Ecampaigning Forum case study: Rolf Kleef on

For the next couple of days I’m at the ecampaigning forum in Oxford and am going to attempt to live blog the main sessions as far as possible. These notes are largely unedited, so they’re likely to be a bit sketchy. For context, feel free to post a comment and I’ll catch up with them when I can.

Rolf Kleef talked about long tail as an introduction

nabuur is a dutch word for “neighbour”. idea is to build on idea that neighbours can help you when you’re in need. help organisations tap into peoples’ skills. volunteer expertise/knowledge online, work from home, help villages in africa/asia/latin america.

villages get page on nabuur (example). get teamed with facilitator who helps them identify project, work out what’s needed, etc. say a village wants to build a computer centre: some people might be able to supply computers, someone might be able to help with transport, someone else understands customs issues, etc.

site breaks projects down into tasks. people volunteer for tasks. volunteers are listed as a village’s “virtual neighbours”.

has been working well. for example seen reductions in infant mortality in certain villages as result of improved health/water facilities.

now redeveloping site to help online volunteers become salespeople and spread the word (like netflix). many volunteers end up going to visit the projects in person.

asked about metrics. decent size now, but next step is to harness “web 2.0” tools to help it grow faster.

asked how many projects are skills transfer, and how many are logistics/supply. answered it’s often a mixture of things. not sure what the division is.

hardest part was building training method for facilitators. make it easy to break down the project and put it online as something compelling for people to use.

how promoted? google ads, etc. now looking at corporate partnerships to get employees to adopt projects.

also looking at SMS updates to make it easier to make it easier for people to update from the project sites. looking at how villages continue in the site once projects completed. talking to existing NGOs to see if staff already on the ground can help assess projects.

Tags: , , , , , ,

1 comment

  1. hi James, thanks for this write-up! let me take the opportunity to add a link to a video: Raul (elected as one of the 10 UN online volunteers of the year in 2006) has made this video about his experiences as virtual neighbour

    (and he’s now part of the team working on the next website)

    and my slightly underdeveloped point about the “long tail” aspect: there could be thousands of these relatively small projects where you only need up to a dozen or two online volunteers each to make them work; very different from the big campaigns to mass-mobilise/show mass-support