5 Ways Nonprofit Technology Changed the Industry in 2012

Technological opportunities for nonprofits have never been greater. Long gone are the days when live events, newspaper advertising and direct mail solicitations were some of your only methods for getting constituents involved in your cause.

Today, nonprofits are scrambling to keep up with the latest innovations, and tailor their marketing efforts to the big advances of the moment. It’s a good problem to have so many great options, as long as you can pare them down and focus on the ones that will really help your organization function more efficiently.

Here are five of the biggest ways nonprofit technology has changed the industry this year.

Online Donation Tools

You don’t have to stuff a wad of cash in an envelope to contribute to your nonprofit of choice. Plenty of online donation tools have been developed to help nonprofit organizations get their work done in 2012. They range from the flashy and expensive to the free, get-‘er-done varieties.

For a small fee, these tools are incorporated into your website to allow donors to donate directly to your organization. We did a write up about some of our favorite online donation tools not too long ago, so make sure to check that out.

Responsive Nonprofit Web Design

People aren’t just visiting your nonprofit website while sitting at a desktop with a predictably-sized screen. Potential donors access the web from multiple devices throughout the day, thanks to untethered wireless access. In fact, those without a smartphone are now the minority among mobile users.

Nonprofit websites need to be able to adapt to whatever mobile platform they’re being visited on. Responsive nonprofit web design is now a must so that your website can adjust to the parameters set by the visitor’s device. Make sure to follow the examples of great responsive nonprofit websites and avoid inconveniencing those who are trying to learn about your cause.

Cloud Technology

Cloud technology, which involves software and information that’s stored digitally and available to access on any device with internet access, has proven to be highly useful to nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit CRMs online allow organizations to coordinate things like donation tracking, fundraising, event registrations, email marketing and customer service with ease.

Plus, cloud technologies like Google Drive, Dropbox and iCloud mean nonprofit employees can frictionlessly back up and share files with one another, and are never forced to send a barrage of email attachments just to figure out and edit projects.

Learn how one nonprofit saved $176,000 by overhauling their technology and switching to cloud-based services.

Website Grants

Your organization should put your nonprofit website at the center of your web presence. In many ways, it’s the face of your organization: the way you are represented for all future donors. As such, there’s a huge amount of pressure to create a website that effectively communicates your story, is responsively designed for all mobile platforms and utilizes effective donation tools.

While all of these things are incredibly important, these requirements can put a huge burden on nonprofits. More and more often, nonprofit website grants allow nonprofits to have a truly powerful web presence that really makes an impact. Google grants are another helpful initiative for nonprofits, providing free AdWords service to qualified nonprofit organizations.

Social Media

Social media has completed its ascendancy in 2012, as shown by Facebook’s billionth user and new platforms like Pinterest’s meteoric rise. Social media can serve many functions for nonprofit organizations. Some of these functions include fostering donor loyalty among your constituents, keeping yourself at the front of their minds and recruiting volunteers.

Social media’s power is only limited by your creativity and dedication, and has become an assumption for a well-developed internet presence, instead of a special addition for the truly dedicated.

Which of these nonprofit tools do you think nonprofit organizations should focus on most in 2013?


Marc Koenig

Marc Koenig is a regular contributor of Nonprofit Hub. Marc believes smart, ethical marketing can make the world a better place, and strives to create content that helps nonprofits tell better stories, push their organizations to excel and do work that matters. You'll find him writing Nonprofit Hub featured posts, brainstorming infographics and tweeting up a storm at @npmarc - follow him and say hi!

November 30, 2012

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