Thursday, November 23, 2006

Internet and Information Part One

This is just a warning...I'm about to go off on another tear about philanthropy, information, and knowledge. One of these days I will figure out if blogger lets me categorize these posts and then you can skip ahead if this particular fascination of mine is not one that you share.

This from today's NYT, on FreshDirect, an internet-based grocery delivery service in NYC that was set to deliver 6000 uncooked turkeys and 2000 pre-cooked dinners on this, the day before Thanksgiving:

"...It's about the Web as an information sorter. When you're looking at, say, crackers, you can sort them by price, by the amount of saturated fat per serving or by any number of other things. In recent months, the company has also loaded hundreds of recipes from some wonderful cookbooks onto its site. You can now click on one of the recipes and quickly order all the ingredients.

In the future... If your daughter were allergic to nuts, you would be able to tell the Web site not to sell you anything that contains nuts. For anyone with diabetes or heart disease, who keeps kosher or vegetarian, the advantages would be huge. All that time spent reading labels could be reclaimed.

[FreshDirect spokesman] puts it this way: Phase 1 of the Internet revolved around providing information. Phase 2 revolved around basic transactions. In Phase 3, what [the spokesman] calls "the golden age of marketing," smart companies are starting to use the information about customers to sell products in fundamentally new ways."
David Leonhart, "Filling Pantries Without a Middleman," The New York Times, November 22, 2006.

So what for philanthropy?
Here's Part One of so what:

Sort your giving interests and tag the material you rely on for information. Post to your website and create an online, invitation-only learning circle with other donors. Share materials. Share leads on projects. Set filters on existing sites so that only up-to-date information on hunger, performing arts, or Asian political parties comes through to your grants management platform. Share a virtual workspace with your fellow donors and the key organizations you're working with. Streamline volunteer recruitment. Let neighbors geo-tag the projects and issues they care about and re-organize neighborhood watches. Throw "block party" fundraisers and "book clubs" that stretch across the globe. Develop village level small business info brokerages regarding the price of produce several villages away - and organize "camel pools" to transport the goods to where the price is best.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


You might be interested in Peter Karoff's "Open Source Philanthropy" essay that Phil posted today on one of his sites. Try:

Fundraising for Nonprofits

P.S. Two comments in one day, whew! I'm exhausted.