Inspired by a blog by Lucy Bernholz titled Ten for Ten: Philanthropy from 2010-2020 on Stanford Social Innovation Review, here are 12 thoughts on changes we will see in nonprofit technology and media use by the end of 2012.
1. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing makes so much sense for small nonprofit organizations and ad-hoc collaborative efforts. Reduction of software costs, ability to work remotely and expand how you define your *staff* network, effortless information sharing, and efficiency. I took our org to Google Apps and we are moving as much of our work as possible into online collaboration rooms. Thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours saved per year... This is a weather vane for small nonprofits and their leadership capacity to adapt to new technology to do their jobs better.
2. Open Sourcing Social Solutions
Very few small nonprofits have the luxury of having the smartest people in the room when making important decisions. Nonprofits are getting accustomed to interacting with donors online because often fundraisers have the most incentive to try something new. Game changing nonprofits will learn to use networking tools to gather feedback from experts - whether that be other practitioners or end users - to make better decisions and better products.
3. Democratized Market Share
Forget the old guard - little guys can build a dynamic brand with one idea that generates viral buzz. A broader set of nonprofits will have their moment of being *the best* at something but the amount of time you are *the best* will shrink and shrink as the marketplace flocks to the next great idea. Sustainability of creativity and buzz will dictate success. Look for large nonprofits to consider adding a Director of Innovation who makes sure that old ideas feel new and products jump out of the crowd year after year.
4. Text Message Giving Replaced by Phone Purchasing
Not sure this will hit by 2012 but in the near future phones will replace wallet withs and credit cards and will be used for everyday consumption needs like groceries, gas, and Starbucks. Start thinking about how your programming or mission could fit into someone's daily life as a value add. (e.g. American Heart Association developing a branded pedometer app. You're welcome.) Phones are already a primary internet access point for young people of color. I often think about how Community Shares becomes a lifestyle value add for people and we've got some ideas in queue.
5. A Sector of Specialists
Like this blog, nonprofits will need to position themselves at the expert at *something* to compete. A static website is not enough - nonprofits with published opinions and ongoing conversations about what they do and how they think about it will leapfrog their competitors who aren't keeping up.
6. Facebook Replaces Phone Book
It's not a toy. Mohammad must move to the mountain.
7. Storytelling Goes to Scale
Smart phones allow anyone to become a storyteller. We've adopted a mantra at CSC - stop reading, start watching. When the staff is on the road they know to take our flip camera (or my droid in a pinch) and collect stories. Our YouTube channel has exploded with content and our Facebook page is alive. If we are going to live up to our branding goal of being a "friend in philanthropy" we have to humanize our staff and work.
8. Social Citizens
More and more talent is going to flock to the social sector. Instead of work/life balance Millennials will want their life reflected in their work. We've got to start ramping up to pay talent and fund innovation and ideas.
9. Google Alerts
Sadly, this should not be a 2012 prediction but nonprofits have been incredibly slow to adopt this business norm. Nonprofits need to go back, to the future and use this easy tool to keep up to date on their industry.
10. Third Party Online Merch Stores
Next gen donors are AOK with receiving something in return for a donation and like to show off their interest to their FB fans, I mean friends. They hate branding but love to self-brand - this contradiction of wanting to self-identify by being unique is a great opportunity to unique messaging to social citizens.
11. Seismic Shifts for the Old Guard
What's going to happen when leadership transitions at large organizations include shifts of 1-2 levels of generational perspective? Look for CSC to partner with Sarah Fischler on this topic in 2011.
12.Super Prediction: New Michelle Obama Girl Scout Cookie!
Girl Scout cookies started improving ingredients in 2007. Look for Michelle Obama to have a little intervention with the troops and a new cookie will debut in 2012! She is Girl Scout In Chief - the stars are aligning for a six ingredient or less cookie! A good lesson in changing market demands for our tiny lady entrepreneurs!