Last week, we wrote a blog post about web 2.0 technologies for non-profits - an overview of the latest web tools such as blogs, social networking applications, RSS, social bookmarking, wikis and more. Today, we want to discuss another exciting new aspect of Web 2.0 technologies - that is gaining in popularity and use among nonprofits. It is known as 'mashups'.
What is a mashup? According to wikipedia, a mashup is a website or web-based application that combines content from two or more different sources into one integrated experience. A closely related concept is a web widget. Web widgets are chunks of web code that can be embedded in your own web pages to provide content or functionality from another website. One of the great things about widgets is that no technical skills are needed to install and use them. Anybody who understands copy/paste is able to add widgetized content or functionality on their own blog or web site. And for non-profits this is opening up a lot of opportunities. Obviously non-profits do not have tons of money to develop custom code - but now they can use widgets to extend the functionality and content of their website!
For example, ChipIn, is a web-based service that simplifies the process of collecting money from groups of people. The ChipIn Widget is a simple application that lets you keep people up-to-date on your fundraising efforts. Start at the ChipIn website to quickly create a widget stating what you're collecting for, how much you want to raise, an end-date and how you'd like to receive your funds (credit card or Paypal). It also makes it easy to track your progress on your blog or website and invite others to contribute to your cause. Once the widget is created, you copy-paste it into your website and it looks like this: (on the left)
ChipIn is an excellent widget for small nonprofits to take a leap into on-line fund raising. ChipIn empowers non-profit organizations to engage a distributed network of supporters in campaigns for major fundraising efforts. As we all know it takes a lot more than placing a widget on your website to raise any significant funds. However, the ChipIn widget makes it incredible simple to get up and running.
Another example of nonprofits using mashups is AIMS. AIMS embedded a poll on their website to get the opinions from their visitors - using a widget from PollDaddy.com. These polls are in real time and give instant polling results.
The concept of mashups also extends to video. Video mashups were made popular with web sites like YouTube - thousands of people can now upload their video onto YouTube and then embed a YouTube video player widget on their own website - without paying for bandwidth, video hosting etc.
The emergence of photo hosting and social networking sites like Flickr that expose photo sharing has led to a variety of other interesting mashups. Flickr is a web application that allows anyone to store, share and organize photographs online. Flickr mashups are used to pull in photographs from the Flickr site to your website to make up a collection of photos. The great thing about Flickr is that anyone can easily upload photos.
But how to get these things going for your organization? Here is a hands-on example how you can use Flickr mashup for your non-profit organization conference:
- Pick a unique event "tag" for all your attendees to use when uploading their photos. Our advice: Keep it short and simple. For example, "conf2006".
- Tell all your conference attendees to upload their pictures on Flickr (basic account is free) and tag with your selected tag.
- Go to Flickr to see all the pictures that have been uploaded for your conference. For example, this link shows all pictures tagged with Etech2006 (O'Reilly Emerging Technologies conference in 2006):
This link shows all these pictures as a slideshow:
- Go to your website and insert a chunk of code corresponding to your Flickr show (more instructions here)
Check out this example of embedded Flickr photos: Studio Bricolage:
Drop us a line and let us know how your organization is using mashups in new and innovative ways. Technorati tags:
nptech nonprofit web2.0