My colleague Gideon Rosenblatt just published The Three Pillars of Social Source, which tackles some big-picture strategy issues in the nonprofit technology sector.
>In the world of scarce resources plaguing the nonprofit technology sector, we currently suffer from a conflation of roles. This paper outlines three functional roles that are essential for a vibrant nonprofit technology sector. These “three pillars” include the ï¿½application developer”, the “application integrator” and the “application hoster.” Drawing clearer distinctions between these roles will help nonprofit technology assistance providers clarify their organizational missions, which will reduce competitive overlap and pave the way for improved collaboration between organizations. These steps are absolutely necessary if we are to evolve the nonprofit technology sector into a more integrated “social source” movement dedicated to empowering the agents of social service and social change throughout our societies.
>The ideas in this paper echo a similar analysis of functional roles from an earlier paper on the environmental movement called Movement as Network, which argued that:
>”The environmental movement is not just some vague concept, but an actual entity. It is a network, made up of very real interconnections between people and organizations; a networked whole that is greater than the sum of its individual parts.”
>In much the same way, the nonprofit technology sector must also come to see itself as something greater than the sum of its individual parts, for it too is a network – a network with the potential to become a movement. What holds it back from its potential as a movement is the lack of a unifying mission. Yes, the nonprofit technology sector does exist to serve the technology needs of the nonprofit community. But that in itself is not unique. Microsoft plays this same role every time a nonprofit organization uses Word to write a letter or Excel to create a spreadsheet. What is it that makes the nonprofit technology sector greater than the sum of its parts? What is its vision – its reason for existence? What, in short, would turn it from a sector into a movement?
Intrigued? Read more at http://www.movementasnetwork.org/