Crowdsourcing Change

Audience size: 15-40
Facility: Office/meeting space, restaurant events room
Timeframe: 90 – 120 minutes
Meeting: interactive brainstorm session for how one specific nonprofit can take their tech strategy and online communication efforts to the next level.
— Many groups report great responses from their communities to these events. They vary in application but mostly serve as a fun way to brainstorm ways an organization can improve their online presence, sometimes covering more than one organization in one event as well.

Notes from Ivan Boothe

I don’t know ALL the details about how to make those run really well, but I do know:

– We realized early on that it paid off to have organizations apply ahead of time, rather than just show up and hope people volunteered.

– We discovered that it helped focus the conversation to have organizations identify 2-4 specific questions they want answered, and then have those questions up on the screen one at a time to direct the “crowdsourcing”

– We sometimes organized “themed” crowdsourcing change events — like all arts organizations or all government/para-government (e.g. transit) agencies, which helped get them more widely promoted.

– Doing them regularly built their “mystique” and increased the number of submissions which led to better events.

– But we recognized that with some organizations we had to give them a firm “no” (usually because they weren’t yet really “organizations,” just an idea in someone’s head) rather than saying we just didn’t have room.

– We regularly fluctuated between doing two organizations and three — two sometimes felt sparse or not diverse enough, but three could sometimes feel rushed. It depends a lot on how long the events are, of course; I’ve discovered Philly’s events are relatively long (6:00 to 9:00, with the first half-hour for networking) in comparison to other cities.