Financial Sustainability for an Information and Communication Technology Project in the Community Sector: Critical Success Factors

By Keri Logan and Barbara Crump.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

There is an increasing number of community based projects aimed at helping to bridge the digital divide. One example of this is a project which provides community and volunteer organisations (CVOs) low cost access to a mobile, unbiased advisory and technical support service tailored specifically to meet the needs of the not-for-profit sector. The main aims of this service are to provide advice and technical support for CVOs in a friendly and comprehensible manner, and to increase their knowledge and skills in managing their information and communication technologies (ICTs) in ways that are affordable. An integral part of these aims is the establishment and growth of a Community of Practice where participants are able to share their ICT knowledge and help each other with trouble shooting. A further objective of this project is financial sustainability whereby the project can continue into the future on self-generated funding. Results of the quantitative and qualitative evaluation, conducted over the one-year pilot project, found high subscriber-satisfaction levels with the service and synergy and energy of the steering group members, many of whom were volunteers. This paper identifies the critical success factors that contributed to ameliorating the difficulties of sustaining a financially-viable community project.

Keywords: Digital Divide, Community and Volunteer Organisations, Information and Communication Technologies, Financial Sustainability, e-Rider

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.189-198. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.263MB).

Dr. Keri Logan

Senior Lecturer, Business Information Systems, Department of Management, College of Business, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

Keri Logan is a Senior Lecturer in Business Information Systems, Department of Management, in the College of Business. Her main teaching area is Knowledge Management. Her research interests are Community Informatics, The Culture of the IT Workplace, Women and IT and Evaluation Methodology.

Dr. Barbara Crump

Senior Lecturer, Department of Information Systems, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

Barbara Crump teaches and researches in the Department of Information Systems, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. Her research interests have involved projects in the digital divide (evaluating the Smart Newtown community computing pilot project, followed by researching the post-implementation stage), the tertiary computing learning environment, and the culture of the computing and IS workplace. The national qualitative New Zealand computing workplace study has been followed by a quantitative study, the result of which are currently being analysed. As Visiting Scholar at the University of Malaya she undertook cross-national research involving Malaysia and New Zealand ICT workers. Evaluation of a new project addressing sustainability issues in community computing will begin in 2007.

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