Find out about us!

Information & Referral
Senior Info Line
Child Care Connection
Family Care Connection
Project Connect
Links to Other Sites
Contact Info Line
Search this Site
Information & Referral
Senior Info Line
Child Care Connection
Family Care Connection
Project Connect
Links to Other Sites
Contact Info Line
Search this Site

Info Line, Inc. ... Bringing people and services together
Project Connect  
Internet Service Guidelines

A Project Connect White Paper
Developed by the Project Connect Advisory Council & Staff

Click here for a PDF version of these guidelines for printing.
If you need Adobe Acrobat, click here.

Discussion Topics


Why Connectivity?

According to the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network, non-profits throughout the country have discovered that technology and connectivity directly and positively impact the efficiency of service delivery. With the proper tools, training, and support system, these organizations can serve more people with less effort.

Opportunities to achieve the mission of non-profit organizations in a more effective and efficient way abound for those non-profit agencies that are technology savvy. Communication with clients, donors, funders, other service providers and the community at large is enhanced by its use. In addition, agencies can enhance their mission fulfillment by ...

marketing their services,
recruiting volunteers,
soliciting donations,
providing educational information,
arranging training for staff,
researching issues,
sharing experiences with peers,
and publicizing job openings

... through use of the Internet.

In early 1999, Project Connect surveyed non-profit organizations throughout Summit County. The results reflected what other regional technology initiatives throughout the country have discovered: Many non-profit organizations wanted internet and e-mail services, but they did not understand what is required for these services and what they should consider when deciding upon providers. Others were not happy with the service they had because it was either too much or too little.

This paper addresses these needs by identifying the connectivity options available, the selection criteria developed by the Project Connect Advisory Council, and the results of a request for proposal distributed to area providers.

These are guidelines only. Each non-profit has its own unique needs which must be considered when making these decisions. However, these guidelines can offer a good beginning first step for the non-profit first connecting to the world wide web.

Go back to the list of topics.

Connectivity Options

There are so many connectivity options, but only one general rule: don't buy the apple cart when you only need an apple. Start small, build up, keep your options open. Don't purchase more than you need, but don't hesitate when you've outgrown what you have. Stay flexible.

When you first begin, you might need only a dial-up access internet account with one e-mail address. As your organization grows, so will your needs. You might need more than one e-mail address, perhaps a dedicated phone line, and your own domain name ( As time progresses, a phone line will no longer be sufficient & you will need to examine your options for digital technology, such as cable and DSL, ISDN, or T1 lines. It can be a slow growth or a rapid expansion. Use your resources and your contacts to evaluate what options are best for your organization.

What do I need to begin?

First, you need a computer & we suggest a minimum 486DX 66MHZ or better which is capable of running Windows 95/98. If you have an older model, you can still access the internet, but it will be slow and may be prone to system crashes. You also need a 28.8 speed or higher modem (internal or external). A phone line or cable will be needed to connect your modem to the phone or cable jack. Finally, you need an internet service provider (ISP). There are numerous ISP's available. See below for suggested criteria when selecting a provider.

One phone line or two?

The internet is addictive & you may sign on planning to spend 15 minutes and end up signing off 5 hours later. If your organization is using a single phone line for both your phone calls and internet service, your callers will receive a busy signal. Could you afford to miss 5 hours of phone calls from your clients, donors, volunteers, etc.? If so, then one phone line is sufficient. If not, then call the phone company and get another line put in. (If the phone line is cost-prohibitive, then consider limiting internet use outside of business hours, such as evenings or weekends).

Limited or unlimited access?

By all means, get unlimited access!! There might be a $5-$10 per month difference, but you'll usually end up needing more time and spending much more money.

Dial-up or permanent?

Active vs. passive & Will you remember to dial up to the internet to check your e-mail at least once or twice a day or would you rather receive your e-mail seconds after it is sent? Permanent access is great, but it is expensive. Are you willing to spend $20-$60 extra per month to get your e-mail immediately? If not, stick with the dial-up.

What are some inexpensive ways for all of my staff to get internet access?

According to Gary Amos, President of Amos Data Systems, Inc., "It is easy to share internet access. There are several devices available to accomplish this. My favorite is a device by Bay Networks called Instant Internet. Its cost is around $800. Another benefit is that it allows you to lock out Internet sites or only allow users to access certain sites. You can also get a report of what sites have been accessed. To share the internet access, you also need network cards in the machines, a hub and of course wiring.

If you already have an in-house e-mail system, consider asking your network service provider to configure the SMTP gateway which comes with both MS Exchange and Novell Groupwise. Once this is configured, everyone automatically has an internet email account."

When should I consider digital connections?

We asked one of our technical experts about this. According to Michael Mitchell of BCG Systems, Inc.:

Telephone lines employ a technology that takes digital data, transforms it into analog for transmission over standard telephone lines, and then converts it back to digital at the other end. It has a limit of about 53k (even though it is supposed to be 56k technology).

Non-dedicated dial-up (such as AOL, CompuServe, Raex, etc.) is appropriate for a single user or 2 to 3 light users in a stand alone or network environment. If it is a network environment, then a firewall/internet caching server for multiple users should be used. Depending on the location, equipment, and ISP, the speed can be 28.8k to 56k bandwidth. This is adequate for single users who are not transferring great amounts of data (e-mail or Internet browsing). Non-dedicated dial-up lines with one mailbox cost about $20.00 per month.

Dedicated dial-up (which is a static IP address assigned by the ISP) is appropriate for 1 to 3 light users in a network environment with proper equipment. This service allows the organization to host an internal postoffice (which allows for multiple mailboxes and internal control of them). The bandwidth remains 28.8k to 56k, depending on location, equipment & the ISP. Dedicated dial-ups with at least one mailbox usually run under $100.00 per month.

For browsing and e-mail, a non-dedicated dial-up line should be sufficient for most users. This can even be employed in a small, lightly used network environment, but the overall experience can quickly become frustrating as multiple users attempt to share the same line-whether via a network connection (which requires special equipment and/or software) or modems and telephone lines. We recommend that a dial-up line be used for single users only, and multiple users employ a higher bandwidth (digital) technology.

As the need for faster access increases-or for multiple users-a bigger "conduit" to the internet will be necessary. The bandwidth requirements will determine what (minimum) type of connection technology will need to be employed. If you feel your organization has outgrown the dial-up stage and you need additional bandwidth, then work with your network service supplier to analyze and determine the most cost effective solution for your needs and location. They might offer the following line and bandwidth options:

xDSL (160k to 8.0MB)
ISDN (64k to 128k)
Fractional T1 (64k multiples to T1 speeds)
T1 (1.5MB)
Cable (theoretical 10 MB speeds - realistically around 1.5 MB)

In general, the more bandwidth, the higher the cost.

In addition, some technologies are not available in all areas. The perfect example is SDSL / ADSL. In order to employ this technology, the site must be located within (approximately) 18,000 feet of one of the telephone company's switches. Cable is another example: availability of this technology varies from location to location. Again, work with your network service supplier to identify your options and best solution.

Go back to the list of topics.

Suggested Criteria for ISP Selection

Project Connect's Advisory Council of area experts has identified the following criteria for selecting an internet service provider:

Affordable cost
Unlimited internet access
Expandable e-mail system (e.g., can grow from one to one hundred)
Control over website look
Responsive to inquiries
Strong, experienced technical knowledge
Service reliability
Sufficient staff to meet participants' needs
Stable company to ensure long-term relationship 
Experience with FrontPage extensions support (applicable only if you create your site in FrontPage)
Good references from customers

Go back to the list of topics.

Northeast Ohio Provider Options

These are the results of the above criteria as applied to area service providers. This is not intended to be a complete list of providers. We have included in this list only those companies which were recommended by advisory council members and Project Connect participants and which were responsive to our request for proposal. Project Connect does not endorse any organization; this is for information only. Please use this only as guidelines.


Ohio.Com ACORN RoadRunner APK.NET USALogin Raex
Cost No charge for web hosting of KOZ sites. $19.95 per month for internet access. Total: $239.40 for access and Ohio.Com-based websites No charge for web hosting, internet access, or e-mail.

20% discount. Cost for one computer (1-3 year contract): $244 set-up plus $55.95 per month. Includes 5 MB website (www.neo.rr. com/ ~agency) & 5 e-mail addresses ([email protected]).  Total cost: $671.40 per year + $244 set-up)

Additional computers: $99 set-up plus $39.95 each per month. ($479.40 per year +$99 installation). 

$250 new domain name registration ( com); $150 to transfer existing domain name. 

Each block of 5 e-mails per domain name: $9.95 per month + $50 set-up

Total cost for internet access, domain-specific website, and 5 domain-specific e-mail addresses: $790.90 per year plus $643 set-up.

 *No additional phone line required.

$180/year for dial up access, 1 e-mail mailbox, 5 MB website. 1-time $20 set-up fee. Additional mailboxes: $60/year each. Domain name e-mail: $50 per year + 1-time $50 set-up.

Total package, including 3 domain name e-mails: $330 plus $70 1-time set-up.

$227.40 per year for dial-up access and 3-4 e-mail mailboxes.   $479.50 for web hosting.

Total:  $706.90 per year.

$129.50 per year dial-up service, 5 MB website ( ~agency), & 5 e-mail mailboxes ([email protected]

Upgrade option: $240 per year for 20 MB website (,  and 5 e-mail aliases ([email protected]

$50 for domain web hosting set-up. Total Upgrade costs: $369.50 per year + $50 1-time fee.
Unlimited internet access Yes No--1 Hour per day Yes Yes Yes Yes
Expandable e-mail system Yes ([email protected] Yes ([email protected] Yes Yes Yes Yes
Control over website look Strong Ohio.Com presence, advertisements Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Responsive to inquiries Yes Yes Proposal submitted 2 months after deadline Referred us to their website Yes Yes
Strong, experienced technical knowledge Focus is on HTML and Macintosh Yes Support phones manned 8 AM-6 PM M-F. After- hours emergency service  6-8 PM M-F, 8 AM-5 PM Sat, 10 AM-3:00 Sun.     All other times, representatives are paged. - - Yes, references said this was a strength; available 8 AM - 8 PM, sometimes until 11 PM
Sufficient staff to meet participants' needs - - - - - 10 technical support employees
Service reliability - - System & services monitored 24X7.  References report stable service with very few downtime periods.  - - -
Stable company to ensure long-term relationship Yes No--1 Hour per day Yes Yes Started 1999 Since May 1995
Experience with FrontPage extensions support No No Yes Yes - Yes--over 800 FrontPage sites
Good references from customers - - Some customers reported slow/runaround technical support, slow response to redirect requests, etc. Others report excellent, responsive service. - - Excellent reports from references: Christine Galvin of Galvin Design; James Moseley of PCC Airfiols; and Melanie Schilling of TEC Communications

Go back to the list of topics.

What Does It Mean?

It is the opinion of the WebNetwork Sub-Committee of the Project Connect Advisory Council that the best option is one which allows continued growth as your connectivity increases.

The Raex plan, for example, follows a managed growth process:
When you first begin, you will need unlimited dial-up access. Your e-mail and your website can use Raex's domain: e.g., [email protected] (e-mail) and (website). These are all included in the $129.50 package.
As your agency grows, you will want to get your own domain name through Network Solutions (which costs $70 for a two-year period). Raex will point the domain name to your site on its server and give you 3 e-mail addresses for this domain name: e.g., and [email protected]. Be sure to identify which alias will be the default mailbox for e-mail sent to your agency which is not addressed to the 3 aliases (e.g., all mail sent to [email protected] or [email protected]). The transfer cost is a one-time $50 fee and the annual cost for the upgrade service is $120. Your total cost for the first year is therefore $299.50; total cost for later years is then $240.50 (assuming pricing does not increase).
As time progresses and you find you need permanent access or greater bandwidth, Raex will work with you and your network service provider to identify what options would be best for your organization.
When you are ready to accept donations on-line and need a secure server, Raex will work with you to set it up. NEVER ask for credit card payments over the internet without a secure server!

 This growth plan is possible through many of the internet services available to you. Your account representatives, as well as Project Connect, can be helpful in planning your internet strategies.

Go back to the list of topics.

Website Options

Once you have access to the internet, think about publishing a website. It can be a small one-page introduction to your organization and grow to a multi-page extravaganza of marketing savvy.
You can begin by developing a site on Ohio.Com's Real Cities Online Community: This allows you to post a multi-page website with a service listing, newsletter, calendar of events, feedback page, and more. Ohio.Com offers extensive training in this package. For more information, call 330-253-9524 or send an e-mail to .
If you should want a more graphical interface, more control over your pages, and use of moving components, etc., you can create your website in a commercial web authoring package (such as Microsoft's FrontPage). This website can then be published on your ISP's server. Keep at least one page on the Ohio.Com Real Cities site so that you can link from it to your new site.
Project Connect offers training and technical support for FrontPage. For more information, call 330-762-5627, browse our training schedule on our website, or send an e-mail to .
Most ISP's offer free website hosting. The only catch is that you have to use the ISP's URL: e.g., These are usually difficult to remember and not very professional. We suggest that you register your own domain name (e.g., The cost is minimal: $70 for each two-year period.
To register, first call your ISP and tell them you plan on registering a domain name and need their server information. Then visit Search to see if the name you want is available, and then complete the online form. You will be billed at a later date. Call your ISP and tell them of the registration so they can transfer the domain name to their server. (Cost for this transfer process can vary from $50 to $250).
The staff at Project Connect is experienced in the registration process. If you would like us to work with you on this, please contact us at 330-762-5627.
Never ask for credit card numbers over the internet unless you have been set-up with a secure server. Ask your internet service provider whether this option is available.

Go back to the list of topics.

Additional Support

It is our belief that non-profit organizations can better serve their mission when they use technology and connectivity to increase efficiency and improve communications among their clients, other non-profit agencies, and the general community.

Our mission is to assist non-profit organizations to better serve their mission through technology and connectivity by providing easy, affordable access to equipment and software, training, technical assistance, and website management.

Among its many services, Project Connect offers the following:

Training on website development, management, and marketing.
Assistance in domain name registration.
Hands-on training on Microsoft FrontPage, the industry leader in web authoring software.
Opportunities to participate in Ohio.Com's RealCities free website creation and hosting.
Peer networking opportunities through free website developers discussion groups.
Use of state-of-the-art software on our Training Center computers.
Technical support.
One-on-one consultations.

We know of many resources which can assist you as you increase your organization's technology and connectivity. Please contact us and we'll work together so you can serve more people with less effort.

Jacquie Skrzypiec
Project Manager, Project Connect
Info Line, Inc.
474 Grant Street
Akron, OH 44311
Fax 330-253-1137

Find out about us!

Project Connect

Contact Info Line
Search this Site

Senior Info Line
Child Care Connection
Family Care Connection
Project Connect

Contact Info Line
Search this Site

Senior Info Line
Child Care Connection
Family Care Connection

Copyright 2000  Info Line, Inc., 474 Grant Street, Akron, Ohio " 330-762-5627
All rights reserved.

Info Line is a participant of Project Connect,
empowering non-profits through technology & connectivity