Digital Inclusion Coalitions

Digital Inclusion Coalitions are a collective of organizations shaped by the community to advocate for digital equity and foster the growth of the community’s digital inclusion ecosystem, through a formalized structure that publicly functions to facilitate the collaboration and coordination between community organizations that aim to support digital inclusion services. Coalitions are a valuable and fast-growing component of Tribal, local, regional, and state digital inclusion ecosystems.

 

Learn More About Digital Inclusion Coalitions

 Contact Paolo Balboa
 [email protected]

 

Coalition Impact

Digital Inclusion Coalitions are uniquely able to maximize the impact of digital inclusion efforts. This can be attributed to the three effects they create (deliberately or not) for their member organizations, participants, and communities: the Advocacy Effect, the Alignment Effect, and the Network Effect.

Coalition Working Group

NDIA convenes a monthly working group and manages a listserv comprising Coalition leaders who represent coalitions at all stages of development. Topics are curated towards group interest, from writing bylaws and standards, to developing programs and partnerships. The goal of the working group is to create a community of practice where members can surface trends and expand their knowledge and understanding of coalition work in practice.

NDIA Coalition Resources

Since publishing the first version of the guidebook in 2018, the digital inclusion landscape has changed significantly, and continues to evolve as as new models and practices emerge from our community. In 2022, NDIA published the second version of the guidebook with input from 35 coalition leaders representing more than 20 leading and emerging coalitions from across the country.

The Digital Inclusion Coalition Guidebook is for people who are committed to working toward digital equity in our communities by working together, across a variety of organizations and institutions, to advance these goals. It is designed as a resource for practitioners and organizations at all stages of coalition development, from those organizing initial conversations with potential partners to established coalitions looking to refine strategies and ensure sustainability.

The Coalition Leadership Brief was developed in partnership with New York Digital Inclusion Fund, digital inclusion coalition grantees, and the NDIA Coalitions Working Group, who shared their experiences establishing and expanding their coalitions and documenting their strategies.

NDIA launched the New York Digital Inclusion Fund (NYDIF) Coalition Planning Grant in 2021 to increase the number of digital inclusion partnerships working to address digital inclusion barriers throughout New York State. As a result, 10 coalitions in eight economic opportunity regions across New York received a planning grant to establish new digital inclusion coalitions or expand the work of existing ones.

Shared Tools and Resources

The NDIA community around Coalitions has produced a number of valuable resources related to Coalition structure, development, and governance. Coalition leaders have graciously shared these documents with us, and in turn we’re sharing them on this page to encourage a more general understanding of how Coalitions work, in practice. Below, you’ll find work produced by research colleagues informed by interviews with those in the field, organizing documents that describe the framework for decision-making, and more. We share these on the page because they are the nuts and bolts behind proven Coalition models. We must also emphasize that these resources do not represent an exhaustive list, nor is there ever going to be a one-size-fits-all approach to this work. We encourage you to learn and adapt your work as necessry.

Digital Equity Ecosystem Measurement Framework

Co-authored by Dr. Colin Rhinesmith, DERC Director and Dr. Rafi Santo, Principal Researcher at Telos Learning, the report presents findings from a participatory research project with thirty-two digital equity and digital justice coalition leaders from across the United States, who contributed their ideas to inform the Digital Equity Ecosystems Measurement (DEEM) framework. This initiative responds to a broader need within the digital equity field for conceptual frameworks and measurement tools to assist local coalitions in gathering data for planning, improvement, and advocacy purposes.

Digital Inclusion Coalition Organizing Documents

Pulling together a variety of organizations and residents across a community is hard work, and the act of representing a diverse set of backgrounds and interests under the banner of Digital Equity is a strenuous task. To address these difficulties, Digital Inclusion Coalitions have adopted and ratified organizing documents to guide their decision-making, formalize a member intake process, and describe its role in the local Digital Equity Ecosystem.

Members of the working group have been gracious enough to share some examples of their organizing documents. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to building your coalition, but we encourage you to learn from others in the field and adapt based on the specific needs of your community.

NDIA is always accepting new resources. If you would like to share resources your coalition is working on, email [email protected]

 

Digital Inclusion Coalition Budgets

In response to growing interest from the Coalition Working Group to learn about how they might develop their own budgets, NDIA is accepting any budget documents either directly from the digital inclusion field, or related practice to share with the community and enhance our own learning around this process.

If you are interested and would like to talk to someone about this topic, please contact [email protected] 

2022 Coalitions Survey

In the Spring of 2022, NDIA conducted a survey to gather information on place-based digital inclusion coalitions across the country and document their proliferation in recent years. The survey was broadly distributed via emails to the NDIA affiliate listserv, social media posts, announcements during webinars and presentations, and direct emails to known digital inclusion coalitions. A total of 51 coalitions submitted information about their structure, points of contact, and programmatic activities. While the most established coalitions had been around for roughly 10 years, the majority started since the beginning of 2020—many in response to COVID-19 social distancing requirements. Most coalition respondents identified their focus area as a single city, county, or metropolitan area, and most comprised a diverse range of organization types, reflecting strong cross-sector engagement. Since this survey was administered, the number and diversity of digital inclusion coalitions have continued to grow. We know that far more than 51 digital inclusion coalitions exist today. To update this information, understand how the coalition model continues to evolve, and identify ways that NDIA can continue to support coalition development and success, we will soon be conducting a new survey of coalitions. Stay tuned for details about the new coalition survey later in 2024 to ensure your coalition is included!

Map of Place-Based Digital Inclusion Coalitions

Cumulative Count of Coalitions and Number Formed Each Year, 2010-2022

Coalitions by Geographic Focus Area

Percent of Coalitions with Members of Each Organization Type