Last month, we concluded a project with Bay Area Legal Aid, the Bay Area's largest provider of legal support for low-income residents. This project was funded by LSC's Technology Innovation Grant program. Today, we'll share a bit of information about what the project was, how we did it, and how you can replicate it.
Truly great boards are few and far between, which is pretty unfortunate, because a board can make or break an organization. After all, nonprofit board members are the legitimate “owners,” responsible for representing community interest in making sure an organization is doing the work it supports. There’s a rule of thumb out there that out of every four board members, one will be an asset and three will be dead weight. Having worked with lots of boards over the last decade, I’d go a step further and say that the “dead weight” directors have the potential to actually harm an organization. In a Stanford survey of 924 nonprofit directors, 69% of organizations had experienced at least one serious governance problem in the last decade.
You haven’t seen me around much lately—that’s because, as of 4.29 in the morning on the 1st January, 2017 already has 2016 beat: our daughter Kathleen Rose was born, the first SIMLab baby since 2014.
When we first wrote about technology and security nearly a year ago, SIMLab had just begun to test our hypotheses about how inclusive technologies can help strengthen relationships between communities and police through community-oriented or community-based policing.Today, we want to share some of our research methodology, a few findings from our fieldwork in 2016, and our next steps in 2017 and beyond.
Welcome to a new year, and a new SIMLab. 2017 marks our tenth year of existence as a nonprofit, and our third since we spun off FrontlineSMS. This year also marks the start of an exciting new period for SIMLab. We've got ambitious plans for 2017. We'll be sharing our strategy with you in the weeks to come, but wanted to share a small preview of what we’re working on.
Nonprofits are an economic force to be reckoned with, employing 10% of the domestic workforce and accounting for 5% of GDP in 2014.
Stacks of administrative records with no digital counterpart
Last year, SIMLab completed a project with DC Public Library (DCPL) to find out how the library could deliver and maintain good information on social services in DC. Funded by the Knight Foundation’s Prototype Fund, this project sparked a prolonged investigation into how the American social safety net is constructed. What follows is a rundown of what we did.
In rural and low-resource contexts, low-cost technology, like SMS, can facilitate faster, cheaper data collection and reporting about government processes. As a result, a new question arises: how can we use this new data to help people understand complex processes, and to drive them to action?