May 7, 2018

It’s National Digital Inclusion Week

It’s National Digital Inclusion Week and NTEN is proud to participate!

First, I want to be clear that digital equity impacts all of us—yes, even if you have a smartphone and a computer. Roughly 60 million Americans are currently unable to access services, communicate with friends and family, connect to educational opportunities and resources, or participate in civic life the way many of us can every day. This means that as individuals, we do not benefit from ideas and voices calling for changes in our communities, creating the tools and services that we use, or even contributing to the content and information we rely on. As organizations, we benefit by having all members of the communities we serve able to access our websites and receive our communications, sign up for programs or services, and be an active part of advocating for our mission.

Nonprofit organizations are uniquely positioned to make significant impact toward digital equity. You are already a trusted community contributor, many times a true anchor despite changes in the region or country. You are trusted. You literally speak the same language as those you serve. And you, more than other organizations that aren’t based in your area or don’t provide your type of services, know your community’s needs and experiences. You have an incredibly important opportunity to add digital literacy training into the programs and services you already provide—people that need support to learn how to use technology and the internet are able to access that training without finding a new organization to talk to, figuring out a different transportation path to get there, or knowing that it was a topic that could actually benefit them.

This week, we are sharing data and resources to help you and your organization make the case for adding digital equity into the work you do and recognize that it helps you serve your mission. We will share posts on Facebook and Twitter and ask that you help share them!

Today we launch the 2018 Digital Adoption Report.  The report, sponsored by Mobile Citizen, seeks to understand how organizations are making decisions and addressing the challenges of internet access and use by both staff and the communities they serve. “Mobile Citizen was excited to partner with NTEN on this important research. It’s evident some gaps around digital adoption have started to close, while news gaps have been identified. With the information from this study, we can all better assess ways to address digital inclusion issues and therefore reach the most people in need,” says Cassie Bair, Mobile Citizen Chief Business Development Executive.

Please join us in raising up stories and voices from your work this week; there are many organizations participating this week both online and offline. Learn more about Digital Inclusion Week and get involved!

P.S. Fun fact: Digital Inclusion Week was started by one of NTEN’s Digital Inclusion Fellows! The Fellows do incredible work across the US. Learn more about the program and how you can participate.

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Amy Sample Ward
Amy Sample Ward is NTEN's CEO. She is also a speaker and author focused on leveraging social technologies for social change. In 2013, Amy co-authored Social Change Anytime Everywhere with Allyson Kapin. She previously co-authored Social by Social: a handbook in using new technologies for social impact. She has worked in and with advocacy organizations, private foundations, and community groups in the US, UK, and around the world.