Podcamp Boston #4 is coming this weekend. It’s an “unconference” which means that anybody can give a session. If you need proof, look no further than the fact that they’re letting me present. I’m doing a discussion session with the estimable Gradon Tripp called, “Are you a Gates or Buffett?“on Saturday at 4pm in the ballroom.
The somewhat cryptic title used to have a clarifying subtitle but the podcamperati truncated it, so let me explain a little. Gradon and I were pondering why so many people seem to want to start their own nonprofit organizations for causes that already have lots of existing NPOs. (There are over 1.7 million NPOs in the USA) There seems to be a real divide between people wanting to build their own social change solution and those who want to channel their energies (or monies, or both) into supporting existing social change solutions. Sort of a build vs buy discussion like we get in tech companies all the time.
The framing device of Gates and Buffett refers to the two billionaires’ approaches to charitable foundations. Gates used his massive wealth to create a new one, and Buffett decided to simply add his massive wealth to Gates‘ rather than establish another whole new foundation. Both commendable acts, to be sure, but which model prevails for regular folks trying to figure out how to use their own meager resources for good?
In our podcamp session, we’ll kick that ball around, focusing on how social media can make those meager resources go a long way and how social technologies can mitigate the advantage previously held by incumbent organizations. In keeping with the podcamp ethos, we’re not going to script or structure things too much, but I expect that there will be talk of Twestival, Uncharitable, Facebook Causes, Lance Armstrong, the Staley Foundation, and whatever else the crowd brings. I hope you’ll join us.