Tech in the Commons: A Toolkit for Place-Based Nonprofits

Tech in the Commons is an initiative to familiarize place-based nonprofits with trending technologies.

At a time when new tools are more accessible than ever, to many leaders at such organizations the perceived barrier to use is high and the understanding is low. Following reporting and two consecutive years of a spring bootcamp event series, this ebook is full of actionable tips and guidance geared toward mission groups with an array of budgets on the following topics:

  • Augmented and virtual reality
  • Data storytelling
  • Live video
  • Social media
  • Smart Cities

This project, including the event series, was produced by Generocity, a Philadelphia-based social impact news site, and supported by the Knight Foundation in 2017 and 2018; Comcast NBCUniversal also supported it in 2018.

Imagined as a “bootcamp” over four consecutive weeks, the series’ goal was to help place-based nonprofits better understand how to leverage new technologies for the sake of improving engagement with their communities. In the project’s second year, we also hosted two work nights for attendees of the data storytelling and Smart Cities bootcamps to practice what they learned.

Representatives from more than 175 nonprofits and related mission groups attended at least one of the four events in 2017. We drew a balanced, wide range of nonprofits, including those working in homelessness, youth programming and public parks.

Read on for lessons on applying these new technologies to your own organization — and for stories of those that have already done it well. Each section also includes a “Do this first” section with specific next steps to take to employ the discussed techniques.

Find Tech in the Commons coverage from Generocity here, and #TechCommonsPHL tweets here.

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