Technology + Nonprofits: The Perfect Match
From the way we communicate to the way we make purchases, technology has changed our lives forever. In fact, right now, many of you are reading this blog on your phone – something that was unfathomable not too long ago.
New technology provides new opportunities for nonprofits to make a greater impact in our communities. Here are three tools we use at United Way to help us share our vision, work more efficiently and even increase donations.
1. Periscope – Periscope is an application that allows you to share and watch live video broadcasts from your mobile phone. It’s free and easy to use. If you can take a picture or record a video with your phone, you can use Periscope.
We first used Periscope this past spring for our Leading a Life of Purpose event. Nearly 400 people attended the event, but 367 more people watched via Periscope. One person was so happy, she posted about it on Instagram.
Periscope has proven to be a perfect way for us to reach people, and a unique way for them to see our organization in action.
2. Skype for Business – Email is great. The phone is good. However, sometimes it’s better to communicate face-to-face, even if it’s virtually. With Skype for Business, our staff in Downtown Atlanta can “meet” and share documents with multiple colleagues spread across the 13 Greater Atlanta counties we serve. The technology is also helpful for meetings with our partner agencies. Skype for Business makes us more efficient and effective as an organization, and it keeps our overhead low by cutting transportation costs.
3. Mobile Giving – Technology is making it easier than ever for people to make contributions to nonprofits. So, in addition to traditional pledge forms – both print and online – we also allow supporters to donate through text messaging. By texting a keyword to a designated number, our supporters are able to make a financial contribution of any amount. This option is especially popular with our young professional donors and at events.
In addition to its convenience, mobile giving also allows us to capture email addresses and phone numbers, so we can correspond with these donors in the future.
I’m an IT guy, so of course I love technology. And if nonprofits want to thrive, they are going to have to learn to love and embrace these new tools too. You’d be amazed at how they’ll help your organization work more efficiently, reach more people and generate more donations so you can make a bigger difference in your community.