What is the project about?
The coronavirus pandemic has also created challenges for Berlin’s vibrant civil society sphere; many of these organizations and initiatives have been forced to quickly switch to digital formats and digital modes of work in order to stay functional during the pandemic. Compounding this challenge is the fact that organizations that rely on volunteer engagement tend to have little by way of digital expertise, and they also have limited time and resources available to develop these skills. But the crisis also presents an opportunity: when implemented correctly, digitalization can unleash potential, open up access to new target groups, and improve the effectiveness of volunteer work.
In this project, we are dealing with the question of what a centralized, publicly-funded initiative to provide non-profit organizations access to open source software (for example, video conferencing or chat tools) could look like. Do digital public services of this nature have a future? What technical and non-technical needs does civil society have? And what could the provision of such infrastructure look like on the side of the provider?
The pilot phase of this project is being funded by the Berlin Senate Chancellery.
What are the next steps?
We are identifying the needs of our target groups through workshops and one-on-one interviews, and we’re also in constant communication with the various initiatives already active in this field. Based on our needs assessment, we want to publish a landing page with information about the project as well as begin to develop, test and evaluate the first service prototypes.
How can I participate?
Do you have experience with hosting relevant tools, or do you know of initiatives or materials relevant to this project? Or, do you yourself have a need this project could address, or you’d like to volunteer to partake in user testing? Feel free to contact us at any time.
Special thanks to MOTIF – Institute for digital Culture with whom we developed the Digital Vereint project.