I’ve just asked Gabi about her dog Blue, who, during the course of our conversation has become very very concerned about its own tail. There’s been barking, jumping, moving around—dog things. Things I don’t understand.
It’s all stuff Gabi’s OK spending time on—in fact, she and her friend Lisa started a non-profit business several years ago out of their homes called IssueLab. Their entire mission is to explore the kinds of things I don’t understand.
We essentially archive research done by other non-profits, she tells me. That includes all kinds of things: community ethnographies, large-scale survey reports, longitudinal studies. There’s an enormous amount of research produced by non-profits every year, but there’s no publishing system for it, no way that it gets archived. It doesn’t get cataloged by the Library of Congress, there’s no journal system. Grant makers who fund the work don’t actually hold the work or archive it.
What this means is: social service organizations and other non-profits are forced to waste financial and human resources either hunting down or re-conducting research with every new program.