TechSoup Project, NetSquared, Assists Non-profits with Social Change through Web Tools

By May 08, 2008

NetSquared helps charitable organizations adopt Web 2.0 tools, such as blogging, Twitter, and podcasting to promote causes. The TechSoup initiative also unites non-profiteers through meetups and an annual conference. NetSquared

(Net2), a project of the non-profit technology hub TechSoup, is dedicated to helping non-profit organizations (NPO) and non-governmental organizations (NGO) learn about and utilize social Web tools, such as wikis, Twitter, blogs, and podcasting. Net2’s various programs include an informative website, community meetups across the nation, and an annual conference that inspires feedback from the greater community seeking to make a difference while utilizing the Internet.

Net2’s website, by and large, is an educational tool for non-profits that provides a variety of ways to learn more about emerging technologies and how to become an adopter.
The Net2 blog, for example, informs non-profiteers about ways others in the community are embracing the Web for social change.

Sharing projects is another way to connect and learn from others. Organizations that are part of the Net2 network can list their projects and browse through the site - tagging, commenting, and rating other projects.

Net2 promotes social networking sites, such as Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Second Life, to connect social-change advocates with developers, activists, and social media specialists from all over the world.

Even better, the Net Tuesday monthly meetups create a more meaningful connection by providing an avenue for community members to meet face-to-face. The Net Tuesday meetings are held in twelve different cities in the United States and Canada. The meetings are a conduit for exchanging ideas and helping each other with challenges and goals.

The upcoming annual conference, Netsquared Conference 2008 (N2Y3) will take place May 27 and 28 in San Jose, California and intends to engage organizations with a NetSquared Mashup Challenge to invent innovative ways to present and share their data. Furthermore, projects with the most potential will receive a share of $100,000 in funding.

Michael Schnuerle's Your Mapper project, for one, is a mashup that is one of the 21 finalists of the challenge Your Mapper “collects public data like crime reports, pollution points and sex-offender addresses and lets users plot the information atop a Google map to create a "hyper-local" report centered on any address in Louisville, KY.”

In addition to winning a portion of the $100,000 prize, Schnuerle hopes to benefit from advice about sales and programming from event sponsors, which include Cisco, Yahoo and Microsoft.

Net2 was created by TechSoup, a project founded by CompuMentor in 1987. TechSoup is a hub for non-profits seeking free information, resources, and support in technology. Moreover, TechSoup offers a “product philanthropy service” called TechSoup Stock where NPOs and NGOs can access donated or discounted technology products provided by corporate and non-profit technology partners.

TechSoup and its various projects, including NetSquared, provide organizations information resources, tools, and affordable products to promote their cause. Furthermore, it encourages the basic philosophy of networking, an important key to the growth and empowerment of any organization.

By Kathleen Clark
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