Non-profit organisations and the Internet


  • Martin Johnson



The Internet is the fastest growing communications medium in the world. While some individuals and companies have been quick to capitalise on this medium, non-profit organisations have been slower on the uptake. However with a decline in the level of donations from traditional donors who are aging and a shift by their children away from their parent's spirit of philanthropy, the Internet may offer non-profits a way of reaching new donors. Worldwide, Internet users have above-average incomes, good jobs and are aged between 21 and 45 years of age. It is this age group that non-profit organisations identify as being the donors of the future. Traditional means of fund-raising appear not to be as effective in soliciting donations from this group. Non-profit organisations worldwide are also looking to the Internet as another way of communicating with their donors. This paper looks at how non-profits worldwide are using the Internet and then by means of an online survey, seeks to determine what issues Internet users identify as being of concern when asked about making online donations. Visitors to a non-profit Internet site were asked to identify the issue or issues that would be of concern if asked to make an online donation with 'credit card security' and 'privacy of provided information' as two key issues. Provided these concerns are answered, the survey found that 65 percent of visitors to the site would be willing to make a donation online. In addition, those aged between 19 and 45 and who had used the Internet for between two and three years were more likely to make a donation. The survey also found that concerns about 'where the money goes' and the efficiency of the organisation, identified by respondents were similar to concerns expressed by donors to non-profits through traditional means.




How to Cite

Johnson, M. (1999). Non-profit organisations and the Internet. First Monday, 4(2).