As a non-profit or non-governmental organization (NGO), you play a critical role both in your local community and globally as a member of civil society. Playing that role online as well as offline is essential to an organization’s sustainability and effectiveness. While the Internet offers connectivity, access and visibility for all users, it is also creating an online “public square” where individuals, civil society, industry and governments can engage and move society forward. Civil society and non-profits/NGOs in particular must have access to this digital space and be able to participate fully and effectively in it.

In many environments, the Internet offers a bounty of opportunity for communication, assembly and cooperation. NGOs and civil society members have begun to use the Internet to create online and offline activism and to advocate for social change. Some NGOs use the Internet to present their mission and work to the online public with the aim of attracting supporters in the form of volunteers or donors. We have entered an age where a large number of organizations gain their funding over online networks, funding that may be significant and can that create a basis for sustainability. In some countries, a well formed Internet presence can be the solution for many of an NGO’s goals.

Many governments around the world, however, are applying increasing pressure against NGOs. Increasingly, governments and industry players have the resources and technical capabilities to shape the Internet in ways that marginalize NGOs and civil society: in addition to well publicized attempts to restrict speech on the Internet, some governments are prohibiting the acceptance of foreign donations even while online donations are increasing year over year in much of the world. Furthermore, NGOs have been the targets of malicious online attacks and surveillance by some governments and various opponents. In many ways, we are witnessing a closing of civil society’s online space and NGOs are some of the first victims

Since the Internet is the global online public space, your understanding of how to effectively use it and create your NGO’s custom online presence is fundamental to ensuring full and effective participation online. Importantly, NGOs must understand how to effectively present themselves, their respective missions and how to connect with like-minded organizations, donors and communities of support around the world. NGOs must also identify their vulnerabilities and how to guard against threats to their online presence.

To equip NGOs with the necessary tools to create an effective online presence and to secure a digital space uniquely for NGOs, Public Interest Registry (PIR) offers this online toolkit to non-governmental organizations. The NGO Online Toolkit is a useful and practical guide for NGOs that provides tools and resources to help NGOs effectively claim their online space. In doing so, NGOs will be able to engage with their communities to garner support for their missions and develop their sustainability.

The NGO Online Toolkit addresses the following:

  1. Getting online
  2. Creating an identity
  3. Making an impact
  4. Securing online activity
  5. Using the Internet ethically
  6. Fundraising effectively

The NGO Online Toolkit provides a background of each element and offers resources to assist NGOs in gaining access to the tools they need. The resources have been identified in collaboration with NGO users and are accessible in the public domain. They are intended to be a reference point and not necessarily an endorsement of any particular service provider or tool.

New resources will be added regularly, so come back often as your presence on the network increases. And please let us know of any information you would like to see added.

If you have a few minutes to review the NGO Online Toolkit, please fill out our brief survey. Be honest! We appreciate any and all feedback to help make this site a reliable and trusted resource for all NGOs.

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