April ICYMI: Fake News, Participatory Organization, & Legal Issues

April was jam packed with some amazing, interactive workshops, sprints, and panel discussions. Check out below for what you may have missed!
Don't want to miss out on one of our next events? Be sure to check out our events calendar or sign up for our newsletter.


Fake News Innovation Sprint

Earlier this month, we hosted our inaugural OpenGov Hub Innovation Sprint - a structured, action-based rapid prototyping session, which we'll convene every quarter to bring together a curated, diverse group of people to tackle a narrowly-defined challenge (think a mini-hackathon without the coding but with policy wonk-types - and just as many sticky notes).

This inaugural sprint focused on the timely topic of "fake news" and was co-organized by Hub member organization, the Leiden University's HumanityX team. We hosted 25 experts from media, technology, policy and other fields to map out myriad aspects of the unwieldy challenge of fake news. 

Read more about the outcomes of the sprint and what's next for the fake news prototype here.

Business Development for Non-Business Development People Workshop

This workshop was offered by seasoned business development expert, international development practitioner, and trainer Nick Demeter to help non-profits learn how to effectively raise funds.

  1. The goal of all this work on Business Development is to help participating Hub member organizations strategically invest minimum resources with maximum probability of success for obtaining funding. Some of the key stages throughout the Business Development process including: Assessing Past Performance (taking stock of your organization as a whole and clearly defining your value add and competitive advantage); strategically developing and managing a Pipeline (of possible funding opportunities); and finally establishing an agile Proposal Development process, which allows you to rapidly and effectively respond to funding solicitations (even if you have a very small team).
  2. Almost all participating Hub organizations receive at least some support from private foundations, while significant numbers also receive support from foreign and US governments.
  3. GovTribe can be a very useful and affordable tool for pipeline management for organizations interested in federal contracting.

Spring Ignite Night and Happy Hour

At OpenGov Hub we have so many different organizations tackling the various pieces of the opengov puzzle that learning about everyone's projects can sometimes be daunting. So once a quarter we host an Ignite Night, where a handful of willing participants can share their latest work.

This quarter's Spring Ignite Night and Happy Hour was a rousing success as both our Hub community and others working in this area came together over drinks, snacks, and a love for learning...or rather perhaps a love for watching peers and friends deliver the intense Ignite talks.

Read more and watch the talks from Natural Resource Governance Institute, Open Data Watch, Global Integrity, and OpenGov Hub right here.

Participatory Organizing: From Co-Op to Network to Mass Movement

This month we were pleased to welcome Richard Bartlett and Nati Lombardo from Loomio and political researcher Cordelia Yu to talk about their experiences with building non-hierarchical social movements. 

Check out Richard's take on the interactive workshop and dig into the content-rich handbooks of Loomio while you're at it.

People's Climate March Brownbag Lecture

Hub Member Climate Justice Alliance was on the steering committee for the People's Climate March in Washington DC on April 29th. 

Angela Adrar, the Executive Director of CJA, spoke about all of the behind-the-scenes work of logistical planning for such a large march, while her counterpart Senowa Mize-Fox talked about the hard work of coalition building. Climate Justice Alliance is part of the It Takes Roots Coalition, made up of frontline communities impacted by racial, housing, and climate issues.

As you can see the work paid off:

Intro to Social Impact Legal Issues Workshop

This was a presentation from Benjamin Overton at the Thompson Reuters Foundation about a variety of valuable legal (and other forms) of pro bono services that social impact organizations can access.

  1. TrustLaw is the largest pro bono legal network (which includes over 100,000 legal experts in 175 countries) and a program of the Thomson Reuters Foundation that links NGOs and social enterprises with top law firms around the world to help these social impact organizations tackle legal questions and challenges. TrustLaw can help secure global legal expertise on a wide variety of matters including intellectual property, legal structuring and incorporation (including in foreign countries), employment and partnership agreements, and cross-border legal research. 95% of requests for help are supported and the average length of engagement is about one month. They encourage OpenGov Hub members to take advantage of our partnership with TrustLaw, as applications from our members are fast-tracked. To access this pro bono support, please fill out a free application online and be sure to mention that you are affiliated with OpenGov Hub.
  2. The Thompson Reuters Foundation is not a grantmaker but instead provides legal assistance, trains journalists in emerging markets, and covers underreported stories (including on topics like governance, land and property). In addition to TrustLaw, other valuable pro bono resources for social ventures include: Techsoup (free software and implementation of it); Project Management Institute and Educational Foundation (can create free project plans); Salesforce Foundation (and help implementing data systems).
  3. In addition to helping tackle organizational questions like legal structures or tax-exempt status, TrustLaw can also help advocacy organizations access pro bono global legal research that helps evaluate policies and laws and their impact (for example, this in-depth research report: Protecting Whistleblowers in the UK: A New Blueprint). TrustLaw staff offer virtual office hours every Thursday 11am-1pm. Not sure what next steps to take? A good one is taking the Legal Health Check for nonprofits and social enterprises to see where your organization stands.