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"The mobile tools to solve social problems
are already out there." Or so said Aaron Pava, a strategist at CivicActions in his 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference
session, Open Source Mobile Apps for
In his session, he shared these tips, strategies, and tools for nonprofits looking to use mobile for social good.
Pava started off outlining the familiar statistics about mobile's explosive growth, and what those trends mean for nonprofit organizations who are thinking about mobile solutions:
Open source is not just about software distribution. Open
source as a philosophy also promotes accessibility, transparency, inclusivity, open
data, and integration with other tools. This can make open source solutions
philosophically attractive to nonprofits and other social benefit
A few of Pava's suggestions for web and email:
The session closed with a sobering discussion about the
importance of security when using mobile technologies.
especially relevant at NTC, given that this year's Pizzigati
Prize for Software in the Public Interest (awarded at NTC) went to Nathan
Freitas, for his work with the Guardian Project. The Guardian Project creates apps and
other tools that help protect security, anonymity, and privacy for mobile
In the discussion, one of
Pava's peers from CivicActions noted that security and privacy cannot be taken
lightly, and it's important to understand what mobile technology does and the kind of information it's gathering.
That will help you understand what kind of technologies are appropriate for your particular organization. For example, using a supporter's
GPS location to help them find a nearby park probably won't endanger anyone.
But uploading GPS-tagged photos from a war zone may very well endanger the
person who took the photos.
Photo: Timothy Appnel
Ariel Gilbert-Knight is a Senior Content Developer for TechSoup