Mark Walker, Communications
Officer for PACT Community Projects in Sussex, investigated the costs
of getting online for his organisation. This article was written in
Every charity, whether small, medium or large, has a variety of demands on its resources. We don't have large sums of money to invest in new ideas, but we can look at ways of building our expertise in a progressive and affordable way. Developing the use of Internet is no different - it requires a planned approach, with realistic goals and regular review against the benefits to be gained.
Suggested starting point
An average spend might be:
Adopting the Internet requires an organisation to consider a variety of costs, and to assess the potential benefits against these costs.
As a bottom line, if you already have a computer the minimum cost of setting up is about £200, with on-going costs of around £250 - 300 per annum.
You will also need to consider the time needed to develop the work - whether paid or unpaid - and the training needs of other staff. In the long term this may require additional staff time.
Not everyone can afford it, but a larger organisation could consider could be looking at initial costs of around £2,500, and on-going costs in the order of £ 25,000 - 30,000 per annum. This would include dedicated staff time and support costs as new services and uses develop.
In either case the money could be found by savings in phone calls, postage and free information currently paid for, or raised as a lump sum as a fund-raising task.
This is, by necessity, a limited view of what is a rapidly changing situation. Until telephone calls are free and Internet accounts supplied free (don't hold your breath) there will be recurring costs, and these will continue to be barriers for many individuals and organisations.
What use is the Internet? by Mark Walker