Saturday, August 10, 2002

non profits and the internet

First Monday has an essay called The Potential of the Internet for Non Profit Organizations that is worth reading if you are involved in such a group, or if you have web skills that might help a non profit organization, and you are interested in volunteering the use of some of those skills.
Non-profits can draw on the experiences of other organizations and consider online volunteer management, discussion forums, information-rich Web sites, innovative fund-raising, online advocacy and tailored information distribution, to develop an Internet strategy that reflects their needs and resources.

The process requires an understanding of the organization's overall aims and objectives, the target audiences and the needs and focus of the interest or 'stakeholders' in the organization. The Internet offers new and powerful ways to communicate with this supporter community, other organizations and the public at large. However, it is important that the strategy not only focuses on the goals of the organization but also on its biggest asset - their community of members, volunteers and donors.
So, for instance, if one of my favorite local non profit organizations wanted to take better advantage of the internet, they should look such things as a message forum for volunteers, web cams for some of their flight cages, a blog that lists daily going ons at their facility, and a way to communicate some of their findings with others who research wildlife.