It’s nice to have company among Foundations in understanding the potential of Web 2.0 for their grantees. The Overbrook Foundation recently undertook a study of its grantees’ use of the Internet and founded mixed results, but a lot of interest by their grantees in getting up to speed. Most telling was this comment by one of the participants in the conversation: "I think I’m missing something really big, but I don’t know what it is or how to find out what it is."
It’s Overbrook’s belief that the most effective organizations in the new digital age will be those who recognize these digital opportunities and quickly seize them.
And it looks like Overbrook itself is thinking about how to apply the principles of interactivity and community to themselves as well: Writes their program associate (and, full disclosure, my daughter), Elizabeth Miller:
… we hope that our grantees will tell us what they need to be successful in this new virtual world. Additionally, I’ll be curious to delve deeper into the impact that Web 2.0 ultimately has on field of philanthropy itself. For instance, perhaps it will increase transparency in foundation decision-making, and maybe even reshape the traditional power dynamics between foundations and nonprofits.
Sunlight and some of our grantees will be making a presentation to the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers (NYRAG) community on September 19, in New York, hoping to expose a wide array of foundations to the opportunities that exist on the Web for the researchers, activists and policy experts they support.