Give IT Get IT is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit Organization founded in 2002 on a mission to help nonprofits, families, and individuals overcome what hinders access to technology. We call this “digital inclusion.”
Over the years, terms used to describe this International issue of ‘those with’ versus ‘those without’ computer skills or access have changed. Past commonly adopted terms include:
Studies indicate that in the US, more than 38% of our population does not have real or consistent access to the Internet, personal computers – or the skills to use them safely and effectively. Fear, cost, lack of available training and technical support are the most singificant obstacles preventing peoples access to this critical resource. Communities most affected are people with lower incomes, K-12 students, seniors and remote, rural towns where high speed Internet and computer services are not available.
Digital inclusion is about more than simply having the ability to write a paper or find a job. Most gainful employment new hire screenings require testing the candidate’s ability to use Word, Excel, and email (adding attachments, BCC vs. CC, etc.) as well as social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Public and private schools are relying on tech more and more to create and share homework assignments. In some cases, children in lower-income families are forced to do homework on a smartphone (if available) or access the public library in place of a personal computer.
Seniors will be directly affected by the digital trend when Part D Medicare is completely managed online by participants, which is expected by 2022. Online tax filing, banking, bill pay, and other online financial applications allow individuals to manage their accounts faster, and at a lower cost (or free), compared with using paper documentation. Understanding how to use these online applications will soon be a requirement vs. an option.
Through research and experience, we have learned that cost (buying and maintaining a computer) is only one factor that keeps people from having access to technology. Larger obstacles include fear and intimidation, along with a lack of low-cost or free, quality technical support. Additionally, many training options assume some prerequisite user skills, making it even more difficult for people who are just beginning their journey into tech, new employment, or education.
Most people think of the cost of a computer and Internet access as the barriers to Digital Inclusion. We think it is even more important to ensure people are able to make the right purchase decision based on their individual goals, as well as to have access to user training and free, high-quality ongoing support.
At Give IT Get IT, our goal is to help people join the 21st Century economy and community. We accomplish our mission through several programs, each tailored to meet the needs of specific communities and individuals.