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First POST: Jargon Busters

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 28 2015

Changes in the RNC's tech team; big plans for digital democracy in the UK; how people in Cuba are making their own private Internet; and much, much more. Read More

Civic Tech and Engagement: In Search of a Common Language

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 5 2014

Marten van Valkenborsch, Construction of the Tower of Babel (c. 1600)

We need much clearer language to describe civic tech. Too often, people working in this field struggle to put into words what it is they are striving for. It's not enough to assume that, like the Supreme Court and obscenity, we know good civic tech when we see it. And if we can't say why something is good (or even great), how can we know what to design for? Indeed, how do we even know if we're after the same design goals? Read More

Crowdfunding 101: A User's Guide to Success on Indiegogo. It's All About Connections.

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 1 2014

The Campaign for Local Power used Indiegogo to finance a successful grassroots drive to switch to municipal power

In this Q&A, Indiegogo Cause Director Bre DiGiammarino shares a plethora of examples of what works and doesn't in crowdfunded cause campaigns. Hint: Don't stick your nonprofit's gala dinner video up on the platform and expect mobs to break down your door. And no, she doesn't just tell you to throw a celebrity into the mix, although sometimes, as with the legendary Silicon Valley family the Drapers, it doesn't hurt. The utility of celebrities, it turns out, depends on whether fundraisers bother to spend the time to consider how to most beneficially leverage those celebrities' connections. Read More

Is Crowdfunding The Future of Urban Economic Development?

BY Sam Roudman | Wednesday, May 29 2013

Sunset for Oakland's redevelopment cash. Is it a sunrise for microfinance? Photo: damianpenney

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: In Oakland, Calif., officials think they've found a way to stimulate business after state lawmakers drastically slashed economic development funding. A microfinancing initiative in partnership with the nonprofit Kiva is expected to start generating loans of up to $5,000 for Oakland entrepreneurs, bringing the East Bay an economic strategy better known in the developing world. Read More

Changes at Change.org: A Media Hub for Social Action

BY Micah L. Sifry | Saturday, October 11 2008

Is it possible to build a successful web portal and community hub around issues and activism? So far, no one has succeeded in this quest, though there a lot of people trying and one could argue that sites as diverse as ... Read More