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Report Describes How Foundations Are Using New Media and Urges Them to Use It More

After nearly a year of blogrolling, wikifying, podcasting, Facebooking, and good old fashioned talking with dozens of philanthropy communication pros, my colleague Cynthia Scheiderer and I have completed our report that takes a close look at how foundations are adapting to the Web 2.0 world. 

It’s called ”Come On In. The Water’s Fine. An Exploration of Web 2.0 Technology and Its Emerging Impact on Foundation Communications.”  And it was underwritten with the generous support of The California Endowment, Edna McConnell Clark, and Robert Wood Johnson foundations.

We’ll present our findings at the opening plenary session on Thursday morning, along with Jen Humke of the MacArthur Foundation, Kristin Taylor of the Knight Foundation, and Cassandra Stalzer of the Rasmuson Foundation. Our research turned up many more examples of foundations using new media than we could possibly share in a single conference session. But we’ll try to give you a good sense for what we uncovered. Jen, Kristin, and Cassandra will help out by giving you a taste of what the opportunities are.

Cynthia and I are going to focus our remarks on some of the thorny questions that the sector is still grappling with — issues like message control, transparency, and the generational divide for starters. But no matter where you fall on these hot button questions, it’s clear a new set of online communication behaviors and expectations are here to stay. The question is: What will it take for foundations to stay relevant and preserve their influence on issues they care most about?

So come join us bright and early Thursday morning at 8am. We’ll leave plenty of time for your questions and comments. And we hope to spark a conversation that lasts throughout the conference and beyond. Please feel free to leave questions or comments about the report here.

David Brotherton


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