Make the Case for Digital Inclusion

Taking on this role may mean that some of your other projects and responsibilities will either need to be handed off to other staff, deprioritized, or integrated into your digital equity work more deeply. How can you make a case to your supervisor that participating in the fellowship is a worthwhile endeavor?

  • Think about the digital inclusion program you want to work on. How much of your time will it take up? Most likely, the time commitment will vary from week to week, with more time needed to launch the program. You should think about what trades, in terms of time and responsibilities, will have to be made, so that you can help develop a transition plan as appropriate for any shifts you may propose for other colleagues.
  • Is your supervisor already engaged in digital inclusion work and conversations? If not, you may need to talk about some of the reasons why digital literacy and internet access are relevant to your work. How can you illustrate the critical need for digital inclusion work in your community?
  • Share your vision for a digitally empowered constituency. How will gaining new skills, devices, or access transform your community? How will it help your organization better meet its mission? Being a fellow can help bring this vision into reality. For examples of previous fellow projects and what they have accomplished, you can review our fact sheets of earlier cohorts.
  • Highlight the value of the fellowship. Sponsors are investing $20,000 per fellowship. This covers travel to in-person training, a project grant of up to $1,000 (for fellows in Cleveland and Oregon) or $5,000 (for fellows in all other cities, sponsored by Google Fiber), a year of monthly professional development opportunities, extensive support from NTEN staff, the chance to earn the Digital Equity Professional Certificate, as well as opportunities to speak, be published, and gain recognition as a leader in digital inclusion.

Here is a sample letter that you can adapt to make the case to your supervisor.

Hi [name],

There is a sponsored opening currently available in NTEN’s Digital Inclusion Fellowship. Applications are open until May 31, and I would like to apply for the program.

As a Digital Inclusion Fellow, I will focus on developing new and improved digital literacy training for the people we serve. The fellowship supports this effort with extensive training, consultation with subject matter experts, and an evaluation plan. Past fellows’ projects have had far reach, providing thousands of adults with digital skills training.

The costs of the fellowship are entirely covered by sponsors, so there are no additional costs for us. I estimate that I will need to spend [number] hours per week on this program. [Insert details of how you think your existing work will be affected and what suggestions you have to offset that or shift responsibilities.]

This fellowship is an excellent opportunity for [organization name] to demonstrate leadership and our commitment to our community through digital inclusion. [Insert examples of how digital inclusion work ties into your organization’s programs/goals]. Fellows have been recognized in regional magazines, blogs, and web publications with a national audience, as well as respected journals.

Thanks in advance for considering my request. I’d love to chat more about this opportunity and answer any questions you may have.