Beth Kanter and Allison Fine‘s book, The Networked Nonprofit, is now out and starting lots of conversations. But what’s everyone talking about? Below I’ve shared some excerpts and resources to get you started and ready to join in!
Let’s start at the beginning: what is a “networked nonprofit” anyway? As Beth and Allison explain:
Networked Nonprofits are simple and transparent organizations. They are easy for outsiders to get in and insiders to get out. They engage people in shaping and sharing their work in order to raise awareness of social issues, organize com- munities to provide services, or advocate for legislation. In the long run, they are helping to make the world a safer, fairer, healthier place to live.
Networked Nonprofits don’t work harder or longer than other organizations, they work differently. They engage in conversations with people beyond their walls—lots of conversations—to build relationships that spread their work through the network.
Some of What I Like
Something that I think is incredibly important to talk about (because once we are talking about it, the next step is to DO it) is the opportunity we have now to truly focus work on movement building. Our campaigns, services, programs, and even visions can and should be opening up for other collaborators – whether they are individual, free agent supporters or other organizations – to make the biggest, lasting change possible. As Beth and Allison say, “But while social media power Networked Nonprofits, they aren’t the only reason nonprofit organizations need to shift their focus from their individual organizations to their networks.” There’s huge potential to be tapped by bringing together free agents and organizations working to build change through a movement.
One thing I always associate with both Beth and Allison is the term “resource.” They both have lots to share and are always looking for ways to contribute back to the community. As such, I knew that their book would be a great resource and part of what makes it so is the inclusion of reflection questions for every chapter. If you’re reading the book, or if your whole team or organization is reading it, you have great questions to depart from for critical thinking and strategic planning.
One question I liked in particular reminded me of the presentations I’ve done recently focused on Community-Driven Social Impact:
Are there internal processes or conversations that would be appropriate to share for feedback at an earlier stage than you are sharing now?
This reflection questions comes at the end of Chapter 6: Building Trust Through Transparency. Something I discuss in my workshops is that you can’t simply “start” being community-driven, or communicating and expecting a two-way conversation to happen without having in a place the trust and transparency that if the community voices ideas, concerns or passions that they will be met by an organization prepared to respond and possibly act.
Plus lots more – I’m really looking forward to continuing conversations that emerge from the above topics and from The Networked Nonprofit!
Review the slides below for an overview and introduction to The Networked Nonprofit. (Hint: remember to click on the “Notes” tab below the slides on SlideShare so you can see the speaker notes that go with each slide!)
I’m always honored and humbled to call Beth and Allison both friends and colleagues – it’s my pleasure to share a bit about this great resource they’ve contributed and hope you’ll share your ideas, questions, feedback and thoughts, too!