Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Australian and New Zealand Communication Association


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences / eHealth Research Group




Australian Research Council

Grant Number

ARC Number : LP0990807


Costello, L. N., Dare, J. S., & Green, L. R. (2013). Sustaining online communities in the charitable health sector: how to keep a good thing going. In procedings of ANZCA conference 2013 'Global Networks - Global divides': Bridging new and traditional communication challenges. Gold Coast, Australia: Australian and New Zealand Communication Association. Availablehere


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.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution- Share Alike 2.5 Australia License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License.