From smartphones to social media, technology has altered how we live, dramatically reshaping how we communicate and connect with one another in nearly every way.
Technology is also changing how we give back. It’s being used by nonprofits to help those in need and by for-profits that are offering technical support to nonprofits to help them use technology more effectively.
Companies Offer IT Assistance
The Community Corps specializes in partnering corporations who have a specialization in IT support with nonprofits in need of IT assistance. Traditionally, nonprofits rely heavily on volunteers, which means that they usually have to wait for a volunteer with the appropriate IT expertise. But with The Community Corps, nonprofits get pro-bono IT support when they need it.
One example are the JPMorgan IT specialists who helped with an overhaul of Hale House’s outdated IT structure.
Nonprofits Adopt New Technologies
Nonprofits are also starting to use newer technologies—originally created by companies with for-profit intentions—to help further their charitable causes.
Amnesty International used virtual reality originally designed for entertainment purposes in a field test with street fundraisers to see if the technology might boost overall charitable giving.
The fundraisers used Google Goggles to give a VR-tour to potential donors of Aleppo, Syria. The VR technology worked, mainly because it allowed potential donors the chance to see firsthand (albeit, digitally) the dire circumstances of the people of Aleppo.
According to Amnesty International, the use of VR helped to boost charitable street giving during the test by 16 percent.
Nonprofits Leverage Social Media
According to The Guardian, Deborah Alisina, CEO of Bowel Cancer UK, used Twitter to organize “tweet-ups” to initiate dialogue and solicit feedback from cancer survivors on the company’s efforts, and also to rally the web community in an effort to push certain policies forward in the UK government.
Crowdsourcing is another interesting example.
While for-profit companies originally used crowdfunding platforms to source funds for new products and businesses, nonprofits are now using crowdfunding to gather resources and funds for their charitable goals.
According to the USA Today, in 2013, crowdfunding platforms raised $2.7 billion for over 1 million successful campaigns.
Technology is Revolutionizing Charitable Giving after Disasters
At Good360, we have been actively and aggressively developing and using new digital technologies and platforms to revolutionize charitable giving. We recently developed a new platform called Disaster-Recovery360, which is designed to ensure that nonprofits and disaster-relief organizations receive the specific goods they need after a disaster.
While there is often an outpouring of support to help communities struck by disasters, it is common that in-kind product donations do not always meet the immediate needs of disaster survivors.
DisasterRecovery360 addresses this issue, using technology to close the gap. Local nonprofits and agencies use the web site or the mobile app to build a list of critical needs, highlighting their real-time product needs at every stage during a disaster recovery. Potential donors can view the list and contribute accordingly.
Furthermore, DisasterRecovery360 also allows nonprofits the ability to post images and video messages, so potential donors can understand exactly where their donations go, who receives the donations and what the overall impact is.
The tool also allows nonprofits a chance to share their stories, giving potential donors an opportunity to connect with those in need in a very human way.
Technology is not just the domain of the for-profit world. Nonprofits are using innovative technologies to solve problems and accomplish their charitable goals. In many cases, this involves a partnership between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Newer technologies like virtual reality and crowdsourcing platforms are finding valuable applications in the nonprofit world and are allowing both sectors to give back in unique and significant ways.