iKnowHow: building a wiki for the voluntary sector – part one
KnowHow NonProfit , part of NCVO, is the online hub for nonprofit people to learn and share what they have learnt with others. It provides support on anything and everything to do with running a nonprofit. In 2011 they received a grant from Nominet Trust to explore how community editing (wikis) could be used by the voluntary sector to share knowledge.
Hello and welcome to the new KnowHow NonProfit blog that will chart our progress through a project that could change the voluntary sector as we know it. More on that in a moment.
First, let me introduce myself.
I’m Marie Faulkner and I have just joined the KnowHow NonProfit team here at NCVO in Kings Cross. I have a background in social media, experience working in both the public and voluntary sectors, as well as a finely honed appreciation for lolcats. So I fit right in at KnowHow.
And the reason for this blog? As you probably know, when the guys at KnowHow aren’t swapping pictures of animals wearing human clothes, they’re busy devising new ways for people working in the voluntary sector to develop their skills and knowledge online.
Over the next ten weeks I will be working with them on an exciting new project. It will test how far we can push you guys, the users of KnowHow NonProfit, to swap and share your knowledge with each other online.
A voluntary sector wikipedia
In short, we’re setting up the voluntary sector version of Wikipedia. The project has been thoughtfully named, iKnowHow. Because that’s how we want you to think when you read our site.
iKnowHow will turn many of the useful guides we’ve already published on our site into interactive and self-sustaining wikis. We’re working with technology that will allow users with any level of web experience to edit existing material, add new pages or report issues that they feel will help improve the information on the guides.
The reasons behind iKnowHow
And why are we doing this? Several reasons really.
- First, we don’t believe voluntary sector knowledge or expertise resides exclusively with a select group of ‘experts’. We’re all experts in one field or another and truly democratic publishing provides channels for everyone’s expertise to be shared with others who need it.
- Second, running websites is expensive and time-consuming. As funding is cut from the sector, we need to find new ways to manage our online resources. Otherwise we’ll continue to lose valuable websites because we don’t have the manpower or funds to maintain them.
We don’t know if wikis will work in this context. But our project isn’t about making them work. It’s about giving it our best shot, testing appetite and reporting our findings.
The rewards for getting this right are high for the whole of the voluntary sector, but so are the risks: so far nobody has managed to get this right. In this weekly blog you will find out more about the project, and get to read first-hand about the challenges and successes of creating a voluntary sector wiki …. and everything else that goes with it!
The big launch will be in early March, so get that logged in your diary and help us spread the word in March and April! These are the deadlines we are working to at the moment, but are subject to change.