THE DOT-COM EXPLOSION and e-commerce boom may grab most of the Internet sparkle, but behind the for-profit sector's glitz, nonprofit and charity organizations are working their way over the hurdle of the digital divide and using the Web to push their own messages.
For Cindee Archer, online media manager at the American Red Cross, in Washington, the Internet may be a new way to collect donations, but it also serves as a vital source of information.
"It's an interesting situation for us because we're so diverse," Archer says. "We're just this wealth of information, unlike so many nonprofits that have one central focus and do a good job promoting that one thing."
Disaster time is crunch time for the Red Cross Web site, as it must not only handle monetary donations but also help visitors locate their local Red Cross for shelter, find relatives in the disaster area, get information on blood donations and volunteering, and keep up with breaking news all at the same time.
"The Internet has definitely changed how the whole organization thinks," Archer says. "You feel this sense of urgency whenever there's a disaster -- you want that information up as quickly …