Friday, January 17, 2014

Net Neutrality and Nonprofits

My work on digital civil society includes arguing that policies far beyond the tax code matter to our ability to use private resources for public benefits, autonomously and voluntarily, in the digital age. My colleague Rob Reich and I even went so far as to offer up a complete guide to the policy domains that matter - The Social Economy Policy Forecast 2013 - available (pdf) here

Our argument has fallen on a lot of deaf ears. Sure, we've had some interesting discussions with some of the DC-based nonprofit trade associations and the White House Office of Social Innovation has read and discussed the report with us and with some of their colleagues. But everyday I still start the conversation anew - trying to convince people that our ability to act philanthropically and of our own accord for the benefit of others depends on the rights to free association, the ability to maintain our privacy, and open access to the "public forums" of our times.

I was relieved to read this piece by Tom Watson on the implications of the recent ruling about net neutrality. He quotes Andrew Rasiej comparing the decision to the loss of the charitable tax deduction:
“Without net neutrality the non-profit sector will now be forced to compete directly with for profits on the cost of messaging,” said Andrew Rasiej, a serial social entrepreneur, founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, and longtime activist for a free and open Internet. “For not-profit sector, loss of net neutrality may be as devastating as losing their tax free status because the cost of reaching their constituency will go so high as to be prohibitive.”
I agree. And I hope nonprofits and foundations will begin to pay more attention to these issues, preferable before more losses are felt.  Thanks, Tom, for a really important piece. Read it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lead us into digital civil society

Both Creative Commons and the Wikimedia Foundation are searching for new CEOs. These two organizations are "anchor institutions" of the emerging digital civil society that we're all busy inventing/experiencing/trying to understand.

I've never done this before, and am only doing it now because I believe so strongly in both these organizations - here are the links to the two job descriptions.

CEO, Creative Commons

Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Both organizations are using headhunters to find the right candidates - please follow the information on the linked job descriptions to apply. I have nothing to do with these searches - I'm just a vested member of the broad community that depends on these organizations and their work.

(HR/PR people - please don't send me your job descriptions for posting here. I won't do it.)

Thursday, January 09, 2014

From blog to book - MarketsForGood ebook now available

The Markets For Good initiative has released an eBook collection from their first year's blog posts called Markets for Good Selected Readings: Making Sense of Data and Information in the Social Sector. It's available for free download.

Click here to get the eBook and here for the SSIR blog post.