Introducing Beth Kanter and ‘The Networked Non-profit’ organisation

Management wisdom states that non-profits are supposed to be large organizations often doing the change-making in the area they are located in. Yet a good majority of successful organizations are often small and localized. The reason they find themselves being successful at making a difference in society is because of the sponsors and partners they work with. The success of these networked nonprofits suggests that organizations should focus less on growing themselves and more on cultivating their networks.

Beth Kanter from Beth’s blog wrote an interesting article, ”The Networked Non-profit in Kenya”, after her visit to Kenya in 2010. The visit went unnoticed and as a result not many people know what ‘The Networked Non-profit’ is about. She also wrote a book explaining how non-profits operate in socially connect world.

‘The Networked Non-profit’ is an organisation that works on technological innovation schemes run by the locals in the area it is set up in. The organisation is not only transparent but international as well, based in Kenya as well as London. The organisation allows for any qualified person to join. It is worth mentioning that the organisation not only aims to help the society but it also aims to help the people involved be become better versions of themselves as they meet and interact with new, different people.

Beth Kanter is a part of an NGO by the name of Ushahidi, an organisation that seeks to democratize information and increase transparency on the social web. Ushahidi partners with ‘The Networked Non-Profit’ to find innovative technological schemes to help the locals. However even Beth Kanter agrees that there is some need for technological growth in Kenya as it is not as tech savy as the West. She states in her blog that:

It is always eye-opening to work on the social web from developing countries and realized just how spoiled we are in the US with fast and plentiful bandwidth. It requires a different way of working.  I was most surprised how many online applications that I use daily in the US were slow loading and impossible to use.  I was also surprised that FaceBook loaded easily, even posting photos.

Kanter believes in ice-breakers and encouraging the team she is working with to push themselves to higher levels through the following concepts: learning from mistakes (or the joyful funeral), the fortress and sponge (in relation to transparency) and simplicity (not having to focus everything around networking and the organization).

It will still be interesting to see the future and what it holds for the organisation in Kenya.

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