Dan Bashaw and Mike Gifford, whom I was very pleased to meet at the 2003 “Web of Change” conference, have pulled together a nice little article called Designing for Civil Society: Top 10 Open Source Tools for eActivism, that’s getting some attention in the NGOsphere. (That’s my just-minted neologism for the nonprofit blogosphere.)
A few comments and quibbles with this generally-excellent article:
As others have pointed out, Dan and Mike rather mischaracterize Drupal as a blogging tool rather than as the powerful generalized content management system that it is. And speaking of content management systems, I might have thrown in a mention of Plone, an enterprise-class CMS tool that seems to have a very professional development community behind it and boasts tremendous accessibility for disabled users.
I think they overstate the activism significance of geek-oriented tools such as Slash & PostNuke.
I think that I would have easily chosen Mailman or Sympa as the email list tool to feature instead of PHPList. There are thousands of activist lists running on Sympa servers at ONE/Northwest, NPOGroups and Riseup.net alone… and Mailman is probably even more common. More importantly, choosing PHPList suggests that email broadcast lists are the most important kind of email list, when email discussion lists are, in my opinion, a far more important organizing tool because they allow dialogue and relationship building among activists.
I was a little surprised that there was no open-source membership management database in their list. While some might quibble that tools like ODB and ebase aren’t “real” open-source, because they are are built on proprietary database engines (Jet/VB & Filemaker, respectively), I think that these two products are of incredible significance for the thousands of activist organizations that usem every day to manage relationships with their members and supporters. And furthermore, I think this absence highlights the need for a truly open-source nonprofit database solution.
Thanks to the gang at WorldChanging for the link.