Information sharing in a nonprofit network

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Stoll, Jennifer
Edwards, W. Keith
Mynatt, Elizabeth D.
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The civil rights and other social justice movements, such as the fight against child sex trafficking are examples of an informal context where information and communications technologies (ICTs) have been actively applied in hopes of furthering social justice causes. But while we see that informally organized, grassroots groups have shown considerable interest in ICTs, the actual effectiveness of ICTs for these groups remains largely unknown. This is particularly so when combining both the complexity of the technology landscape and large grassroots interorganizational networks. Given the enormous challenge of social justice issues, there are pressing needs that go beyond connecting more just individuals to help nonprofits. A central need of nonprofit social justice organizations is the connection and coordination of many different groups into interorganizational networks (or groups of groups). In my research, I conducted an in-depth qualitative study of such a network engaged in fighting child sex trafficking. In doing so, I have identified some of the challenges of information sharing and coordination in this context. I gained insight into their information sharing needs and practices for connecting within an interorganizational network. I also conducted a design exploration by building a technology intervention to understand how ICTs can better accommodate the interorganizational needs of information sharing for connecting. My research findings point towards an initial framework in understanding information sharing technologies for informal interorganizational networks.
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