Coiya Tompkins

Crowdsourcing and the nonprofit community

posted by
Coiya Tompkins,

Vice President, Corporate
Communications & Public Relations

Sun Health

As anyone who works at a nonprofit organization can tell you, surplus is a luxury most NPOs rarely enjoy. Funding, guidance, volunteers, community engagement – all vital resources to sustaining a nonprofit – seem to be in short supply most days. Thankfully, the age of internet has come to our rescue through “crowdsourcing,” helping nonprofit organizations get by with a little help from their friends.

What is crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing, the virtual gathering of thinkers from around the world, is a modern solution to a classic predicament: how do I get the resources I need? Before the internet, nonprofit organizations could only establish supportive relationships with the limited number of individuals and organizations in their region. In this modern age, however, we have the remarkable ability to reach likeminded people anywhere in the world with internet access. Nonprofits can post open-call questions on a discussion board and gain insight and assets from countless members of the global community; proximity never even enters the equation.

According to Daren Brabham, crowdsourcing consultant and author of Crowdsourcing: A Model for Leveraging Online Communities, crowdsourcing is the organization of online communities to utilize their combined resources. “Crowdsourcing organizations can effectively tap the collective intelligence of online communities for specific purposes,” Brabham says. “Cultures have always been participatory, long before the Internet, with roots in democratic process, collective decision making, and cooperation for survival. But participatory cultures on the Internet take on a new quality, a new scale, and new capabilities.”

How can crowdsourcing help my nonprofit organization in Arizona?