This was my inaugural post highlighting nonprofit technology news from around the world. In this case, it's a recap of some of the big nonprofit technology stories of 2012. The original post appeared on the TechSoup.org blog last month.
The big nonprofit tech trends this past year seemed to be in the areas of making websites viewable on mobile phones, using mobile phones more in the workplace, cloud computing, social media fundraising, foundations and Microsoft donations, greater self-sufficiency among NGOs in developing countries, and some cutting edge things like hackathons.
Top Nonprofit Technology Buzzwords of 2012
"Hackathon" was a big deal for Netsquared in 2012 and was, in fact, one of Lucy Bernholz' top 10 philanthropy buzz words for 2012. TechSoup hosted one in September and our office in Warsaw, Fundacja TechSoup also hosted a hackathon this year. These are events that pair up nonprofits with good ideas and volunteer techies who can help them realize them.
An example is Charity Wallet, an online tool that simplifies the online giving process for donors who support more than one organization, which was launched during the event!
By the way, Lucy Bernholz' top buzz word of 2012 was "data." She maintains that we are only at the beginning of learning how to use data well for social purposes and philanthropy. Having project managed TechSoup Global's 2012 Global Cloud Computing Survey, I can heartily agree with that. We gathered so much data! Now what to do with it.
We also found that here are barriers to deep cloud adoption among NGOs. Our survey found that lack of knowledge is the biggest barrier to additional cloud adoption, cited by 86 percent of the global respondents. Lack of knowledge was consistently reported as a barrier across geographies and organization sizes.
Because data is so important, places like Connecting Up in Australian are compiling resources for using the cloud effectively like their roster of new online CRM database resources.
I think we witnessed a new trend to finally begin to join the two halves. Places like the Irvine Foundation and Carnegie Corporation have joined the nonprofit tech community. I think it will be interesting.
Nonprofits are really using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube now.
Many charities are successfully using Facebook for reaching out to individual donors. The average donation is up to $59. That trend has increased over the last three years. People tend to donate to a particular charity if they find friends doing it.
Incorporating Twitter in fundraising campaigns is now increasing results by as many as ten times. The catch is that nonprofits must invest some effort in getting a significant Twitter following before campaigns.
The report finds that ICT is transforming several areas of enterprise of particular interest to NGOs including agriculture, climate change, education, health, and ICT adoption.
eTransform Africa also describes the work of technology hubs or incubators across Africa such as iHub and NaiLab in Kenya, Hive CoLab, and AppLab in Uganda, Activspaces in Cameroon, BantaLabs in Senegal, Kinu in Tanzania or infoDev's mLabs in Kenya and South Africa.
While this is not strictly nonprofits, charities, or NGOs, ICT for Development has long been an important mission area for the UN and many international organizations. Very heartening.