OPX To Launch

April 1, 2001       Todd Cohen      

The charitable world is poised to join the ranks of roughly 300 other vertical markets that have established industry-wide open standards for online transactions.

Set for release April 30, version one of the new OPX standard is designed to seamlessly link online fundraising data with software that manages donor data and relationships. OPX is the product of the Open Philanthropy Exchange, a consortium of 30 nonprofits and e-philanthropy firms that have worked together to establish a standard based on programming codes developed last year by software vendors.

Version 1, which anyone can download for free, uses Extensible Markup Language, or xml, which lets different computers, software and Web sites share data and talk to one another without having to use the same language or applications.

Currently, industries ranging from travel to financial services have adopted open standards to ease the transfer of data between and among any parties in that industry subscribing to the standards.

OPX, at www.opxinfo.net, is designed to save time and money that users otherwise might spend trying to integrate different software products, such as those for receiving online donations with those for managing donor data, said Paulette Maehara, chairman of the OPX Forum and president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, formerly the National Society of Fund Raising Professionals, in Alexandria, Va.

Shaun Sullivan, chief technology officer at software vendor Blackbaud and a co-author of the draft OPX standard, said the main use of version 1 probably will be the transfer of Web-based online fundraising data to computer-based donor software. Future versions, he said, would boost broader integration of systems, whether Web-based or not, such as the simple exchange of data on computer discs between organizations using different software programs.

Web use, gap grow

More Americans are going online — particularly women, minorities and people earning $30,000 to $50,000 a year. But, income and age still are barriers to Web use, a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported.

The number of Americans with Internet access grew from 88 million in June to more than 104 million at the end of the year – including more than 30 million under age 18, or 45 percent of America’s children.

Eighty-two percent of those in households with more than $75,000 in income have Internet access, compared to 38 percent of those in households earning less than $30,000. In the spring, only 28 percent of those lower-income households were online.

Tracking volunteers

A free new tool is available online to help groups throughout the world conduct surveys assessing national, regional and local volunteer activity. “Measuring Volunteering: A Practical Toolkit,” developed by a partnership including Independent Sector, United Nations Volunteers and 10 other countries, is available online at www.grantsnet.org.

Tech notes

OMB Watch in Washington, D.C., is developing an Online Policy Resource Center, a Web site that will let visitors use email and the Web to communicate with decision-makers in government and the media. The site also will include resources and news about nonprofit policy issues…

Succeeding as a dot-org will be the focus of the 3rd Annual Silicon Valley Conference on Nonprofits and Technology on May 8 and 9 in San Jose, Calif. The conference is sponsored by The NetPoint Center for Nonprofits and Technology, a joint project of HandsNet and CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, two Bay Area groups…

The Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network appointed Edward Batista, former associate director of Compass Community Services in San Francisco, as its first executive director. NTEN, which will be based in San Francisco, supports groups and individuals providing tech assistance to nonprofits…

Reliacom Community Services, which provides tech help to nonprofits in Washington, D.C., has changed its name to Community IT Innovators and spun itself off from Reliacom Inc. in Falls Church, Va. …

The Colorado Technology Community Foundation and Technology for All Colorado have teamed up to encourage companies to donate used computers to tech learning labs in poor communities…

The California Arts Council and California Culture Net have launched www.culturevista.org, a guide to arts events and cultural resources throughout the state. The site features 2,200 links to arts groups, and aims to add 900 more…

The Fannie Mae Foundation has revamped its Web site at www.fanniemaefoundation.org. The site features information on grants and leadership programs, home-buying and affordable housing and community development …

The National Parks Conservation Association has launched a feature on its Web site at www.eparks.org that lets visitors find out how their Senate and House members voted on protecting national parks. Visitors can use the site to send email messages to their representatives…

Chief information officers and information resource managers for the federal government believe CIOs as a group lack the clout and resources they need to make online government a reality, says a survey by the Information Technology Association of America…

Inside Corporate Philanthropy, a monthly online newsletter focusing on corporate community involvement, has been launched by Changingourworld at www.changingworld.com …

Hewlett-Packard Co. is investing $5 million each in products, services, consulting and venture capital over three years in the Southern California Tribal Community and East Baltimore’s Empowerment Zone…

GrantsNet, a Web site at www.grantsnet.org that features information on grants and fellowships for young biomedical researchers, has added a database geared to professors and administrators wanting to provide undergraduates with research experience…

The Comprehensive Health Education Foundation, a health education curriculum publisher in Seattle, has launched E-fulfillment.org, an online service to help groups process and fulfill orders.

Todd Cohen is editor and publisher of Nonprofitxpress, an online newspaper at www.npxpress.com. He can be reached at tcohen@ajf.org

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