January 23, 2011; Source: MetroTrends | Sandi Scannelli, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Brevard, wanted to bring the nonprofit community together in her Florida county.

“There are so many public charities in the county,” Scannelli told the Brevard Business News, but there was “no clearinghouse that brings all the information together.”

Or so she thought until she heard of a new tool from National Center for Charitable Statistics, the NCCS Community Platform.

The NCCS Community Platform is a Web-based instrument that combines public data on nonprofits and open technology to help communities and nonprofit organizations work together more effectively.

The Community Foundation adopted the platform and developed ConnectBrevard.org, which Scannelli says is “designed for people who want to volunteer, individuals who want to contribute resources, including people and dollars, into a cause or organization that is aligned with their community priorities.”

The NCSS Community Platform is now being deployed in ten states; in Connecticut, for example, it has been used to form the Connecticut Data Collaborative, a “central portal where all Connecticut organizations and residents can access a wide range of data from federal, state, local, and private sources relating to the health, well-being, and economy of the residents of the state of Connecticut.”

This Web-based platform can help communities, governments, and nonprofits adjust to the new climate of austerity. Funders that demand greater efficiency and outcomes can help nonprofits—and ultimately those being served—by supporting the use of such tools.– Erwin de Leon