ellohay! West Michigan

Serving organizations

Posted in discovery stages, mission statement, organization, planning, support by forgr on March 8, 2008

Should we serve entire organizations? For-profit business groups and not-for-profit groups?

The Philadelphia Wireless group offers bundles, $600 each for organizations. That covers the machine, the education, the support, and the discounted rate on internet access. That bundle provides tools to help serve their community… and it’s good.

If yes, we should serve them, what’s that right model for serving organizations? They need help too. In a perfect world, Executive Directors would be able to negotiate tools, resources and opportunities for each other. They should be able to help each other help people.

Is is scope creep on our mission statement? Weigh in… with a “yes” or a “no”.

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5 Responses

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  1. Peter Quinn said, on March 8, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Peter Quinn

  2. smcmaster1995 said, on March 9, 2008 at 12:13 am

    I don’t have a yes or no vote. Not as I start thinking this through.

    My first thought on reading this post was–mission creep. In a huge way. Then I read the earlier one, and the possibilities started bubbling.

    Now I can see as a potentially good idea.

    One of the big advantages (potentially) of serving organizations is that the client organization does the screening–they can help make sure the individuals will be more likely to benefit from the project. A potential down side is that the project becomes one more program… just one more group of ya-hoos telling a roomful of us what to do to get something at the urging of the overseers… with the forgr people being the ya-hoos, the roomful of being the client population, and the client organization’s staff and administrators being the overseers.

    I really like the idea of serving individual clients on a self-selecting (if group) basis. However, I can see a two-pronged project. One with the self-selecting clients, the drop-in/training center, with the classes, the earning a machine, the community-building component. The other serving individuals on a client organization basis…

    I don’t know what might be on offer in a situation like that, but it’s kind of fun to picture a roomful of senior citizens sitting in the dining room… a couple of people from the forgr staff trundle in a couple of carts stacked high with laptops, putting one of them down in front of each person… and the forgr facilitator standing at the front of the room taking the last one off the cart, plugging it into a projector and saying, “let’s walk though this together, press the power button…” while the staff fans out to help with whatever questions will arise.

    Either project would be a big one for any organization, doing both would be enough to keep any organization busy for the foreseeable future. Even a growing one, with a lot of ambition, what with the never-ending supply of under-served people, and client potential organizations around the city, area, and state.

    So, it’s not automatically mission creep, and it might be a perfectly complementary pair of programs… one can see self-selecting clients fulfilling community-building requirements by helping with organizational programs and presentations… and one can see individuals in the client organization population getting involved in the individual side, too…

  3. forgr said, on March 9, 2008 at 10:34 am

    I’m thinking nonprofits organizations only, though. Yes?

  4. smcmaster1995 said, on March 9, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    I’d say, yes, only non-profits.

    … but… conceptually now, just conceptually…

    …there might be a way to skew toward non-profits, but not totally preclude businesses… something about the client organization screening process … size, annual sales…

    here’s why… Client Scenario 1 has a person working at a private, for profit, office… imagine everyone (or almost) who works there might have a more or less similar story, with more or less similar access concerns…

    So I still say, yes, non profits only… but I wouldn’t say mission drift if there was a way to include some for-profits… if a way can be found to keep it fair and true to the larger mission…

  5. forgr said, on March 12, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    It’s definitely a larger undertaking. Maybe we expand the service-reach one step at a time…? Off the top of my head, it could be like Facebook’s evolution:

    First just for circle of friends
    Then the class, and the school uses it
    After that two schools, four, eight, etc.
    All students can use Facebook
    Then employees in businesses are allowed in
    Then anyone is allowed in
    Ads, aps, stores, movies, corporations, etc.

    Digital Inclusion’s potential evolution:

    Pilot program in a classroom, street, or team
    Program in a school, block, or small nonprofit organization
    Workshop serving two schools, a neighborhood, or large nonprofit organization
    Two workshop locations serving many schools, neighborhoods, or organizations
    Many workshops serving all schools, citizens, and organizations
    (Then serving for-profit businesses for a fee?)
    The county
    The state
    Then the Midwest, country?


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