Virtual Conferencing - Wired NGO's
29 September 2003 at 1:09 pm
A number of Australian organisations joined an international online community recently for a virtual conference geared specifically towards Not for Profits and socially responsible companies called wired.org!
For four days participants to Wired.org: Nonprofits and NGOs Work the Web, saw dozens of people online at any given time throughout the day— pouring through materials, viewing presentations, and finding shared interests with other participants.
It was the brainchild of Soren Kaplan and Janet Salmons from a US company called iCohere which provides communication and collaboration software tools for workgroups, communities, and companies.
Salmons says having worked for four years to build a coalition of NFP organisations in Denver working on affordable housing, having taught an online graduate course and consulted with organisations across the US, she was well aware of the pressures on Not for Profits.
She says while the demand for services keeps increasing, and funding keeps shrinking organisations need to do more with less, develop new partnerships and better leadership, and travel and budget constraints mean fewer opportunities for staff to network and learn new skills.
She says she and Soren wanted to do something to address this situation, by creating an online environment where people from all kinds of organisations could share ideas, learn from each other, and build new partnerships.
The idea for wired.org was born!
But how do you get the international community of experts to join in the wired.org concept?
Salmons says she began by appealing to people she admired – people from organisations that use the Internet in innovative ways, people who are committed to the social sector.
What resulted is an international team of virtual volunteers presenting expert papers and hosting chat rooms and discussing a wide range of topics on being wired, which means more than a website and e-mail!
Do people introducing new technologies to their communities have to overcome the same fear of change– whether they are in Minsk, Uganda or Pennsylvania or Australia?
Over four days the virtual conference looked at issues such as Linking Volunteers and Participants, Online Volunteering , as well as online community and E-learning and Collaboration Tools.
The aim of the conference was to:
– Learn how to use the web to engage staff from other sites, volunteers and board members, or clients.
– Get practical tips, models, tools, and training materials to implement the ideas.
– Network with other professionals, volunteers and supporters of NFP and non-governmental organisations.
If your organisation took part why not share the experience in our Online Forum at probonoaustralia.com.au.