Deepening our local nonprofit technology conspiracy

I love the word "conspiracy". I'm a mediocre Latinist, but by my reckoning, to conspire is "to breath together," or possibly "to be in spirit together." Therefore, I like to refer to the local (or international) network of nonprofit technology advocates as a conspiracy.

As I've previously mentioned in my blog, Michelle Murrain and I have been brainstorming about creating a regional school for circuit riders. It's important to think of a range of options for ensuring that nonprofits in our region get the tech support that they need, and this is a conversation I've had at various times with Khalid Mustafa of the Urban Leaguee, Steve Backman of Database Designs Associates, and Wayne Glynn of Third Sector New England.

At the Boston 501 Club's May event, a few of us began to talk seriously about spinning off a working group for those who are interested in the future of tech support for nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts. Khalid, Steve, and I all felt ready to schedule a meeting, and Claire Murray joined in enthusiastically with offers to find us a good space for convening.

We have now created an email distribution list, "MassNPtechWorkingGroup," for nonprofit technology advocates who are interested in strategic discussions, and we'll see where it goes from there.

Several years ago, I sat in with a group that explored the possibility of a statewide nonprofit technology capacity building network in Massachusetts. The guiding spirits were extremely smart and dedicated people, and it was a noble effort, but the plan did not come to fruition. Alas. If that previous group was unable create an infrastructure and a formal network for service delivery, I doubt that the MassNPtech Working Group can do it - and in fact I don't think we should aspire to do it.

Instead, I think that our working group will probably remain a kind of forum and peer learning community, somewhat akin to the Ethos Roundtable in scope. Perhaps we'll gather for presentations and discussions, and perhaps we'll be "in spirit together." If various members of the group are able to discuss new strategies and forge collaborative relationships, then it will be a modest success.

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This item is based on an article that was originally posted to my blog, "Technology for the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Sector."

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