Web 2.0 tools for NGOs

Web 2.0, NGOs, general information

Relevant organisations

  • Bellanet [a multi-donor initiative created with the mission to promote and facilitate effective collaboration within the international development community, especially through the use of information and communication technologies]
  • Brosdi [Busoga Rural Open Source and Development Initiative, a Ugandan community-based organisation making an excellent use of Web 2.0 tools in rural development settings]
  • The Association for Progressive Communication [The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international network of civil society organisations dedicated to empowering and supporting groups and individuals working for peace, human rights, development and protection of the environment, through the strategic use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), including the internet.]

Blogging platforms and interesting/relevant blogs

Tagging/social bookmarking tools


Advocacy and human rights tools

  • CitizenSpeak is a free email advocacy service for grassroots organizations. Inspired by the MoveOn email campaigns, CitizenSpeak provides the same e-advocacy capability at the community level in English and Spanish.
  • TOR allows the user to surf in anonymity, by generating a path through proxy servers, and encrypting traffic so that each router only knows the next router in the chain. This programme is widely used by NGOs and activists in countries where access to certain online information (e.g. on human rights) is restricted.
  • Martus is a secure information management tool that creates an encrypted database to back-up data remotely, especially useful to protect sensitive information and shield the identity of victims or witnesses who provide testimony on human rights abuses.
  • Psiphon is a human rights software project developed by the Citizen Lab at the Munk Centre for International Studies that allows citizens in uncensored countries to provide unfettered access to the Net through their home computers to friends and family members who live behind firewalls of states that censor.

Knowledge-management tools

  • Drupal is an open source content management platform. Equipped with a powerful blend of features, Drupal supports a variety of websites ranging from personal weblogs to large community-driven websites. Amongst others, it has been adopted by Greenpeace UK.
  • Joomla is one of the most used Content Management System (CMS) that will help you build websites and other powerful online applications. Joomla is an open source solution, freely available to everybody.
  • CiviCRM is the first open source and freely downloadable constituent relationship management solution. CiviCRM is web-based, open source, internationalized, and designed specifically to meet the needs of advocacy, non-profit and non-governmental groups (both of these two applications have been adopted by Amnesty UK).
  • BuzzMonitor is an open-source social media aggregator that provides a platform for monitoring and participating in social media in multi-user environments. It works by “listening” to what people are saying about the World Bank across blogs and other sites in order to help the organization understand and engage in social media.
  • Social Source Commons is a place to share lists of software tools that you already use, gain knowledge and support, and discover new tools. It’s a place to meet people with similar needs and interests and answer the question: what tools do they use?
  • Focuss provides a high quality search engine for practitioners, researchers and students in the area of global development studies. Other than generic search engines, like Google and Yahoo, focuss.eu indexes a specific choice of electronic resources, selected by librarians, researchers and practitioners working in participating institutions. The resources are selected based on their relevance for the development studies and the quality of the information.

Online Social Networking Sites

  • Facebook, MySpace and Orkut [three major social networking sites]
  • DGroups [The major mailing list for development practitioners. An offshoot of Bellanet, it’s particularly useful – thanks to its limited graphics – to people using low-bandwidth connection. A space for reflection and dialogue on development issues]
  • Elgg [An open-source platform for software that allows people to connect and share resources]
  • Helpalot [a social networking site where NGOs can register for free and advertise their work, receiving support from community members]
  • ShareIdeas.org [online community and wiki where to share ideas and resources on the social use of ICT tools]


Other useful Web 2.0 tools (still uncategorized)

• Audio (e.g. podcasting, iTunes)
• Calendar (e.g. Google calendar)
• Chat (e.g. Yahoo messanger, Conversate)
• Collaborative document preparation (e.g. Skype Unyte, Writely, WebEx, Zoho)
• Voice Communication (VOIP e.g. Skype, Mabber)
• File sharing (e.g. YouSendIt, BitTorrent)
• Financial (e.g. Paypal, Zopa)
• Images (e.g. Flickr, Zoto)
• Mapping (e.g. Google maps, Map builder)
• Multimedia (e.g. Buzznet, MediaMax)
• News (e.g. Google News, Findory, Digg, Slashdot)
• People (e.g. LinkedIn, Plaxo)
• Portal (e.g. Google IG, Suprglu, Netvibes)
• Project management/organiser (e.g. icommit, Zoho, Tasks Pro)
• Print Publishing (e.g. Lulu, Cafepress, Mimeo)
• Search (e.g. Google, Dogpile, Exalead)
• Surveys/Polls (e.g. SurveyMonkey, WebEnq, Zohochallenge)
• Videos (e.g. YouTube, Clipshack)
• Web2Mobile (e.g. BluePulse)

85 responses to “Web 2.0 tools for NGOs

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