As the pace of technology races ahead, many charities are not taking full advantage of the new world of social media, a new report says.
In a survey of its grantees, the New York-based Overbrook Foundation found confusion and anxiety are stymieing many groups’ efforts to make use of new web and wireless technologies.
Dubbed “Web 2.0” by many, this second generation of Internet-based tools, including blogs, podcasts and other interactive interfaces, has been billed as a critical frontier for those hoping to mobilize young people in favor of social change.
Overbrook consultant Allison Fine conducted a voluntary online survey of the 55 U.S.-based human rights groups the foundation funds, as well as two discussion sessions, which 17 of the organizations attended.
While all groups surveyed had websites, most were still using the Internet as a one-way information-sharing tool instead of taking advantage of the interactivity new technology offers, the report says.
Virtually all the respondents reported accepting donations online, but only half had blogs or videos on their sites and only a third had podcasts.
The report suggests that by restricting themselves to a limited version of web usage, these groups are missing out on key opportunities to organize constituents to support their work both online and off.
The report also emphasized the high level of social-media anxiety voiced in the discussion sessions, with many participants admitting they were “at a loss” as to where and how to get help navigating an often confusing array of new technology options.
As a result, the Overbrook Foundation has created an online hub of resources and case studies available to the public through its website.
The Overbrook Foundation was established in 1948 by Frank and Helen Altschul and supports groups working in the fields of environmental conservation, sustainable communities, and human rights.