Hey, ! I'm doing some research on the uses of Federated software by non-governmental organizations. I'm curious to see if NGOs use federated tools (especially Mastodon, but any fedi tools) to organize outside of corporate systems (e.g., Google, FB).

If you have tips, please send them my way! DMs are fine, and I will not publish names outside this space without consent.

Boosts appreciatd.


Obviously, I am also interested in understanding the #fediverse better. I am keen to learn from your results. Please keep us informed. 😃

I was thinking political parties are NGOs, but there is apparently some dispute:
"political parties and trade unions are sometimes considered NGOs as well."



It seems to be like always what do people consider to be the meaning of words. (Speaking as a wanna-be ontologist).

@robertwgehl has some working definition for his research, but if we would *always* communicate our definitions explicitly, communication would become quite cumbersome.

Actually I wanted to include universities and research institutions which have rolled out the federated matrix chat but then I thought, that this is probably not the right kind of NGO.

@cark I guess I would not include universities in the term NGOs because they are not activists.

Universities would surely be included in the Dutch term "societal middle region".

This includes everything that is not under direct governmental control (although they may provide governmental services, like setting and checking norms) and not profit oriented.

Even Dutch Conservatives like decentralizing power and prefer them doing stuff over the government.


@robertwgehl owncloud or nextcloud are very useful to share documents. Your NGO could provide an instance but your members can choose to use their own because folder sharing is federated

@robertwgehl here's a German-language document on a related subject. It notes some significant uses of Matrix.

In France, there are multiple NGOs using Fediverse or other AP-based tools like Mobilizon.
Many people also use nextcloud, which is
somewhat federated.
In particular environmental and social activists such as XR or Attac and of course all the FLOSS-related associations.

@robertwgehl I'm not sure if I understand your question correctly.. Are you collecting names of NGOs which use the Fediverse (There are quite a few!)? Or do you want to talk to NGOs who maintain Fediverse accounts and learn how they use them? Or something else...?

(btw: I already saw an article of yours in my literature research about the Fediverse! 😃 )

@firefly Hi, Becca, thanks for asking a clarifying question.

I'm interested in NGOs who rely on the fediverse to get organized and communicate. So more than just having an account -- maybe running their own instance.

I'm part of a team looking to write guides for NGOs who are considering using Mastodon et al in lieu of corporate social media.

@robertwgehl @firefly

Can you define what "Get organized and communicate" means?

Is it microblogging?
Picture sharing?
Video sharing?
Something else?

@emacsen @firefly

that's a good question!

actually... I can't! 😁 That's what I'm interested in finding out. I hope to find NGOs who use federated services to (as organizational comm scholars put it) communicatively constitute themselves. But what that looks like exactly I don't know if I can anticipate.

@robertwgehl @firefly

I think asking ngos to run their own instances may be asking too much. On Twitter, Instagram, etc. no one has to install and maintain software- so why can't they just be expected to do the same on the fediverse (vs make a big commitment for a small audience)?

@emacsen @firefly

Yes, this is exactly our concern. If we create a guide, should it be a) a guide to how to join the fediverse (much like you'd set up an FB group) or b) a guide to running your own instance, or c) something else (e.g., maybe a partnership between multiple allied groups).

In any case, can the benefits (e.g., data sovereignty) outweigh the costs of switching?

So one move is research into existing uses; another is workshops we will run with potential fedi-using NGOs.

@robertwgehl @firefly

I'd say that any such guide should with things like stats on the Fediverse, the growth of the Fediverse, etc.

Then find a sort of split "Signing up" vs "Running your own" and I might even say "Like your own email".

I also think there is a place for an org like I used to work for where we would help organizations run their own websites back in the 90s because it was too complicated for them to do on their own.

@emacsen @firefly Right! This is exactly what we're doing. My job is to see who's already offering such help and learn from them. (And you're right -- it reminds me of the 90s, as well, which is a good thing to me)

@robertwgehl there was an instance handled by French institution @etalab but it was to be dismantled…

If not nessesarry tief to fediverse, you might consider tech collectives AS hosts for services oft NGOS? For example vor, both located in #rostock

@blub Yes, this is what we're thinking about. I wonder if the end result is that we (the other academics and I) might become a sort of tech collective with the goal of helping other NGOs get away from corporate media.

But who I'm missing is Oxfam, the dutch greenleft and Bij1, Naomi Klein, Jason Hickel, Georgios Kallis, etc. I would like them to join very much...

@robertwgehl There may be much more missing in the Fediverse so If you would like to use a chatroom to discuss this, the Small Engineering Initiative is happy to host it, that would also be the real beta test for this SW.!?NGO-federation

@robertwgehl my team at working Terraso are keeping federation in mind as we build. At the moment we don't need any social features, but at some point we may.

@robertwgehl Quantum Indigo which is the world's first decentralised media arts collective has it's own Mastodon instance to organize outside of corporate systems.

@robertwgehl We are not for profit, although we're still working on the legals for the NGO part.

We're currently working on a pro-Open Society comic called the Legacy of Runa.

It includes some video music and SFX from some of the members of our team.

@robertwgehl For collaboration between team members we're trying to be 100% FOSS with Mastodon, Nextcloud. In the future we'll add Matrix/Element as well.

@robertwgehl hey. When I worked at @OCCRP I got them to have an account on fedi. the social media person was even tasked with updating it. Once I and that social media person left, the account went dormant sadly.

@rysiek @OCCRP This is always a big issue. The gravitational pull of corporate media is so strong, and so if anyone who resists it leaves an org, corporate media will just pull the org back in.

@robertwgehl so @OCCRP didn't even leave the major platforms, they just opened up a channel here. Even just keeping that alive turned out too much.

People are conditioned to only believe in Big Tech. 🤷‍♀️

@robertwgehl yes @adullact does :) We are a French non-profit fostering creation of Free/libre open source software in local authorities. BTW we closed our Facebook page in 2019 (in French )

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