Microformats & Philanthropy

I think the benefits of donors sharing their collective knowledge about how to achieve various philanthropic goals are huge. GiveWell is using a wiki to achieve this. Another concept would be using microformats. I’m not even close to well versed enough in this technology to explain the details to you, but the essence is that microformats lets information on one webpage be easily accessible and usable by other websites. This facilitates mashups and other ways that information can be pulled together from all over the web into one place.

Mike Everett-Lane, the executive director of DonorsChoose (New York), posted on this concept yesterday:

Picture the following mashup possibilities:

  • Phil has just moved to Brooklyn, and wants to get involved with his new community. He enters his address into a Philanthropic Mashup site (made with Yahoo Pipes?) which aggregates local funding needs. He can filter those needs by cost, by type of program, and by demographics of the recipients. He decides to fund a classroom project at DonorsChoose and make a Back-to-Work Grant to a local family through Modest Needs.
  • John is a programmer in Topeka who wants to help out literacy organizations, a special passion of his. He posts an offer of services his blog, with details of the hours he wants to commit and the types of services he offers. A literacy program in Saskatchewan has need of his skills, and is able to find John through Google because he has marked up his offer with the proper microformats.
  • The Bailey Foundation wants to improve its outreach and reach more nonprofits with its Animal population control grants program. It posts data on its grant program (available amount, application deadline, etc.) on its site. An animal shelter that has never heard of the Bailey Foundation is able to find them and get funding for its Spay Day program.

You can read the whole post here.