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Living in a digital age means that it’s increasingly important for nonprofits to be aware of the latest technological advances and how to use these tools to grow their NFP’s base of support. Some of the following ideas might be just the inspiration that your nonprofit needs to find new opportunities to encourage greater giving and expand the services that you provide.

Improve Your Storytelling and Increase Your Reach

Social media is a great way to bring together increasingly diverse groups of people. Use this tech to reach out to the individuals connected with your NFP and discover more about their personal experiences. Use this information to inform your storytelling.

When you allow everyone’s unique voice and experience to shine through, it increases the variety of perspectives and points-of-view you offer supporters, making your stories more relevant, and interesting, to them.

Once you have some great stories to share about your nonprofit, encourage everyone connected with your organisation to use multiple digital channels to share your posts with their networks to increase awareness about your NFP and its work.

Embrace Big Data

Larger, for-profit organisations are known for using “big data” to help them identify trends to drive greater creativity and innovation. Nonprofits can benefit from this technology by using both data and its related analytics to shape their strategic planning, test and adjust messaging, and develop more effective processes.

Using data can also increase transparency in the decision-making process while making it easier to identify areas for potential collaboration with others. Since most NFPs are constantly under pressure to use their scarce resources more wisely, collaborations make it possible for nonprofits and their partners to share their limited resources and accomplish more together than they would have on their own.

Big data’s analytic tools even make it easier to identify your NFP’s current key social influencers, as well as identify and recruit new ones that can make it even easier to spread messages about your work, and how others can join your efforts.

Use the Cloud to Increase Access and Security

Saving your nonprofit’s data in the cloud makes it easier to secure your nonprofit’s sensitive information. If your NFP’s data is only stored on a local computer, external drive, or physical printouts, it’s more likely to be damaged by a fire or flood. It’s also easier to manually alter information when it’s stored locally, or to steal it outright.

NFPs can also control access to cloud-based documents and programs more easily. Most cloud-based drives create a record of what user logs in, when they do so, and what specific information they view, offering a further deterrent to fraud and other forms of theft.

Many cloud drives make it easy for you to invite other users to collaborate on specific files. This makes it easier for others in your organisation to work together on projects and other shared activities, and increases productivity.

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2017 is coming to a close, and in a few short weeks, it will be time to ring in the New Year. This transition is more than a simple date on the calendar, however, it’s also the perfect time to take stock of your strategic plans and prepare for the changes that 2018 is expected to bring.

To help you start the year off on the right foot, we’ve created a list of the top social media trends for 2018.

Twitter

Nearly a month before year’s end, Twitter surprised users with the announcement that it has doubled the character limit for posts, from 140 to 280 characters. This change should give nonprofits and other users the ability to add more depth to their Tweets. Just be careful and don’t use the expansion as an excuse to add unnecessary words and fillers to your posts. The eloquent shortness of a Tweet was a major factor in the platform’s appeal.

Live Videos

Over the past few years, we’ve seen nonprofits begin to jump on the video content wagon as one of the new and exciting ways to vary their storytelling to expand the reach of their messages and raise awareness about their cause. In 2018, NFPs need to be aware that a growing number of users are showing a distinct preference for live streams over pre-recorded videos that are downloaded and watched.

Look for ways to take advantage of the popularity of this trend, and increase support for your nonprofit, by making live-video of auctions, fundraisers, ceremonies, and other events available and easily accessible.

Augmented Reality

A number of platforms and businesses are using augmented reality to blur the line between reality and fantasy. Companies like Ikea are using AR to create digital overlays over the physical world and make it easy for their customers to see how specific items of furniture and accessories will look in their homes.

Various online games are using it to create more interactive experiences for their consumers. Snapchat has been using AR face filters to make chatting with connections more fun, thereby increasing the amount of time users spend on the platform with others.

AR is still in its infancy as a technology, so folks haven’t even really begun to fully think about and conceptualise what can be done with it. From an industry standpoint, don’t be surprised to see enterprising nonprofits start to adopt the technology. It will make it easier for donors to really “see” the full impact of donations at specific levels, or use it in other ways to make it easier, and entertaining, to connect with their supporters in real time.

Virtual Reality is somewhat related to tech, in that it allows users to fully immerse themselves into a digital experience. Facebook Spaces is one of many soon-to-be-released social media tools that will allow users to create a virtual reality where they can interact with others.

Nonprofits should watch out for ways to use both AR and VR to enhance their storytelling and interact with supporters in new and exciting ways.

The Power of Influencers is Increasing

Obvious marketing and advertising ploys have become very unpopular with the public in recent years. The challenge of for-profit organisations is to convince others to support their brand without making it evident that they are selling something.

To achieve this, commercial enterprises have increasingly been turning to endorsements from celebrities and trendsetters to tap into the popularity of these personalities to increase appeal for their brands.

To increase their support and build their own brands, nonprofits should look for ways to attract the support of key influencers. Endorsements from celebrities and other thought leaders can help raise awareness about an NFP’s cause, encourage greater giving as well as help with the recruiting of top talent to become members of staff and volunteers.

Short Lived Content

Snapchat popularised this concept, but an increasing number of social media channels are making it easier for users to create specialised ad campaigns and other content that will disappear rapidly. Even though the content is only visible for less than 24 hours, it helps to generate a sense of urgency in viewers and encourages them to take action. Both for-profit and nonprofits are expected to take advantage of this new type of content that is also known as ephemeral, or disappearing, content.

The Rise of the Bots

Chatbots have been around for years, and got their start on message boards and online forums during the Internet’s infancy. Their incorrect use of syntax and language, however, made them rather obvious, and easy to avoid. The technology has progressed to the point, however, that it’s become increasingly difficult to tell a chatbot apart from an actual human. It may be worth investing in a chatbot on Facebook and other social media platforms to help drive engagement during fundraising campaigns and other online events.

Technology is continually changing and evolving. Staying current on the latest trends will help your nonprofit stay ahead of the curve and build your brand’s reputation and strength.

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A lot has changed in the world since The Benevolent Society opened their doors in 1813. As Australia’s first charity, it has experienced many changes in its 200+ years of operation, and none more so than the last 30 years through the development of technology, the internet and apps. But to stay current and relevant, nonprofits like The Benevolent Society must roll with the punches and make changes to the way they do business to stay relevant.

But as technology rapidly moves forward, many charities are being left behind. In a 2016 Charitable Giving Report published by Blackbaud, they discovered that only 7.2% of individual donations in the UK were made online. Considering how much we rely on the internet, that’s not a very high percentage, is it? Charities, it seems, could be doing a lot more when it comes to utilising technology and increasing donor awareness.

Millennials love technology – in fact, they never leave home without it. It is their lifeline to the outside world and their connection to their friends and issues they care about. If charities want to ensure that they reach the younger generation, they must find ways to use the technology that will benefit their mission. Whether it is a lack of knowledge or just an unwillingness to change, change they must.

But more than just building a website and showing up on social media, charities must look to apps and other devices that work on mobile technology, the preferred favourite of the millennials. Many charities are starting to make inroads into apps, and as the successes multiply, many more charities will follow suit.

Taking advantage of the app game early on was Alzheimer’s Australia and the Bupa Health Foundation who created BrainyApp in 2011. It was the world’s first dementia risk reduction app which saw over 41,000 downloads in a 48 hour period.

Back in 2015, the UN World Food Programme released a very effective mobile app. Called ‘Share The Meal’, the app meant that donors could tap their phone and give $0.50 to feed a child for a day. To date, Share The Meal has given 14,901,224 meals and counting. That is one impressive app, to say the least.

In 2016, GIVIT released their app which allows Australian charities to search a virtual warehouse of donated items to help vulnerable people in the community.

As you can see, it is all about innovation. We look forward to hearing how charities are embracing the new technology in the future to enable their organisation to reach as much of the population as possible.

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Pushing Add to Basket Button

The famous theoretical physicist Michio Kaku claims that the operating power and speed of computers doubles every 18 months. Naturally, this means a technological advance in every area of our life and, of course, the World Wide Web, where innovations occur on a daily basis. What this means for you is that your website cannot stay the same forever and you should endeavour to update it regularly.

 

Match the Expectations

 

With the hectic development of technology, your users will expect you to do your best to keep up with the trends. Therefore, it may seem unprofessional to keep your website the same through the years while your competitors use more advanced technology and features. Also, bear in mind that smartphones, tablets and even smart watches are replacing the computers and laptops, so your website should be fully responsive on these devices. You don’t want to lose customers because they can’t find you with their Google Glasses, do you?

 

Keep Up With SEO

 

Updating your website, both in terms of content and technical aspects (code, new features, widgets and functions) will make you stand out from the rest and improve your rankings with the search engines. Of course, it can be difficult to tell exactly what the search engines want, but one thing is for certain, they like it when websites are regularly updated. Their small spiders regularly crawl around the web to check for changes on your website. In order to maximise your success, these changes should be carefully done – for example, if you are adding new content, it should be helpful and well-written. If you are making changes to your website, the code should contain no errors, otherwise the spiders may get confused.

 

Provide Important Updates

 

When it comes to your website, it is good strategy to imagine that you are a prospective customer and are visiting it for the first time. Does it contain all the information you need? Is the website user-friendly and easy to navigate? Make sure you can answer yes to these questions otherwise it’s back to the drawing board. If your business changes, don’t forget to update your website, as it is the first place someone is likely to check for more information. If you have changed your pricing or you offer new services (or no longer provide some of them), make sure this is on your website.

 

Make Sure It Works

While you are not required to use the latest website technology or features, you will need to ensure that your website still functions on all systems. Occasionally, it happens that certain devices, systems or browsers no longer support some types of content and if you do not upgrade to a new version of your CMS (Content Management System), or replace it, you risk being stuck with a non-working website. We all know how important it is for it to work so take care of the technical side of things before it is not too late.

 

Improve Your Business

 

Don’t forget that regularly updating your website will make life easier for both your visitors and yourself. Including new online payment options, booking systems, spam prevention tools and automatic verification/confirmation are only some of the features you could use to make it easier for you to run your business. Make sure you check regularly with your IT specialists for new innovations – they may well bring more sales and customers without much additional effort required.

 

Updating your website regularly is essential for maintaining a successful business, even if your main activities are not based online. With the help of regular updates, you can stay on top of the technological development, win the favour of the search engines and attract more visitors. Having said all this, don’t you think it’s time for an update?

 

 

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We recently spotted an article from The Guardian newspaper which discussed the trends likely to happen in 2012 which will affect NFPs.

The journalist spoke with experts from different UK charities and fundraisers and reported on their opinions.

1.  Social investment.  The opinion is that we are likely to see more social investment this year but questions whether organisations are set up well enough to manage the debt repayment.

2.  New technology.  The use of technology to encourage online donations will increase as will the use for supporting communication with the marketplace.

3.  Collaboration.  The economic climate (especially in Europe) will see organisations working together instead of competing for funds.

4.  Going Mobile.  The use of apps and mobile platforms to encourage giving.

5.  Ambassadors.  “In 2012 we will see more ambassador and blogger engagement programmes but also more involvement from local communities.”

These are interesting predictions and you should think about them in the context of your own organisation.

What do you think?  Are the predictions likely to be accurate?

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