Mobile Nonprofit Donations to Evolve, Escalate in 2013
By: eBay Inc. Editors
The “Anytime, Anywhere, Philanthropy” panel at the Social Innovation Summit 2012 in Mountain View, Calif.
The idea that mobile technology is disrupting the world of nonprofits dominated a discussion about modern philanthropy at the Social Innovation Summit Wednesday in Mountain View, Calif.
In a session entitled “Anytime, Anywhere, Philanthropy: Giving in a Mobile and Digital-Enabled World,” four panelists, including PayPal Director of Nonprofit Engagement Clam Lorenz, outlined the merits and challenges of making donations over smart phones and other mobile devices — a process all agreed was escalating and inevitable.
“Soon, we will consider online giving a quaint term,” said Lorenz, noting how consumers are growing increasingly comfortable making donations from their phones.
The challenge is staying on top on the technology, said Matt Flannery, the chief executive and co-founder of Kiva.org. He noted that in his experience, nonprofits were slow to adopt new technologies and moreover, when they did, they often did so poorly. At the start of the ecommerce boom, he said, charities tended to just mimic their off-line strategies as opposed to designing specific strategies for online. Nonprofits eventually caught up, he said, but 10 years too late.
Now, mobile represents a new opportunity for nonprofits to create new business models that simplify giving and turn “street peddling” into a “dignified experience.”
Not that traditional formats of giving are going away any time. As Ettore Rossetti, the director of Internet marketing at Save the Children said, mobile and online technologies and nonprofits can easily co-exist. As an example, he pointed that out that online crowdsourcing can help raise the comparatively low funds necessarily to buy antibiotics for children in Africa. But such charitable acts still require a professional infrastructure to help deliver those medicines on the ground and deal with unstable governments.
The evolution may be slow-going, said Rossetti, but “we’re getting there.”
Watch Clam Lorenz talk about the link between instantaneous mobile donations and nonprofit transparency in a related clip: