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« Humility and Social Change | Main | May I learn the hard way, so that you don't have to »

January 23, 2007


Dan Bassill

I think that one way to draw more participation into blogs is to create blog exchanges that focus on a specific type of service/need, rather than just a specific category of information.

For instance, I participate in the non profit blog exchange, and it connects a variety of non profits with each other. It is great for meeting new people and expanding your knowledge. However, all of the people connected to each other don't share the same cause, and the passion that would motivate each to do more to draw volunteers, donors, partners to the blog exchange.

I write about volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring and high poverty inner city neighborhoods in my blog. Thus, I'm focusing on an issue and providing information that anyone could use. This includes links to donor blogs, but also to other programs, volunteer centers, and information resources.

I've not found too many who are also blogging tutor/mentor topics, but hope to create a blog exchange in May, around the conference I host in Chicago.

If we can create bloggers who are part of the same network of purpose, let's see if we can get more people to comment and participate.



I really look forward to hearing more about your blog exchange. And certainly keep us posted on the conference in Chicago--if I'm around I'd love to attend.

One of the reasons I like your blog exchange idea is because of the characteristic that you mentioned that focuses on exchange of information, but is not focused on a single topic. Even when people/organizations do not share the same cause, or the same organizational structure, or geographic location, relevant information can still be shared. I think, in fact, it is often better to exchange in information-sharing with those outside your field/way of thinking--to stretch you, open your eyes to blindspots, and provide an alternate perspective. That's definitely what I'm looking for when I talk about cross-sector dialogue.

Dan Bassill

I often talk in visual terams, such as horzontal and vertical structures.

In a horizontal network, I learn from people who have many backagrounds. I participate in forums like for that purpose.

In a vertical network, I participate to acomplish a goal that is shared by the group, such as building a house, or helping a youth living in poverty move through school and into a career over a period of 10-12 years.

I think its important to distinguish between the two because if you're trying to get something done, it's not likely if everyone has a different agenda, or cares about a different cause.

In the tutor/mentor blog exchange, my hope is to fill the room with people who already have made a commitment to helping kids, but represent different sub-contractors in that project (e.g. donors, volunteers, youth, program leaders, etc.)

I hope that by posting this idea in horizontal networks I'll find people to help me organize this, and to help me reach further to find people who blog tutor/mentor issues, but who don't know me and I don't know them.


I agree that it's important to distinguish between horizontal and vertical structures--the 2 have different agendas, both of which are equally important. In nonprofit work, your horizontal objective is very important--you've got a job to accomplish and people to participate in that initiative.

The vertical is about a common social objective. The means may not be the same, but the ends--a common good, is shared. And you may support children but another may support the elderly--does that mean you cannot have a conversation? Certainly not--the horizontal and vertical come together to create common good. Even, I belive, across for profit and nonprofit sectors. A for profit can learn from a nonprofit and vice versa. When we close ourselves off from the perspectives of others we end up ultimately hurtin ourselves, our own organizations, and our clients. Which is sad

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