A Case for Philanthropic Informatics
In this chapter, I argue that a focus on the design of information technologies for nonprofit organizations—or any institutional form for that matter—is too narrow a focus to support the full breadth of philanthropic activity and the full diversity of stakeholders in this domain. Instead, I challenge the research community to take up a more holistic unit of analysis, one that engages in the study and design of information and communication technologies to support any philanthropic work that is being done, in whatever context or contexts that might be. I draw from examples of previous research to make three related cases for why philanthropic informatics is a more fruitful and compelling perspective: nonprofit organizations are shapeshifters, nonprofit organizations have ill-defined boundaries, and organizational genres are increasingly blurred. From each case, I draw implications for the sociotechnical study of philanthropic work.
KeywordsNonprofit Organization Nonprofit Sector Outreach Worker Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Philanthropic Activity
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