Well, I doubt that this will end the mashup trend going on out in the interwebs, but I thought folks might be interested in seeing this…
NetSquared (based in the U.S.) has launched their newest summer contest, the N2Y3 (that’s NetSquared Year Three) Mashup Challenge. You can see the 100+ projects that have been submitted here. One of mySociety’s projects, PledgeBank, is featured in one of the submissions: Social Actions. OK, the name isn’t super-sexy. But the idea is. Peter Deitz is developing a way to lead any given user (an individual or an organization) through the process of selecting a social action platform. Do you want to raise money? Do you need to integrate with a specific CRM? Do you need an online donation processing tool? Do you need a widget for your site? This mashup with combine 29+ (the list keeps growing) “action” tools (including PledgeBank) in that wizard, helping the average Joe or Jane figure out which tool would work best for them.
Of course, in order to move forward in the competition for mentoring and money, Peter needs your vote. To vote for this mashup (and at least four more — NetSquared is smarter than to just let everyone vote for one), just create a free account on the site and add at least five projects to your ballot. There are some really cool ones out there, so browse around a bit. The polls opened on Monday at 8am PST, and they will be closing on Friday at 5pm PST. The 20 mashup proposals with the most votes will attend the annual NetSquared Conference in San Jose, May 27 & 28, 2008. During the conference, the mashup creators will have a chance to pitch their projects to funders, foundations, and fellow nonprofit tech professionals.
As they say in Chicago, vote early and vote often!
A lot has been happening with PledgeBank in the U.S. over the past few months, but an exciting podcast just went up that’s a great synthesis of some of that work. Idealist just launched a podcast featuring PledgeBank, and also telling the story of one of our favorite pledge campaigns. You can hear the podcast here.
You can also see more from the Bakul Foundation on their new website. Good things are happening, my friends…please help spread the word about PledgeBank to those folks you know who want to do incredible things like what the Bakul Foundation has done!
Whew. It’s exciting times.
As you know, we’ve been looking for a new developer for a little while, and I’m pleased to say we’ve found one. We’re very picky, as we have lots of really convulted, diverse software amazing award winning websites to keep going.
Just as important as finding someone technically skilled, it’s important that they are motivated and excited about what mySociety is doing. If you’re hiring any programmer you should be looking for that, especially so for a small, nimble charity like us. We had lots of good applicants, and were sorry we could only afford to choose one.
Please welcome Angie Ahl! She lives in Cumbria, so keeping with our policy of having staff scattered to the four winds. I can see mountain climbing in my future. Angie runs a web design company working mainly in the film and music industries. I’ll try and persuade her to post here about what she gets up to with us.
Other things – there’s another one of our Disruptive Technology talks in London next Thursday. It’s by Jason Kitcat, who not only is head of technology at netmums.com, but also co-ordinated the Open Rights Group’s electronic voting trials observations earlier in the year. Read the fascinating report – there’s a bit where overall control of the Scottish Parliament literally hung off the edge of the page of an Excel spreadsheet. Sign up now to come and see Jason speak next week.
Speaking of the Open Rights Group, it is astonishingly two years since a PledgeBank pledge got them started with 1000 supporters. Danny O’Brien has written a fun summary of what they’ve been up to. If they can do this, then what could you do with PledgeBank?
The “um’s” and “uh’s” on the interview are embarrassing, to say the least, but PledgeBank just got its first podcast coverage. Check out my NetSquared interview here. I’m hoping this gets us a bit of exposure in the U.S.
And I’ll do better next time with all the incidental sounds…
Which are yours?
Bakul-Library – it’s just awesome, that they used PledgeBank, that they got a 1000 people, and that they’re going to make a new library in India because of it.
deathpenalty – Not because it was effective, and not because I agree with it. But because I disagree with it, and because of the reaction it got from left-wingers not used to seeing other points of view. PledgeBank is for anyone.
walkout – PledgeBank offline. These school students got together to march against war (whatever or yippeee), but just LOOK at how many text message sign ups there were. Tom saw in London an illegally flyposted flyer.
First1000 – I mean, they may be crazy libertarians, but ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE are going to move house. OK loads won’t move. But hundreds will.
tunepiano – It’s about fun and joy, not just politics and worthiness (bit of a worthy example to make that point I know, but it is a piano!)
We’re delighted to announce that mySociety has been generously awarded $100,000 by Omidyar Network, a mission-based investment group committed to enabling individual self-empowerment. The purpose of the investment, our largest to date from a philanthropic source, is to spread the use of PledgeBank.com to a host of community and grassroots groups in the US.
Omidyar Network invested in PledgeBank because it encourages collective effort by enabling users to rally the support of others through their own commitment to take action.
From starting new organizations, to giving blood, to volunteering to mentor others, Pledgebank has enabled people to do things they wouldn’t have done otherwise. Just this morning we were sent these pictures of a protest in Brazil that was organised using PledgeBank.
What has been missing to date, though, has been any resource to spread the use of the tool to traditionally offline groups. Whether these are schools, community groups, NGOs, churches or neighbourhood watch groups, many could benefit from PledgeBank, but few have had the opportunity to hear about it. Therefore, PledgeBank is looking to hire an outreach coordinator who will travel around the US meeting groups, listening to their goals, and explaining how PledgeBank can help them, for free.
mySociety will be recruiting the outreach coordinator in the New Year. If you’d like to get in touch, perhaps to pre-book an appointment to meet or talk with the outreach coordinator, or because you know someone who could do the job well, please drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I haven’t posted here for a while – in late May / early June I was on holiday in China for a month. After 18 months of hectic mySociety with only a break for a week, I needed it!
Since I got back, I’ve been busy on the no. 10 petitions site, which in the tag-team coding way that we do, Matthew has now taken over for a bit. And I’m doing something I’m hesitatingly calling “geocascading pledges”.
I’m not quite sure what to call it yet. It lets you make one pledge, but whose target counts separately in different towns. When someone signs up, they also choose a place. Rather than having to make a separate pledge for everywhere in the world, you can just make one.
Here’s an example pledge, which is also real (more on that later), so do sign it if you like. And then post your thoughts in the comments – it needs a bit of polishing yet.
So, PledgeBank launched today. Already, you can sign pledges to have trees planted to compensate for your CO2 emissions, help clean up the banks of the River Taff, support local retailers, and one or two, err, more politically controversial ones. So, take a look, and sign — or, better, create — some pledges!
PledgeBank is mySociety’s second project. The purpose of PledgeBank is to get people past a barrier which strikes down endless good plans before they can are carried out – the fear of acting alone. It allows anyone to say “I’ll do X if other people also do X”, for example “I’ll write to my councillor if 5 other people on my street do the same”. However, there is no scale to big or too small, it could equally be used to say “I’ll start recycling if 10,000 other people in Britain also start”.
Pledgebank developement will start soon, and we are now looking for partner organisations, large and small, who would like to use Pledgebank when it launches. If you run a charity or other organisations, or if you know anyone who does, please do email us.