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Social Ecology folding

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By Todd Cohen

Social Ecology, a four-year-old Seattle-based company that leases Web-based relationship-management tools to nonprofits, is shutting down this summer.

While the company tripled its customers over the past year, revenue alone was not enough to pay off debt it borrowed in early 2001, and it had a tough time raising money in the soft economy, says Michael Gilbert, its CEO and founder.

He says the company is talking to its competitors and consultants about options for its several hundred customers.     

The company had 23 full-time and part-time employees in early 2001, when it pared its staff to 11 people.

Social Ecology improved its products over the past year, Gilbert says, but its lack of funds resulted in “impaired” service quality at its data center.

“As a small underfinanced company, I don’t think we did a great job,” he says.

Gilbert says he hopes to devote more time to the Gilbert Center, a nonprofit incubator and research group that spawned Social Ecology and will begin publishing a series of handbooks, in PDF format, on nonprofit communications, particularly online publishing.

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