Why is Technology Important for Nonprofits?
Technology is essential to effectively advancing and managing a nonprofit. Especially in tough economic times, thoughtful use of technology can be the most efficient way for a nonprofit to communicate more effectively, engage with donors, evaluate programs and schedule volunteers, or simply research and keep up-to-date on legal requirements and funding opportunities.
The potential of technology is amazing, but knowing what tools are appropriate and how to employ them most effectively can be overwhelming. Fortunately there are terrific resources that can guide nonprofit leaders in selecting and using technology in the most effective way and provide information to help you utilize the software that is most current and suitable for your nonprofit’s operations.
How Can Nonprofits Use Technology to Advance Their Mission?
The emerging technologies surrounding social media, such as micro-blogging, wikis, tweeting and social networking websites, are addressed in the Communications and Marketing section of the Council Nonprofits’ website. There are a tremendous number of helpful resources available on the internet, such as those collected on the Net Squared/Tech Soup website on developing effective social media policies, which include sample guidelines and a sample social media handbook.
Affordable Technology Solutions:
- TechSoup offers free nonprofit learning resources, including articles, blogs, webinars, and forums led by expert hosts. Once registered and qualified with TechSoup, nonprofits can access donated and discounted products and services, including high-quality refurbished hardware and software from partners like Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, Intuit, and Symantec.
- Nonprofit Recycling and Reuse Network is dedicated to the productive transfer and reuse of technological equipment like laptops, desktop computers and office supplies.
- Idealware offers product reviews and reports on software of interest to nonprofits.
Blogs about Technology:
- Beth’s Blog, written by nonprofit technology guru Beth Kanter, is one of the most popular blogs sharing best practices in nonprofits' use of social media.
- Michelle Murrain’s blog, Zen and the Art of Nonprofit Technology, offers thoughtful perspectives on nonprofit technology from an experienced leader in the field.
- More blogs on nonprofit technology:
- Developer Shed Newsletter is a free newsletter containing information available on free and open source software, Microsoft technologies, hardware reviews and development, website marketing and optimization, and news from around the world of technology.
- NTEN brings together nonprofits around the nation that skillfully use technology to advance their missions and meet community needs.
- NTEN’s 501 Tech Clubs allow you to join a local group of aspiring nonprofit techies, to meet locally and talk shop.
- Need help? Reach out to NPower, a network that connects nonprofit organizations to technology and provides assistance to other nonprofits, serving close to 4,000 nonprofits a year.
- Setting your Sites: Fraud Resources on the Web - A list of websites that offer important information on online fraud prevention.