Watching several conversations unfold related to open data, and open data standards, for the philanthropic sector. I caught up with most of them just last night, and had a hard time falling asleep. It's fantastic to feel the momentum shift from either-or questions about whether an organization should be transparent or not, to the kind of nuanced Q&A engaged in here. Of course, I'm excited, especially, for the potential to more broadly encourage data standards for the nonprofit sector (see Marnie Webb's post especially). Looking forward to linking that topic more explicitly into Social Actions' Open Actions XML initiative in future posts.
For now, some quick links:
responds to Lawrence Lessig
's recent article "Against Transparency: The perils of openness in government." with a post that asks "What are the downsides of transparency? Which of these are due to technology or existing legal frameworks, and which of them come from elsewhere, from our norms and assumptions about how giving works or what philanthropy is for? And what scenarios can we imagine from greater data sharing that we'd prefer to avoid?"
on nonprofits and transparency ("Nonprofits need to begin to ask themselves questions about transparency to guide their work.")
proposes an NTEN panel that would provide nonprofits a ""basic framework of things to consider including identity and anonymity, digital inclusion and access, community management, taxonomy, content ownership, and your data ecosystem" among other things (it's a very robust proposal, I hope you'll check it out).
pulls inspiration all of the above to tentatively suggest "aggressively sharing our data, collecting and share the representative stories and, agreeing on some data standards across the sector so that we can achieve the dream of having simplified, relevant data that informs decision-makers and provides support to the social changes we seek."
ties the issue of transparency to that of security, reminding us that the appropriateness of data-sharing is linked to the organization's mission.
And Beth Kanter
asks about the pros and cons of nonprofit dashboards (data presentation), interesting in its own right but especially because Holly Ross reveals in the comments that one for NTEN might be on its way (woot!).