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