Non-profit Organizations and Politics

The article I examined looked into the internet and how it impacts the democratic process. The article is interested in investigating about what if any impact the internet has had on non-profit organizations and the way they focus and think when it comes to their organizations. The research stems from the fact that although the internet is a social tool it has not really been utilized when it comes to political and social change.

The research investigated a wide variety of different non-profit organization from the United States. The researcher looked at both creators of non-profit organizations content and people associated with the non-profit organizations. The results found that 90.7% of non-profit organization were online and had their own website. The results also found that online non-profit’s creators stated their main reason for going online was to educate their members and not promote them, which is usually thought to be the main reason why organizations go online.  However, when the research looked into the members in these different organizations it was surprising to find that the members rarely went online for research or to even visit the websites on a regular basis. So, there is a definite disconnect from the people creating the content and the people actually utilizing the content.

This article was related to this week’s readings because both articles addressed how people interact with the internet when it comes to politics. This entire article was addressing the way in which organization create their content and why they do and how people react to the content put out by these organizations. I think this article did a really good job addressing how politics have not yet really begun playing a dominate role when it comes to the internet. But, they are continuing to play a larger and larger role on the internet and their impact in the future could be big. As long as organizations and members get on the same page and have the same agenda’s.

Kenix, LJ. (2008). The internet as a tool for democracy? a survey of non-profit internet decision-makers and web users. First Monday, 13(7), 1. http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2124/1984

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Posted on August 8, 2011, in Discussion Leader. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Because of the nature of the works that i do (journalist), i found your presentation topic really inspiring as I am constantly involved with NGO. NGO is very important for this country. They are doing work that’s needed to be done which other organizations found it non-profitable. It’s definitely a good news that many of them are going online to get more publicity yet like you mentioned in your presentation, they need to put their online websites at the forefront. In my experiences, whenever i went out to interview any NGO , i would do research to figure out what the organization is about. If they don’t keep people like me updated on what they are doing with their organization , it is very possible that i would put wrong or outdated information to the public.

  2. This is an interesting topic that I have never really thought about before. In my personal experience, some of the non-profit organizations websites are poorly designed and hard to navigate and just don’t look very professional so that could possibly be a reason why people don’t use them? It is too bad that members don’t visit the websites, maybe if they were more interactive they would? I didn’t see you presentation so maybe you explained why but I’d be interested in learning why there is a big disconnect between members and the organization’s website. I feel like maybe one of the reasons their websites aren’t as easy to navigate or professionally done is because they don’t want to spend their money on the website and would rather spend it on helping their cause which is understandable.

  3. The disconnect between a non-profit and their website could very well be because of time and money constraints. Or, just the simple dilemma of not having anyone on board with the organization that knows anything about how to create a great website. I agree with Amy that a lot of websites can look a little unprofessional or difficult to navigate. Some websites, even for profit companies, have websites so detailed that there is an information overload and you can get lost in them.

    I do however think having these websites up is very important to these organizations. Just because you don’t have an interactive participant (when it comes to your website) doesn’t mean you aren’t getting their attention or support. These websites can be a great place for people to visit and get up to speed on that organization and the politics going on. There are many sites I visit, but never interact with. But, the sites that strive for interaction usually do get some better results than sites that don’t.

  4. I wish i saw this presentation. I volunteer for a non-profit newspaper and i agree a lot with what has been said. Our website looks unprofessional and is difficult to use. But i think the main purpose of the website is for information. We would love for people to become more educated with Japanese-American issues, so we put a lot of content online. Another main purpose is fundraising. Non-profits need a lot of donations to survive, so they use any way they can to gain some money.

  5. Your presentation really interested me because it is kind of an unfamiliar topic to me.The internet began and has continued to be a type of “free arena” where users typically don’t have to pay to use a website and in that sense it seems like this would be a great opportunity for non-profit organizations. Not only does it allow them to do a type of “free advertising” but it also allows them to educate their members and others interested like you said before. However if these websites are not constructed in a way that is simple and straightforward for users, it will not be effective.

    The importance of simplicity with websites online has manifest itself multiple times over the years as companies have attempted to launch a new social network or even advertisements which have been unsuccessful. If these non-profit organizations really want to reach their members and potential members they should definitely make sure their websites are easy to follow and in a format that most users will be familiar with.

    It seems like the problem, as mentioned above, is that most non-profit organizations don’t have money to spend on designing websites and as a result their sites tend to be less professional. However as nonprofit organizations expand and the “digital native” generation gets older this problem will hopefully be eliminated as the average person will be more capable of constructing effective websites.

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