Organizations where founders are at the bottom, universal ownership
It's healthy, especially for a startup nut like me, to consider other community formats besides the classic capitalistic new business. If you believe in an idea enough, the concept of creating financial capital with it fades off of the priority list. Sure, this is supposed to be at the core of altruistic non-profits, but they appear much more like corporate structures from the outside in the way they are managed. I'm more curious at what's left in the wake of the elephant of financial growth or personal greed vacating the room.
For the sake of communicating by example, I'll assume you have a personal goal that can be decoupled from cash. Here's one of mine: "I want the world to be able to communicate for free or at cost"*. This includes transparent translation. I believe this is something that will increase the wealth of the world, and that somehow this wealth will figure out a way to be self supporting (look out, I'm getting all value spiritual).
Let's start at my favorite first move from the origin of desire, taking stock. I begin with a critical evaluation of resources, and the most potent of all of them, human resources. I'm willing to contribute X hours of my life per week to seeing this vision happen. Now I can spend all that time researching methods for moving forward^, but a smarter way to jump start this idea is to combine research with marketing.
The trick to balancing effort is learning while networking with like minded folks. As much as Tyler has gotten me in the habit of RTFM, I still get fast results by asking questions and getting answers from willing sources (or reading Jorg's answers on Stack Overflow). I can find and reach out to other people who share the simple but big goal of free global communication. It's not helpful if I merely express interest in the goal, I have to take action by sharing my findings and initial test cases, and plan for moving forward. In order to be of any use to a cause, I have to be willing to get my hands dirty.
Another consideration is that I sense that this trend of free information sharing and communication is inevitable. If this is this case why bother to help it along? There are advantages to this happening sooner than later. There are numerous beneficial social outcomes that will result from free global communication in the next decade: instant elections, improved cultural understanding, identifying the root of military conflicts are all possible with unrestricted communication.
There will have to be a distributed form of moderation, imagine the SPAM!
*= The end goal is more important than my personal income, or pride so I don't care about how much this goal is going to pay out or me, I just don't want it to lead to poverty for me or my soon to be wife ;).
^= there are already free translation and voip services. Now we need free global Net access. Ad hoc network routing is a hard problem, but not unsolvable - if napster and torrents can do it with software, so can wireless routers with hardware and packets, maybe...