Information has value, and foundations are often positioned to gather great amounts of it. The importance of sharing information is a topic we discuss frequently here at Rasmuson Foundation. This week, Rasmuson staff will be scattered across the country attending a number of information-rich philanthropy meetings where discussions will range from topics such as the role of philanthropy in civil society, how the economy is challenging foundations, and ways to use new communication tools to convene discussion and build engagement around issues, just to name a few.

These types of professional conferences have always provided a platform to share insights about the work underway in Alaska, to learn from grantmaking peers, and to bring new ideas back for discussion with our Alaska partners. And we look forward to these events – the annual gatherings of Philanthropy Northwest, Neighborhood Funders Group and Communications Network – because they feature expert speakers, inspiring case studies, and useful takeaways to improve our work.

This year, staff will be experimenting with social communication tools to extend the information we are gathering in near real-time with our tweeps – or people who follow @rasmuson on Twitter.

Here are the details:

Jeff Clarke, Jordan Marshall, Jayson Smart and Aleesha Towns-Bain will be in Blaine, WA, attending the annual conference of Philanthropy Northwest. The conference theme is “The Power of Place,” and sessions will explore how philanthropy can strengthen communities from the bottom up by forming true partnerships with grantees, policymakers and organizations. Their tweets will feature the hashtag #pnwac10.

Chris Perez will be in Minneapolis attending the annual conference of Neighborhood Funders Group, which has assembled an agenda to explore philanthropy’s potential to affect positive social change and build communities where people want to live. He will be tweeting with the #NFC2010 hashtag.

Cassandra Stalzer will be attending the gathering of foundation communicators in Los Angeles. The group, Communications Network, will explore “Big Ideas that Matter” to philanthropy communicators including crowd sourcing, storytelling, and network weaving. She will be tweeting with the #comnet010 hashtag.

Let us know what you think. Do you use Twitter for listening or information gathering? Is there value in using Twitter to learn about grantmaking and philanthropy? Please feel free to comment here on the blog, or respond via @rasmuson.