world. And, like Seth Godin says: the best blogs generate conversations, and do not control them;
  • fundraising staff et social networks (facebook, myspace, linkedin and the bright new Bring light on which I will draft a post soon) represent the new frontiers where we have to find the volonteers that we need to be able to accompany, and encourage them to share, and be transformed into fundraisers;
  • being on blog 2.0 is not without risks. From those related to your organisations' reputation to those that concern the security of staff in dangerous areas… But one of the main risks is related to those who support us: are they ready for change? (see slide 75 from Steve… it contains a very interesting profile);
  • not everything can be calculated, but once the objectives are defined, we need to learn to define what can be.
It is particularly interesting to see that these trends are appearing in the whole world. Not just on the British Isles or in the United States with their technological focus. These trends appear in the whole of Europe, including in countries such as Greece. Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, and even in India, Kenya or South Africa.

To assess the scale of Web 2.0 (and in a certain way also the distance that separates us from the rest of Europe), I believe it is useful to enhance our capacities to transfer knowledge (what the Anglo-Saxons call "Knowledge Management").

In three meeting rooms equipped with wifi and several laptops simultaniously online, surfing to the examples and experimenting with sharing as a "modus operandi", we could participate in three really great presentations.

Just take a look at what has been produced at this seminar, thanks to the skills of Joitske Hulsebosch (included her blog in the RSS), of Nancy White, and of the Euforic team (especially Pier Andrea Pirani, Birthe Paul and Martin Behrens) and of Concord (including several Italians which proves that also in the non-profit sector we have trouble to keep our best brains).

An official blog has been set up, well updated and including videos, testimonies, interviews, links and reports of what has happened in these three meeting rooms during two intensive working days. Check out the blog that makes an interesting use of RSS and contains an updated set of posts that were publised at the seminar in other blogs. Furthermore, it explains to you everything that was done and that I cannot entirely summarise in this post.

There is also a section on Slideshare, which gives you access to nearly all the presentations of the seminar, a set of contact details of several participants and other presentations related to the various topics.

A section on Flickr should not be missed with photos of the event, as well as a wiki, that allowed participants to start experimenting with shaping the content that was created by the users. The most interesting is that, thanks to this experimenting, someone was able to create his first blog (like our dear friend Dimitar from Bulgaria).

Resuming, Web 2.0 offers the possibility to develop very interesting novelties and, I cannot stop reminding this, to bring together a great number of very motivated people who, luckily, also have the chance to get to know each other.

And finally I would like to use this opportunity to greet Claudia (Romania), Camille (France), Genny (Greece), Dimitar (Bulgary), Chiara (from Italy but based in Brussels for TDH) and Anna, participants with whom I spent a pleasant evening around the Grand Place.

1 comment:

Messi said...

I appreciate the labour you have put in developing this blog. Nice and informative.