I applaud Ami for his forthrightness and am rooting for Idealist; they’ve played a critical role in the nonprofit world for years now. (Just as I loved Kjerstin’s courage and impact-orientation.)
But I couldn’t help thinking that there are no fewer than 54 different online philanthropy, volunteering, and social investment platforms (see note below). They are built on the same premise as Idealist: let’s use the Internet to match resources and needs.
Each of these websites has huge potential. For some (like Idealist) that potential has been realized, at least in part. But I’m not sure the sector can support so many different platforms. By having so many, we thinly spread our limited resources (money and users) across many platforms — forcing everyone to struggle.
I think the time has come for us to discuss how to transform this (extraordinary!) decentralized innovation into an open, coherent & sustainable system that can serve our shared needs over the long run.
See research on this topic (which the Hewlett Foundation supported) here.