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Social Ecology to close as ASP to non-profits

Social Ecology, the pioneering American application service provider (ASP) set up four years ago by non-profit technology expert Michael Gilbert, will stop providing its technology services this Summer.

Social Ecology offered a range of valuable technology tools for non-profits, all of them delivered via the Web as ASPs. DonorLink, CMS and InWeb were all designed exclusively for non-profits.

DonorLink is a relationship management tool, that enabled many non-profits to send their first e-mail newsletters, personalised e-mail correspondence, and to run surveys. CMS is a content management system that could be integrated easily with DonorLink. InWeb is an Intranet-style knowledge management system offering access controls, cataloging, notification, news, and peer-to-peer communication between organisations.

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Social Ecology was one of the few companies serving non-profits founded before the Dot Com boom and it survived the ensuing crash. Founder Michael Gilbert had a passionate vision of accountability to the sector: as such, he claims that it was the
only company whose shareholders included many non-profit organizations.

“It’s a sad but familiar story,” said Gilbert. “We were unable to finance the
growth we experienced in the last two years. I’m just glad there are some good providers still out there.”

Social Ecology successfully went head to head with competitors that had ten times its
marketing capital. At the same time, it pushed the field forward with features that have yet to be emulated by others and was often described as the company most committed to interoperability and, as Gilbert would say, “playing well with others.”

UK Fundraising’s Howard Lake said: “The withdrawal of Social Ecology as an ASP is indeed very sad. The company stood out from its larger competitors because it combined an awareness of the potential of Internet technology for non-profits with an practical and genuine understanding of the needs of the non-profit sector.” He added: “It put its money where its mouth was by giving shares to non-profits, and Michael Gilbert should be congratulated for all he achieved with Social Ecology.”

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