15 years ago, there were more than 46,000 NGOs operating in Poland. They needed access to current information, advice on running foundations and associations, and a platform to exchange experiences. The Klon/Jawor Association, together with the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, decided to address those needs by creating the ngo.pl web portal.
“We believed from the very beginning that, sooner or later, the Internet would become a fast, efficient, cheap and easy to access source of information. Back then, before the year 2000, it wasn’t as obvious as it is now,” Alina Gałązka, editor-in-chief of the portal says.
In the beginning, the portal was a data base of existing NGOs, a collection of information taken from newspapers crucial for the sector, as well as – an innovative feature for its times – a message board where the users themselves could post messages. The following years saw the emergence of different services, answering the needs of the NGOs: advice, European funds, or the law on public benefit and voluntary service. Apart from thematic sections, there are 19 regional sections present on the site today. More than 100 messages are posted every day, some 80 of which are created by the users.
One of the most important parts of the portal is the poradnik.ngo.pl service. In its 20 thematic sub-sections you can find detailed information about topics such as: creation of NGOs, acquisition of resources or finance and bookkeeping. Poradnik.ngo.pl also has the Informatorium feature, where representatives of NGOs can ask questions and get live answers on the phone, on Skype, through e-mail or a web form. In the last 15 years, there were more than 80,000 questions asked.
Technologie.ngo.pl is the service devoted to supporting modern technologies. It was created a couple of years ago and is already very popular with the users – the information contained in that section can be of use to organizations with varied levels of technological sophistication.
Today, ngo.pl is a very important opinion-forming medium for the representatives of the third sector.
“From a niche site with several hundred users who were lucky enough to have access to the Internet, ngo.pl became an important, non-commercial portal. For many years we have remained in the top 10 of public websites,” Alina Gałązka reports. “We want to remain a complex, useful, and trustworthy internet manual for those entities that participate in civil society”.
The portal was created and has been developing with the aid of many donors and partners, such as the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, the Stefan Batory Foundation, CEE TRUST, SPLOT network and NFPN (OFOP), but first of all by our users.