That government take the lead in licensing some of their own public content with Creative Commons licenses, share the process and challenges of doing this and encourage/assist nonprofits to do the same.
WHY THE IDEA?
From my experience at small nonprofits and in local government, staff were often wondering "what other people were doing" in their area, including
- plans and strategies
- community programs
- educational brochures and factsheets
- website content
- images, graphic design, flyers
- brainstorming (like here!) and visions for the future
The way they found out was through existing networks (usually confined to that local city and that particular sector eg arts, health), conferences, meetings and the web.
After finding what you wanted, the next question was "Hey, that's good, can we use that too?"
Sometimes people contacted them and asked, sometimes they didn't, and sometimes they took little bits and changed things round so it wasn't recognisable.
A website I am redeveloping about young people's relationships is hoping to borrow (and credit) great existing online content, text and images, made by other nonprofits, but there's no easy way to do this, other than write to them all individually and ask, unless they've used tools like Flickr or YouTube that clearly state the intended use.
One nonprofit in the US that I contacted was in the process of licensing ALL THEIR CONTENT into Creative Commons content, including some with a "payment attribution" license attached, but this one small org is the only one I found attempting to remodel the way they control and share their information resources.
WHY DO IT?
When local governments or nonprofits share a common goal, and may not have the money or time to employ experts to develop content or programs or strategies, the ability to easily see and use other people's ideas and content appropriately and with proper acknowledgement would make a big difference.
It could improve the quality of content overall, improve citizens access to government information through easier online searching, and connect nonprofits and their audience with other likeminded nonprofits and their audiences and users - everybody wins!
Finally, of course many nonprofits do compete with each other for people's donations, grants, attention, volunteering time, and may not want to lose contro of content they have worked hard on or paid lots of money for - but firstly, you'd be surprised, and secondly, from my experience there and from what I see online, there is still a huge willingness to support each other that does not really exist in the for-profit world...
GOVT 2.0 and CREATIVE COMMONS
I am still a bit fuzzy as to goverment's role in this, so please add your own ideas and thoughts...
I've heard the Qld government considered CC licenses, and I see that of the ideas posted here related to govt and CC licensing issues too. Maybe the goverment using CC licenses themselves is not an essential part of this idea, but that they could encourage and facilitate nonprofits to consider and possibly implement the CC model...