Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 31 seconds

What is Internet Activism?

Nonprofit organizations are notorious for being behind on technology and changes in online communication methods. Between limited finances and staff that are already spread pretty thin, it seems as though many methods of communicating and providing information remain somewhat stagnant.

Internet activism is a way for nonprofits to change these attitudes and embrace the technological options available to them. It is basically the antidote to the tried-and-true methods of fundraising, lobbying, and garnering support. It involves using online resources, websites, blogs, donation portals, and email to generate interest in the organization.

There is some controversy over internet activism to date, since much of it relates to insurgent and political groups. The typical internet audience is pretty young in age, so it is easier to build a following of eager, if not always educated, followers. Charismatic leaders can reach a wide audience unaccustomed to doing research regarding where and how their funding and support are going.

However, there are a number of benefits to internet activism for smaller organizations looking to increase their visibility:
  • Podcasts, blogs, and online press release venues are significantly cheaper than print media.
  • It is easier to reach a global audience. Traditional communication media is focused on a narrow group of interested parties; internet communication opens an organization to worldwide attention.
  • Fundraising can occur with the click of a button. Payments made through the internet are increasing in popularity in almost every field, including the nonprofit sector. Instead of focusing on big-ticket donors, smaller donations can add up quickly and with little effort.

Internet activism isn't a full-proof solution. Many audiences (typically the elderly and lower socioeconomic groups) don't have equal access to internet sources, and internet activism is fairly limited in the demographic it reaches. However, when used in conjunction with traditional communication methods, nonprofit organizations have much to gain.
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