Another group that could benefit from podcasting is nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Most NGOs focus on activities in developing countries, operating at the local level in cities and towns and targeting low-income groups for their development.
Education is one of the biggest goals of NGOs. They typically approach education on two levels: one being the education of their members to better inform and aid them in their work, and the second being the education of prospective members.
An NGO could use podcasts to distribute lectures or workshops. The members could also distribute daily or weekly news items pertaining to the NGO.
A handful of NGOs have embraced podcasting. Disciples with Microphones, the podcast for the Catholic NGO Voice, is a tool to deliver interviews and reports from assemblies and conferences (see Figure 19.4). The Catholic NGO Voice describes the NGO as "an outreach dedicated to supporting authentic Catholic social teaching on human dignity and human rights issues." Considering that podcasting is a form of outreach by definition, this makes for a perfect fit.
Figure 19.4. The Catholic NGO podcast reports on worldwide issues of interest to Catholics.
One frequent problem that charities and NGOs face is a lack of funding. Podcasting is a way that they can supplement their pledge drives, releasing interviews or special content as a treat to entice their listeners to donate to their cause. Pledge drives are done more frequently over radio and television because of their live, immediate feeling, but they would work well over a podcast also. With daily reports to let listeners know that their money is counting, along with the regular daily content, we believe podcasting would be a good pledge tool for charities and NGOs.
With a cheap mobile recording setup (Mur uses her iRiver 790 and a Sony plug-in microphone), NGO members can podcast from the field. If people want to know what the situation is really like where the NGO is doing work, or what services the NGO provides for the communities, there is no better way to show them. Relief workers at the scene of a disaster can do a soundseeing tour (or "soundscape") to describe to listeners what they're seeing, smelling, experiencing, or they can interview the people they are helping. Many times these stories are swept under the rug for a variety of reasons, and podcasting can make these voices heard.
All this, of course, also lets donators know how their money is being spent, and perhaps will entice them to spend more.
Lastly, NGOs are usually looking for more members and volunteers. Many podcasters will often run a bumper or promo for you out of the kindness of their heartsor very likely for little money. An NGO could use the new medium of podcasting to get the word out via other podcasts to build their member base.