If anyone has any information on the following I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you,


1. Main Research Question:

How do NGOs in Ireland use information networks in the context of what they are trying to acheive?

- how has new technology helped or hindered their work over time (the past 20 years)?

- what blocks happen with information retrieval?

- is their anything distinctive about information retrieval in NGOs as opposed to a commercial business organisation?

- what is distinctive or otherwise about information retrieval in the voluntary sector?

- how does information and knowledge management assist them?

- how do they measure reliability?

- campaigning and policy role (e.g. political prisoners/mental health)

- information and strategic plans on how to get their basic needs noticed e.g. Fair Trade

- National and International - how do they interact?

- how do they get their message across to kids - in schools etc?

- how do they convince people to give money?

- link between fundraising and campaigning

- do they ever get it wrong?

- a charity is meant to be neutral and objective - how then do you deal with governments in countries you are working with/in?

- controversy - information implications

- do they work together? e.g. if one gains expertise in something do they share it with other organisations?

2. Why it's important

We are surrounded by technology and systems that are meant to aid communication worldwide but is this really the case? With all of the resources we have, is information really being given and received? How do organisations measure reliability of sources and in their own instances, examine themselves? What regulating system is within NGOs? With the internet and open access, has this meant information retrieval is easier and how do NGOs decide on what to do based on their findings? How does a person in strife know what to do to get in touch with one if these NGOs?



paul.meade's picture

Hi Marie,Thanks for your

Hi Marie,

Thanks for your question - or perhaps I should, for your questions!

The Wheel can't really tackle each and every single one of your questions, as to do so would amount to a full-time thesis (if we were to do it justice). Some of the questions are more general - such as what technologies have enhanced the work of the CV sector in the last 20 years - and some clearly require in-depth research. 

The first sort of question is easy enough to answer - charities had been largely revolutionised by the arrival of the internet in particular (and email as an offshoot) in the last 20 years. Not only does the internet provide a cost-effective method for disseminating information and communication towards the public, but it also permits the raising of funds and earned income on a scale that was unachievable prior to the internet. Indeed, you could also note that the internet has not only assisted existing charities in the execution of their campaigns and projects, but it has also led to the creation of web-specific charities, such as the excellent 

The Wheel is a prime example in fact of how the web can serve as the main daily method of communicating and conversing with stakeholders. Although we are most definitely an organisation that insists on getting out and about the country, with conferences and regional workshops etc, there is no denying that many other charities and members of the public know us and think of us purely in terms of how they perceive our online presence. What we are trying to do is take advantage of all of the various technologies available out there to better help us reach and communicate with those people. And the internet has allowed us to do that at an unprecedented scale. 

Of course, mobile phones have also assisted in providing easy communication but also a few practical solutions too, such as allowing some charities to communicate with interested parties via text. Witness, for example, the response to several recent natural disasters throughout the world in which relief charities issued a call for donations and, very cleverly, all people had to do was text a specific word to particular number to donate. Now where could you find anything like that 20 years ago? Amazing!

Anyway, as there are so many questions remaining, I will have to direct you towards some relevant online sources, from which you should be able to retrieve at least some of the information you are looking for.

You can start by visiting our You and Your Organisation and Sector Big Picture sections for in-depth information related to how charities operate. Then visit the website of the Nonprofit Management in Trinity College, and of course, contact universities in general to see if you can track down additional information.

Finally, after exhausting all of the above resources, if you have any lingering questions remaining, you could contact either of the two following people from here in The Wheel. Anthony Lindsay is our resident IT expert: and Ivan Cooper is our Director of Policy:

I hope that helps!

Paul Meade