Open Social and Non Profits


Others (besides me) have seen a connection between Open Social and its potential impact in the non-profit world. On Beth Kanter’s blog, How Non-Profits Can Use Social Media, I found her post on Explaining Open Social to Your Executive Director. It’s mostly a rehash of what others have said about open social.

The most informative take on this comes from a October 2007 post by Allan Benamer on his Non-Profit Tech Blog. He points out that the typical nonprofit will not be able to take advantage of Open Social because it lacks the development resources and expertise. This might provide a terrific opportunity for our project, with computing students providing the missing expertise.

Benamer goes on to talk about Open Social’s potential in the charity app market:

It’s an interesting race because one could say that Project Agape’s Causes has had an unfair competitive advantage due to Joe Green’s connections to Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg. As a result, Causes was the ONLY charity app on Facebook for several weeks and had a huge head start during a period when you could invite an unlimited number of your friends to the app.

According to Adonomics (Facebook Analytics and Developer Services) Causes, released in June 2007, is a Facebook charity app that lets users create and/or join social causes. It currently has almost 100,000 daily users (and a valuation of $3.7 million–whatever that means). Two other Facebook charity apps have a much smaller market. Razoo Speed Granting (August 2007, apply for grants) has around 200 daily users and Change.org (July 2007, get involved with non-profits and political campaigns) has less than 100 daily users.

So, will Open Social give the charity app field a boost? Here’s Benamer’s take:

Google OpenSocial hits a reset button for all the players involved – we can now see whether or not the new microphilanthropies (including the one I’m a part of — socialmarkets.org) will be able to change course and adopt this new API.

I agree. We’re on the cusp of an exciting new experiment in web development. It also looks like there are a number of organizations and projects, including socialmarkets.org and Project Agape, whose social goals are similar to ours. Perhaps down the road we should look for ways to work together and perhaps Open Social could be the tie that binds.

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  1. #1 by Beth Kanter on February 24, 2008 - 11:23 am

    Thanks for the shout out! I tend to round up and aggregate the best of what others say on a particular topic where I do not have the SME.

    Nice to discover your blog. If you want to get the word out of your project and connect to other nonprofit technology folks – you should consider using the nptech tag!

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