Australian and New Zealand Communication Association
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences/eHealth Research Group
Australian Research Council
ARC Number : LP0990807
What happens when an online community part-funded by a competitive grant process in partnership with a relevant charitable organisation reaches its use-by date? What reasons might an organisation have for continuing (or not) to support the community and its future development? How is ‘ownership’ transferred from the research institution to the not-forprofit organisation, along with any possible risks? These are all good questions: not least because it seems that most communities in this position are not ‘adopted’ by their not-forprofit sponsors, but languish on the sidelines waiting for a benefactor to pick up the potential costs and risks. This paper explores the Australian experience of forming online communities to support notfor- profit organisations’ user populations, and then finding the sponsoring organisation hesitating to adopt the project after the research has successfully demonstrated need and demand. It identifies drivers and inhibitors affecting the decision to support, neglect or abandon online communities.