How Technology is Powering Philanthropy

February 17, 2013

picstitchWe recently enjoyed the opportunity to talk about technology’s influence on philanthropy at the February luncheon of BarCamp Sarasota-Bradenton.

Specifically, the group wanted to learn more about the 36-Hour Giving Challenge and the overarching role of The Giving Partner in local philanthropy.  A few of the main points:

  • Increasingly, customers are demanding transparency, accountability and choices from the businesses they patronize. In the nonprofit world, a few of our most important “customers” are donors, volunteers and board members.
  • The Giving Partner is a tool making information about nonprofits more accessible to customers as they think more deliberately about their giving, based on what is most important to them.
  • The Giving Partner publishes the same data about governance, management, impact, finances, and needs for each nonprofit but also provides every organization with the opportunity share its story within a consistent framework.
  • Using a platform hosted by Kimbia, the Giving Challenge harvests the power of excitement, social media, security and volume in a 36-hour online event. Donations can be made to organizations that have showcased their transparency in The Giving Partner.
  • Updated every 60 seconds with the total number of gifts and total dollars raised per organization, the Giving Challenge’s Leaderboard allows anyone in the world with Internet access to follow the Challenge, engaging supporters in real time.
  • Nonprofits on the quest to increase philanthropic dollars–both over time and during the Challenge–should look to engage supporters online and offline, develop more strategic approaches to communications, and leverage the time and talents of their entire board and staff team.
  • No matter how great technology becomes, will we replace the value of good customer service and human relationships in philanthropy? No way.

Online giving still accounts for only a very small percentage of overall giving, but it has been increasing over time as we figure out how to use technology to become closer to people.

At the end of the day, it is people who power philanthropy.  Effective use of technology is merely enhancing our work and increasing the possibilities.

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County


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