THE WORLD WIDE WEB


Although e-mail is responsible for the greatest amount of activity on the Internet, it is perhaps the World Wide Web (WWW, or Web, for short) that has created the most excitement. Widely available to the public for only about two years now, the Web has made computer users of people who'd never before considered touching that infernal machine.

While the Internet--the network of computer networks--provides the tangible (if elusive) structure for electronic communication, it is the Web which offers the content drawing students, researchers, educators, businesspeople, hobbyists, and others into its lair. Despite the occasional media worry about the Internet as an evil place, the Web affords children free help with their homework, distraught parents advice for coping with their childrens' special needs, and consumers the chance not only to purchase products and services but to become more educated about them.

For managers of non-profit organizations, the Web plays host to a vast storehouse of information on fund-raising, financial management, board development, client services, and other vital topics. Equipped with a "web browser," a non-profit staffer can search for the status or text of pending legislation, download articles about marketing or strategic planning, and find materials to help their clients address personal needs in such areas as health, employment and education.

Each day the number of web sites of graphically appealing and text-rich pages grows dramatically. Trying to assemble a comprehensive directory of appropriate sites would be a fool's goal, as it would be obsolete the minute it came off the photocopier. Nonetheless, it is useful to suggest a few reliable sites that can serve as starting points or that can become familiar friends to visit often.

SOME USEFUL WEB SITES FOR NON-PROFITS:

Academe This Week
A good place to post, or find, jobs in the non-profit sector, with an emphasis on education. Hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Aspen Publishers
Aspen is a well-known publisher of books, newsletters and videos for non-profit organizations, with an emphasis on board development.

FedWorld
Fine starting point for reaching federal government agencies. You can also telnet to the Federal Register from here.

The Foundation Center
Get information about the Center's publications and certain grant makers. You can also read the Philanthropy News Digest.

Foundations Online
Called a "Directory of Charitable Grantmakers," this site also profiles a few selected charities. Sponsored by the Northern California Community Foundation.

The Grantsmanship Center
Long known for its informative workshops and publications on grant and proposal writing, the Center now has its own web site. Worth a bookmark.

ideaLIST (The Contact Center Network)
The Contact Center Network claims to have links to over 30,000 nonprofit web sites around the world. You can search for specific nonprofit organizations by location and type.

Impact Online
One of the first web sites devoted to the not-for-profit sector, it covers a wide array of topics and organizations. An excellent place to start.

The Independent Sector
A relatively new and evolving site, it's the online face of one of the most important professional and advocacy organizations for national non-profits.

Internet Nonprofit Center
A mix of information and opinion, run by Cliff Landesmann, who also operates the GIVING mailing list.

National Center for Nonprofit Boards
This site has documents on nonprofit governance, useful for executive directors and board members.

Nonprofit Resource Center
Provided by the Institute for Global Communications, this site is a place for U.S. and international nonprofits to have a presence on the Web.

The NonProfit Times
The online version of the monthly journal, with some of the full articles available for free. Particularly good for current news affecting the independent sector.

Peter F. Drucker Foundation
Created to foster non-profit professionalism, the Foundation bestows an annual award for organizational innovation. You can learn about this award and the Foundation here.

Support Centers of America
Worth a bookmark for their GENIE (Global Electronic Nonprofit Information Express), which has lots of downloadable articles on strategic planning, financial management and board development.

Thomas
Hosted by the Library of Congress, it provides access to pending federal legislation and legislators.

Vermont Secretary of State
The state maintains information on how to register a non-profit as well as regulations governing the not-for-profit sector in Vermont.


In addition to the Web sites listed above are countless others that could be beneficial to the specific work of not-for-profit agencies. To find these sites, a good practice is to search for topics using what are called Web "directories" or "search engines." These are specialized databases that store the addresses (or URLs--Uniform Resource Locators) of web pages that may hold information on those topics. There are dozens of such search engines and directories, and they all work pretty much the same way: you type in one or more keywords pertaining to your topic, the search engine whirrs for a few seconds seeking matches in its files, and then spews forth a list of possible sites for you to view. It's a good idea to be fairly specific in your search, as you might get a list of hundreds of sites (there are already hundreds of thousands of web sites with hundreds more each day). On the other hand, being too specific may turn up nothing. It's a case for experimenting with different search engines, as they all have strengths and limits.

SOME WEB DIRECTORIES & SEARCH ENGINES:

Yahoo! Excite! InfoSeek Lycos Magellan AltaVista

If you'd like, you can try a search using the Yahoo! directory right from this page. To run a search, simply enter a keyword or phrase in the space below and then click on the "Submit Query" button. Happy hunting!


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