For those that weren’t able to be there, here’s a quick rundown of what I spoke about at the Non-profit Commons mini-track at the Second Life Community Convention this past weekend in Tampa, Florida. While this year’s non-profit track had less folks participating than last year, we had some great exchanges with non-profit innovators like Master Quatro, Sheva Nerad, folks from the American Library Association, USC’s Network Culture Project, Native Lands, and several other groups in attendance physically or via SL.
Thanks to Coughran Mayo for inviting me to speak and doing an admirable job moderating the entire mini-track. And shout-outs to Rhiannon Chatnoir, In Kenzo and Amulius Lioncourt for bootlegging an audio stream in the Plush Nonprofit Commons in record time. And I can’t forget my colleague Meghan Deana (Coreina Grace in SL) for stepping in at the 11th hour to help me present and facilitate the session.
My talk notes follow…
Beyond Best Practices: Taking Non-profits to the Next Level in Second Life
Almost exactly a year ago, based on findings from SLCC 07 in Chicago, I wrote a little report on "Best Practices for Nonprofits in Second Life," which you may have read. At last year’s SLCC non-profit panel people were presenting more questions than answers. Lots of presenters were announcing projects they were just in the process of launching, including the MacArthur Foundation, USC’s Network Culture Project, and Youth Ventures.
This year, the message I have for you is: congratulations! We have firmly made the case for the viability of using Second Life for non-profit work. It is no longer a question of if but how. This year we can celebrate real achievements:
- April 08: Glitteractica Cookie testifies in Congress on non-profits in SL… and gets slammed for it by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show!
- May : A second NPC island – Aloft – launches! (about 30 in Plush, another 30 in Aloft, plus 20 more in commonwealth sim )
- July: the USC Network Culture Project announces their "Public Good Challenge" awards. They awarded three projects L$ 900,000 to develop their ideas: the Ability Commons, Native Lands Cultural Outreach, and Texas Obesity Research Center. Each of the three community-supported teams received L$300,000 Linden, and land in Second Life through the end of 2008.
- July: The SL Relay for Life raised a record $200K with 2,300 people participating. (100K more than 2007!)
Here’s some other cool stuff that I’ve run into in my wanderings in Second Life:
- My Favorite Freebies: Uthango jetpowered bike to fund employment ctr in Capetown and very cute World Wildlife Fund panda that follows you around and tells you stuff about WWF
- The Grundfos Sim: Grundfos, a for profit pump company, has created a very interactive sim on sustainable development, clean water, reducing co2 emissions. A great example of a for-profit company giving back to the community.
- Avatar on Duty project: Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership has organized expert avatars to be available to answer specific questions related to effective philanthropy and nonprofit leadership. The AvOD will be available to answer questions in regards to effective practices and research on specific topics related to philanthropy and nonprofit leadership.
New Tech relevant to Nonprofits:
- SL on web and iphone (ajaxlife.net), SL / SMS tool (switchboard), combined SL – web chat (SLCN.tv)
- opensim – ability to run your own grid, connect to SL grid via opensim
- voice – lowered barrier to bringing in voice, causes issues for some communities concerned about identity issues
What hasn’t happened:
- slow international growth: Uthango south african NGO , Japan NGO, few others?
- not much better user interface
- Little growth in teen grid