Going online

Demonstrating the benefits

Starting Out For more detailed information on a topic, click on the adjacent question mark

These pages - first developed early in 1997 - contain links to sites which show the main benefits for non profit organisations in getting connected to the Internet. You can read more about the benefits or dive straight in to the links below on Information, Communication, Collaboration, Visibility.

We have done some updates, and for more recent information see our current project Making the Net Work. Thanks to Peter Mason of Sussex Community Internet Project for research.


The Internet, and particularly the world wide web, offers a vast resource of information.

Local Information
There are already many local initiatives up and running, providing gateways for local information. See the
Newnet datamap and the National Inventory Project on-line databases give fuller listings.

Local Authorities provide local information and often work in partnership with local communities, such as the Brixton Online model. 

National and International Content
Many sites provide
About Gatewaysgateways to sources of information for community development agencies, including this one.

Central Government's UK online programme aims to get all services online by 2005. The Charity Commission and HM Stationary Office both give quick access to useful documents.

Searching the Internet About Searching
Search engines, usually either databases or directories, attempt to organise the content of the web

Fundraising About Fundraising
The internet can provide new opportunities for fundraising. SCIP links to a range
articles and organisations

Enhancing Democracy
Brent and Lewisham Councils have both been experimenting with ways in which increased participation and discussion can enhance the democratic process. 
Hansard is searchable online giving the daily debates from the house of Commons

Some projects are also developing resources  - toolkits for using the technology to make a difference.
WREN Telecottage offers a blueprint for
Community Resource Centres


How we can connect and communicate - using the medium for one-to-one and one-to-many communication.

One-to-one communication, using email About email is probably the most useful part of the Internet. Send us an email (and let us know what you think of these pages!)

One-to-Many information dissemination may be effected using mailing lists About Mailing Lists, usually for specific interest groups. Partnerships Online has a number of associated lists. Or why not create your own for free at

File sharing, using FTP sites About FTP is a way of making libraries or working documents available to other people. For example, most Internet software is freely available on ftp "sites"

The World Wide Web About the WWW can also be used, of course. Guestbooks and Forums offer a form of interactive web pages. See Brighton Guestbook for an example

Newsgroups About Newsgroups are another way of posting messages to interest groups of subscribers. UK Environment has some lively discussion.


Discussion amongst groups can be facilitated using mailing lists About Mailing Lists, particularly for specific topics or focused projects.

A combination of mailing lists, FTP and web can form an effective platform for supporting group work. However there are other tools which can help in working together more effectively. Web Conferencing tools may allow version controlled document access and other facilities. ThinkOfIt has a good list of resources

Chat , or Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is perhaps of limited use as a development tool, but can be fun when moderated for guest speakers such as those hosted by the BBC's Live and Direct. See ChitChat for an example of a free room in the U.S.


Online discussions, newsgroups and mailing lists are a great way to get yourself, and your organisation, known. But the world wide web as an advertising medium and as a way of gaining a shop-window to the outside world is increasing in popularity. Creating a Web site allows you to have your say.