Community Partnership Fund deadline looms

The imminent closing date of a new round of the Digital Strategy Community Partnership Fund on 10 November has set off a stampede of creative thinking. There’s no shortage of good ideas, though the $5.8 million available probably won’t be enough to fund everything being dreamed up.

The criteria for funding means existing projects aren’t likely to get additional assistance, unless it’s about extending reach or linking with others doing similar stuff, and new projects are required to “support digitally disadvantaged New Zealanders”.

Services delivering IT advice and support specifically to community and voluntary groups want to link up. Each of our respective services will be strengthened through regular face-to-face interaction with peers. A proposal is being prepared to enable us to meet regularly to discuss issues and developments, learn from each other, start looking at standards for IT services to the community, strategic discussion to support advocacy for the sector and providing support to other regions starting a community IT service.

At the moment there are three regional organisations looking to join in a proposal, with the Wellington e-rider IT service writing things up. I’m wondering if there are other people around the country delivering IT advice and support primarily to community groups that would like to join in this proposal. Get in touch if you’re interested.

At this stage applicants are just required to submit a short EOI, with short-listed applications having almost three months to complete a full application early in 2009.

A project bubbling out the Cycle Action Network’s Digital Strategy Initiative (aka new website!) will provide a suite of online tools to support the work of advocacy groups. CiviCRM is a powerful tool to support relationships with members. This can be about promoting action, collecting membership fees, receving online donations, administering events, or much more. The CiviCRM back-end can be combined with a Drupal website front-end to create an attractive public entrance.

Andre Cymbalista, project manager of the new CAN website, wants any advocacy network to be able to benefit from this combination of online tools. With many groups being using the same tools, its possible to capitalise on shared training and build up local support.

In New Zealand there are only a small number of groups using CiviCRM but internationally organisations like Amnesty International, Wikipedia and a multitude of grassroots ones all use the software.

If this sounds like something your group would benefit from, contact Andre today.

That’s not all by a long shot. Promoting open source software, developing an easy website builder, providing IT management training to community group managers, and building Drupal modules are just some of the other ideas I’ve heard about.

Let the sparks fly!