Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 7 seconds

With the shaky economy in 2009, non-profits found themselves turning to more interactive ways to engage donors. Technology such as cell phones, social media and customized web platforms allowed non-profits to connect with supporters.

Social Media
How non-profits used social media like Twitter and Facebook definitely evolved over the course of 2009. Previously, a non-profit might have been content with a fan page on Facebook. This, as Beth Kanter, a professional technology blogger, points out certainly drives traffic to a website, but organizations discovered they could get even more attention by participating more actively in social media.

Whether the social media was Twitter, which allows the charity to engage users through Twestivals or Twitcauses or Facebook, the non-profit needed to post engaging updates; because one thing is for certain, the more eye-catching the updates the more likely the supporter will click the link or pass the link on to even more potential donors. This active use of social media allowed non-profits to notify supporters of funding drives and gave potential donors access to applications that made giving as easy as the click of a button.

iPhone Applications
Easy giving is what drove some non-profits to begin experimenting with using iPhone apps as a way to generate donations. Long thought of as simply time wasting games, iphone applications are now becoming useful tools, some of them geared towards making giving on the fly easier.

An example is the iPhone application Give Work. Give Work teamed up with Samasource and Crowd Flower to provide work for refugees. Crowd Flower provides the work and Samasource provides the workers-via the internet. An iPhone user with a few free minutes provides another set of eyes to double check the work by the refugee.

Mobile Technology
Like the iPhone, other mobile phones are a potential way for donors to connect with charities. The latest technology makes giving even easier, an example is the Canada and US Mobile Giving Foundation. The charity collaborates with a wireless carrier to create a mobile giving channel, users can just text a keyword specific to a charity a monetary donation is made and the charge is added to the user’s monthly bill.

Interactive Kiosks
In 2009, some non-profits turned to interactive donor kiosks. The kiosks, like those designed by fd2s for the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, are PC s with embedded keyboards and flat panel displays. After installation, the kiosks run a loop of the MD Anderson commercials.

Not only does the kiosk give the potential donor all the important information about the organization but the kiosks have web based technology allowing it to collect credit card donations right there. Similar installations are located at Lance Armstrong Foundation and Dell Children’s Medical Center.

Web Based Fundraising Platforms
The year saw non-profits discovering sites such as first giving.com. A web-based fundraising platform that gives non-profits the ability to quickly and easily set-up personalized web sites for their charity or fundraising drive. Going into 2010, engaging the donor’s attention via electronic platforms will remain a priority. People are spending more and more time attached to their electronic devices and non-profits can take advantage of this by capturing the donors attention online and making it simple for them to give right then.

Other technology such as location based social media will also be very important to non-profits in the coming year according to Beth Kanter. These applications like foursquare, will embed social issues into the games and other applications found in the program. As users play the games or use the application they will be able to donate to various charities.

Also, real time web fundraising will become more and more important. Non-profits will coordinate offline activities with online activities allowing supporters to participate no matter where they are located.

Last modified on Sunday, 19 May 2013
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