Nonprofits and the Net

By Burstyn, Gerald | Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fall 2004 | Go to article overview

Nonprofits and the Net


Burstyn, Gerald, Stanford Social Innovation Review


MARKETING

Tight budgets and a lack of technical knowhow are keeping nonprofits off the Web

Barely 10 years into the Internet revolution, it is hard to imagine living without the World Wide Web. The medium today is used by an estimated half billion people around the world for commerce, entertainment, information gathering, and a multitude of other activities.

So it would be logical to assume that nonprofits have mastered the technology, especially in the United States, where an estimated 149 million people use the Internet, right?

Not according to a study published last spring in the Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing. An analysis of 1,000 nonprofit organizations by researchers at the Rutgers Business School found that only 27 percent of nonprofit organizations sampled had established a Web site - and that less than 10 percent of those used their sites for sales or other commercial activities. Instead, most used the Web to disseminate information, draw interest in organizational programming, and raise funds.

In their article, "Nonprofit Web Sites: Prevalence, Usage, and Commercial Activity," authors Howard Tuckman, Patrali Chatterjee, and David Muha noted that nonprofit development of Web sites depends on type of mission, as well as wealth. The researchers examined 500 nonprofit organizations selected at random and an additional 500 culled from five mission-driven categories: conservation, cultural, religious, civil rights, and science and technology. …

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