The real challenge for non-profits today isn’t whether or not to use technology. The real challenge is using the right technology. Determine what the right tech and tools for non-profits are based on the answers to two questions: what are your needs and what is your budget?
Gadgets for Video
For most non-profits, building awareness and raising funds go hand in hand. Being that we now operate in a very visual, fast-moving environment, video is the logical venue for both communications and fundraising. The ability to shoot good quality video, edit it and get it distributed is critical. Thanks to tech advances, the costs and complexity have come way down. In fact, you can be shooting and uploading videos directly from a smartphone by the time you finish reading this article.
Keeping things super simple means using something like Vine. These short videos can have a lot of impact, are fast and easy to shoot and the viewership is growing. Just keep in mind Vine skews young. The next step up would be shooting a video on your smartphone, doing some light editing in the included software that came with your phone or computer and uploading to YouTube. And finally, you could go whole hog and use a dedicated video camera and iMovie or similar editing software that would allow full-control editing.
Beyond visual communications, there is, of course e-mail blasting. Many non profit organizations use either Constant Contact or Mailchimp. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages but Mailchimp is free to use for up to 2000 e-mails in any 24 hour period. One interesting observation here: many people have made it a point to tailor all communications for a mobile platform, but depending on your target audience, a large majority of end users may actually still get their e-mail on a computer (one non-profit reported almost 80% of users routinely opened their mail on a computer, not a mobile device). Keep your demographics in mind when creating your e-mails.
Software for Non Profits
Acquiring software is another area that non-profits have to be very careful with. To alleviate some of the pain, many companies offer discounts to non-profits. But Tech Soup puts them all to shame. This non-profit serving other non-profits can get you many major software packages at prices that will blow your mind. The catch is that you must qualify and the process is very specific. It’s not arduous, just detail oriented. Check them out before your next round of upgrades.
Migrating to the Cloud
And finally there’s the cloud. Or more precisely, doing things like data storage using software and hardware located elsewhere. Matthijssen can help you migrate your data storage and backup systems to the cloud.