The current events in the Middle East and North Africa have shone a spotlight on how activists and ordinary citizens are using social media and connection technologies both to organize for social change and as to broadcast information from the streets in near real time. Our panelists will address questions such as, "What have been the most innovative and interesting uses of 21st century technologies in the recent campaigns?", "What are the ways activists are effectively leveraging 21st century technologies for their benefit?", "How could they use these tools more effectively and what lessons can protesters in other regions of the world learn?" and "How do we think these tools can be leveraged in these societies to improve democracy and open government?"
This interactive session is based on a key theme in the book, The Networked Nonprofit (http://www.bethkanter.org/the-ne...), co-authored by Beth Kanter.
We will explore how nonprofits can unleash the power of social good by transitioning from stand-alone institutions to networks energized by abundant resources in their ecosystem. In order to do this, they need to work with free agents, hyper-connected individuals who are passionate about social change, but don't work within institutional walls.
Free agents use social-media channels like Facebook and Twitter and can create social movements in the palms of their hands. They organize supporters, raise attention to important social and political issues, seek donations, and organize supporters to walk, run, shout, protest, and vote, things that were once done mostly by nonprofit organizations. The free agents do it when and how they please, making them distinct from and more powerful than traditional volunteers.
But free agents are smashing headfirst into nonprofit fortresses—organizations with high walls and wide moats that work very hard to keep insiders in and outsiders out. Our session will explore how and why this needs to change. Kanter will bring together a group of highly visible free agents working on important social change causes, including those in Middle East, and representatives from different nonprofits for a lively discussion with the audience.
11th–15th March 2011