Non-profits are engaging and collaborating using wiki

How can your agency effectively use wiki?

By Rose Reinert
Guest blogger
rose1Last Monday, we dug into chapter 6 of Lon Safko’s book “The Social Media Bible” and talked about the benefits of reading and writing blogs. This week, we explore chapter 7 where Safko investigates “The Wisdom of the Wiki.”
When I cracked open this chapter and began to read, I instantly found myself concentrating very hard. I read, and re-read, to try and wrap my head around first what was a “wiki” and how the heck I could figure out how to turn it into a blog post.
What is a “Wiki”?
A wiki is a browser-based web platform or software where individuals can add information and edit content. Wiki are sometimes used internally in an organization and require registration; however, there are also more public wikis that allow edits and contributions without registration.
Wikis are an open set of documents so they are accessible to the public or a large group, as such there is always a chance that content could be compromised or what Safko refers to as “vandalized.”
Very open wikis often require you to register to help to reduce the chance of this or offer follow-up to a user.
Let’s Get Wiki-with-It!
wikiSafko recommends getting started by visiting some wikis.
So I did!
Wikipedia is one of the most popular public wikis. I suggest you visit, read, add some facts, and make some corrections (if you find any) and then Google for more Wikis.
Ironically, as I looked around for wikis, I found Wikispaces Classroom, which is a wiki for teachers to utilize with their students. It is also a platform to coordinate and execute class projects. I found a great article on this site highlighting some great examples of how non-profits are using wiki.
Here are some of my favorite examples:
Rt. 1 Day Center
The Rt. 1 Day Center, a homeless center in Columbia, Maryland, uses their wiki to coordinate volunteers for their meals, showers, laundry and social services. More than 40 churches in the area partner with the center, volunteering for a day’s service once a month. The wiki is the community hub where volunteers sign-up, check what’s been happening at the center, and inform next-day volunteers about needed food and supplies.
CARE
CARE is a global non-profit working to fight poverty. They use Wikispaces Private Label as a platform for members to communicate, collaborate, and share best practices. They have many wikis on their site, including:

  • A knowledge café where individuals share best practices for engaging the cultures and communities in which they work
  • A wiki where they train their global members and volunteers in emergency preparedness and response
  • Various wikis designed by groups of employees interested in bringing new capacities to the organization
  • Wikis devoted to strategic planning, improving their organization, and measuring the impact of their various projects and initiatives

With Wikispaces Private Label, CARE has built an active community where members can find resources, develop skills, and improve the long-term health of the organization.
Skills Standards for the Woodworking Industry
Until recently, the woodworking industry was one of the few industries left without standards to help evaluate, educate and compensate their workforce. A group of woodworking professionals from across the industry used Wikispaces to compile a set of skills standards. Wikispaces enabled them to rewrite the standards for 33 woodworking tools with only a single face-to-face meeting. The work they did on the wiki over a two-year period was approved by the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America [WCANA] and released in July 2009 as a 134 page manual for the field.
These are just a few examples. I am eager to learn from you all! Please use the comment box below to share your experience working with wiki.
Have you ever had a great success with using wiki? What are other ways you can think of to utilize this resource?
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