When we started PICnet back in 2001 (well, technically in 1999 over pizza near UCLA, but lest I digress), we made a decision early on that set the tone for our company moving forward: if we can aim to crush inefficiencies in non-profits, maybe, just maybe, we can help our social sector move towards improved outcomes that can lead to a more just and peaceful world.
Pretty lofty stuff, right?
What I think is most interesting, however, is that we were talking about increasing operational efficiency for organizations as a tech startup growing at the height of the dot-com boom. That was quite different from what other Web development firms were doing back then, most of which was pitching hip things you can do with a Flash-based website, imploring the need to invest deep 5-digit budgets into shiny bells and whistles for websites, and encouraging the building of custom or proprietary software.
So when Nancy Schwartz, publisher of the Getting Attention blog, shared her request for feedback on this year’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival, I thought it would be good for us at PICnet to share one of our dreams for the social sector in 2013.
— Nancy Schwartz (@NancySchwartz) January 27, 2013
This year, we’re continuing the commitments we laid out in our founding PICnet constitution, and a key measure of our success is increasing non-profit effectiveness.
Our dream for the sector this year is to help accidental techies, the good folks on the front-lines of technology for most small and mid-sized organizations, arm themselves with the knowledge necessary to make the right decisions for their organizations to navigate the choppy waters of non-profit technology. Too many organizations are simply overwhelmed by the marketing-speak of technology providers, and as a result make investment decisions that don’t align best with their own goals.
We have a few ways in which we’re going to reach our dream for the sector, all of which circle around a central tenant from our constitution:
4. To provide for the betterment of our society, we must move forward as a community. Knowledge must be shared easily through the community to be effective.
1) We’re making a concerted effort to significantly share our lessons learned on our blog, a vehicle we envision as a library for both strategic and technical tips for non-profit technology professionals and accidental techies alike.
2) Our leadership will increase evangelism of open source software, affordable solutions, and bridge building techniques within our sector, which we believe will help encourage other providers to drive down prices and increase the production of effective tools for our sector.
3) We’re going to keep building awesome software, because when it comes down to it, we’ve got the skills to provide online tools to help changemakers shape a better world.
Now that we’ve shared our ideas and plans, share yours! Let’s hear about your organization’s dreams and goals for the social sector in 2013 in the comments below.